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African Artists Team-Up to Lure Youth Into Farming

Zimbabwean artist Buffalo Souljah.

Zimbabwe reggae artist, Buffalo Souljah, says he feels honoured to have been one of the 18 African artists selected to perform on the sidelines of last week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

Buffalo Souljah joined his counterparts in the ‘Do Agric’ campaign being promoted by One, a non-profit organization seeking to encourage the youth to take up farming as it seeks to promote sustainable growth in Africa.

Under the campaign, showcased during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the artists will reach out to the youth as well as seek signatures for a petition calling for more money to be invested in African agriculture.

The petition will be forwarded to Africa’s heads of state and government.

“We have managed to circulate a petition on social media which has attracted over 2.1 million signatures from African youths that are interested in agriculture,” says Buffalo Souljah.

“We are going to take this petition to our various governments to help them realize the potential to grow our economies through involving the youth in agricultural programmes.”

Buffalo Souljah, whose real name is Thabani Ndlovu, says he was born in Bulawayo and grew up listening to reggae artists, in particular Bob Marley, hence his decision to name himself after one of the reggae legend’s songs – Buffalo Soldier.

He is currently based in South Africa where he says he is working on a proposal to present to the Zimbabwe government on the importance of involving the youth in agriculture.

“As African artists we are trying to make agriculture more attractive unlike how we viewed it when we were growing up,” says Buffalo Souljah.

“We thought it was too dirty and not for the younger generation but now we are trying to show the youth that it’s cool and can be a steady source of income.”

One is an international campaign and advocacy organization whose aim, among other things, is to end extreme poverty, especially in Africa.

The organization was co-founded by legendary U2 musician, Bono.

Under the “Do Agric” campaign, One says it is teaming up with African artists to increase investments in agriculture on the continent by mainly targeting and encouraging the participation of the younger generation in farming.

Buffalo Souljah says although Zimbabwe has in the past decade been parceling out land to black farmers, it is not clear how many youth, if at all, have benefited from the programme.

“Zimbabwe has had their own structures of how they did the land redistribution but we don’t really see the youth wanting to be part of it because it was almost as if it was a political movement,” he says.

“So as an artist I am trying to be a bridging gap between the youth and our government so that there are clear guidelines of what they offer the youth who want to take up farming. My aim is make the youth understand that agriculture and farming are cool.”

The participating African artists are: A.Y. (Tanzania), Dama do Bling (Mozambique), D'banj (Nigeria), Diamond (Tanzania), Dontom (Nigeria), Fally Ipupa (DRC), Femi Kuti (Nigeria), Judith Sephuma (South Africa), Juliani (Kenya), Kunle Ayo (Nigeria),Vusi Nova (South Africa), Liz Ogumbo (Kenya), Nancy G (Swaziland), Omawumi (Nigeria), Rachid Taha (Algeria), Tiken Jah Fakoly (Cote D'ivoire), Victoria Kimani (Kenya) and Wax Dey (Cameroon).