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The ‘Jerusalema’ Phenomenon Shows Africa’s Trendsetting Abilities

It began as a catchy tune and then caught on fire with the introduction of some star collaborators and a subsequent dance challenge.  Learn more about the world’s latest music obsession, ‘Jerusalema,’ and what it means about Africa’s ability to influence the world. Master KG attributed the moves in the dance to a group of Angolan fans who put together a candid video, which quickly reached Portugal given their colonial connection and spread from there. Despite its success, for many “Jerusalema” is an anomaly; a fun distraction from the current pandemic. It’s a distraction that feeds the expected and the afro-optimistic narrative of the “singing and dancing African”, the sister narrative to the uninformed “Africa is mostly a place of wildlife and nature” perspective. This perception of a lack of creativity and innovation coming out of Africa was confirmed when Africa No Filter conducted some analysis on how global media references the continent. Between 2017 and 2020 the number of mentions of Africa within the context of “creativity” and “innovation” was surprisingly low and has been in decline – especially when compared to references of Africa alongside “corruption” and “conflict”. The data shows that media across the world – including on the continent itself – is simply not finding or writing stories of innovation that feature Africa as the protagonist.