Katró, GSA 2022: Transforming realities: the contribution of hip hop to a just Angola

This article was voluntarily translated by Israel Caravallo, a member of the Elos Translation Community.

I’ve always dreamed of a just Angola, where everyone has the same rights without necessarily belonging to a specific social, political or religious group. For this to happen, there needed to have been a social transformation. And I started to look for ways and mechanisms for this to happen.

After several searches and attempts, I realized that it was necessary to gather a crowd together, since it was a collective dream and not an individual one. It was then that I got to know HIP HOP, especially the HIP HOP THIRD DIVISION MOVEMENT, a group of young people who have always used culture and art to educate and emancipate their listeners in the community.

Studying Hip Hop made me understand that it can be an educational tool for social change and with that achieve the just Angola that I dreamed of. In the movement, the education through art is what we call the fifth element: the street knowledge, inspired by the Griots. As Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world”. And I wanted to change the world.









What is Hip Hop

For Henrique Muller, “the Hip hop is an multifaceted cultural expression that traditionally can be composed by four elements: the graffiti, as visual arts; breakdancing, the street dance; the Disc-Jockey (DJ), that is who commands the record players and the Master of Ceremony, the MC, who composes rhymes and poetry; The “fifth element” is the street knowledge, which involves recognizing the historical, cultural and social reality of the oppressed groups.

What is the fifth element and how do we use it?

 The knowledge, fifth element of Hip Hop, is the basis of formal and non-formal education, and is also the fifth element of HIP HOP. It has as basis the recognition and the valuing of the practical, experienced knowledge, built up over the course of your experience living in society.

 Through Street Knowledge those before us have produced social technologies that can be used to impact and transform lives, and HIP HOP with all its elements is one of these social technologies. With this basis, the Hip Hop Third Division Movement, in partnership with the Hip Hop University, we created the “HIP HOP SCHOOL” so that the young people of our community transformed their lives and realities through artistic education as we did. And to bring into the movement new makers and arm them with practical and theoretical knowledge.

 At this school we understand that education for transformation is that that allows the individuals to have conscience and knowledge that they are subjects of rights, that is, that they have rights guaranteed by law and can demand their fulfillment through art, especially HIP HOP, so that they, like us, be authors in the transformation and realization of this just Angola.

They can be active subjects in the community capable of generating these transformations and impacting on other people. For that reason we have workshops on various practical community know-hows. For example, the traditional medicine in which young people learn from their elders on how to use what natural resources there are to cure illnesses in places where there are no public or private hospitals.

The Break and the Dance in the education against criminality

Breakdance, the fourth element of Hip Hop, has always been utilized as an alternative popular education for young people not to enter the life of crime, that since the 1970s. Although several years have passed, and breakdancing is now used as a means of recreation or competition around the world, we at the Hip Hop School and in the community still use it as an educational tool to combat violence and crime.

 We practice the philosophy of non-violence based on Gandhi through dance. To understand how dance is an instrument of resistance and of discovering our doing in the world. The philosophical side of dance is always more important than practicing it. The movement of the body is an expression of the spirit.

 The Dance Circle

 The dance circle is the community’s biggest alternative educational event, which takes place on an annual basis. It’s when young people who have given up crime demonstrate and give their testimonies and learnings about how important dance was for them to become active citizens. The Break and Dance class has more than 40 practitioners, most of them came from the criminal world and found life alternatives through this element of Hip Hop culture.

 Those who are not from the movement may think that Hip Hop is only a musical genre, but they have no idea that their culture goes far beyond music. It has elements that can be used in various areas and can be harnessed to generate major collective and individual social changes.

 Hip Hop has saved us and will continue to save thousands of marginalized people around the world. It is necessary to understand its social context, it is what gives meaning to the performance. The movement nowadays dictates the lifestyle for many people.

GSA Warriors 2022, Katró Ungila is a black African man, hailing from Angola. He is a teacher, researcher, Hip hopper and executive member of the Hip Hop Third Division Movement-Angola. He is a specialist in Human Rights and Community Development. PanAfrikanist, African thinker.





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