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Contributions of African Arts on Global Justice

Info: 1164 words (5 pages) Essay
Published: 17th Mar 2021 in Arts

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1.1.1 Global Justice

Although Ukavwe (2014) noted that justice has a complex, indistinct and unidentifiable definition, it is still a major pillar in the human hub for the upholding of social uprightness. Thus, justice can be referred to as a basic requirement of a system of social morality where individuals are allotted their basic rights and entitlements. According to Lauer (2017), global justice, which is a continuous project, is usually an unstable ideal and goal burdened with unequivocal interests. Going further, she disclosed that global injustice involves the total neglect for the life and wellbeing of the populace who have been forbidden and coerced to seek protection from hopeless conflicts. Global injustice thus features resource extraction activities and trans-national corporate authorities who use violent means to affect the properties, survival and means of livelihood of the dwellers of their jurisdiction. In his book, Nagel (2005) explained that global injustice for a long time has been seen as the withstanding of gross discrepancies in the worldwide distribution of basic resources including food, water, sanitary shelter, medical treatment for readily curable diseases, military protection of civilians.

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1.1.2 African Arts

The National Arts Policy Roundtable (NARP) presented arts to be a dominant and sure means of evolving more positive connections between people of a nation, nongovernmental agencies, business and governments at home and abroad (NARP, 2009). Further, arts (African Arts, in this context) is defined inclusively to cover a broad array of artistic disciplines and expressions which include drama, storytelling amongst others. In the same vein, Adebayo (2017) established that African music describes the true essence of being an African. Onyebadi (2018) rated music as a significant aspect of African society, culture and tradition by adding that music has a way of impacting politics and political activities. Bergh and Sloboda (2011) also noted that music is a social phenomenon and an ideology mechanism which is often used for stirring up conflicts.

In his work, he revealed how African artists such as Lucky Dube, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and Alpha Blondy have used their musical prowess to leave critical marks on Africa's political orbit with the delivery of their songs using scathing commentaries and criticisms, messages against unprogressive and corrupt government leaders and the rampage poverty level in the continent. Although a Jamaican, Bob Marley was also an example of an artist who used music as a tool of societal change vis-a-vis his songs about Rastafarianism while bringing the world's attention to conditions of the impoverished in his country Zaid (2001).

A lot of African artists have used their music as a platform for political messaging using various themes. For instance, Mohamed Wardi, a Sudanese musician used his songs to awaken his fellow countrymen to support democracy and condemning authoritative and despotic leadership in his country (Satti, 2017). The Kenyan freedom fighters also used their Mau Mau songs as a discourse against the level of colonial injustices during Kenya's independence struggle (Gakahu, 2017).

1.2 Problem Statement

Ever since the early contact between African countries and their European counterparts, the former has since remained an important portal for showcasing imperial superiority by the latter. Having been taking through colonialism vis-à-vis slavery, African communities are currently being exposed to unfair globalization where power-thirsty Western imperialists are exploiting the citizens. This among many other factors made Ushie (2005) to conclude that globalization is an indispensable tool for global injustice which in turn relates to the exploitation and manipulation of Africa through the unequal distribution of benefits.

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However, having been able to understand the uniqueness of arts to create a channel for new discourses mostly in places where finding a common ground has been a tough work, it is believed that the voice of the artist can kindle ideas and create new opportunities for laudable expressions which will in turn lead to a deeper understanding of our global connectivity. Thus, there is a need to explore the contributions of African Arts on Global Justice using African Music as a basis.

1.3 Objective

The main objective of this research is to explore the response of African Arts to diversity and global injustice in such a way to identify subtle differences and open up new possibilities.


  • Adebayo, J. O. (2017). ‘Vote not Fight’: Examining music’s role in fostering non-violent elections in Nigeria. African Journal on Conflict Resolution 17: 55–77.
  • Bergh A. and J. Sloboda (2011). Music and Art in Conflict Transformation: A Review., Music and Arts in Action 2(2), pp 1 - 17
  • Gakahu, N. (2017). Lyrics of Protest: Music and political communication in Kenya. In Music as a Platform for Political Communication. Edited by Uche Onyebadi. Hershey: IGI Global, pp. 257–73.
  • Lauer H. (2017). Global Justice as Process: Applying Normative Ideals of Indigenous African Governance, Philosophical Papers, 46:1, 163-189, DOI: 10.1080/05568641.2017.1295621
  • Nagel, T. (2005) ‘The Problem of Global Justice,’ Philosophy and Public Affairs 33: 113-147. Reprinted in Thom Brooks (2009) pp. 416-438.
  • NARP (National Arts Policy Roundtable) (2009). The Role of the Arts in Strengthening and Inspiring the 21st Century Global Community. A Report on the 2009 proceedings
  • Onyebadi U. (2018). Political Messages in African Music: Assessing Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Lucky Dube and Alpha Blondy. Humanities, 7 (129), pp 1 - 19)
  • Satti, M. A. (2017). Musical Messages: Framing Political Content in Sudanese popular songs. In Music as a Platform for Political Communication. Edited by Uche Onyebadi. Hershey: IGI Global, pp. 187–203.
  • Ukavwe H. O.  (2014). Global Injustice and the Challenge of African Development: Rethinking The Millennium Development Goals in The Context of Africa. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention. 3(3), pp 33 – 40
  • Ushie, J. A. (2005) “Two Africans in One: Neo-Colonialism and the African Writer,” A paper presented at the International Conference on “Worlds in Discourse: Representations of Realities,” (University of Kebangsaan, Malaysia, 21-23 November, 2005), 18.
  • Zaid, B. (2001). Bakhtin’s Dialogic Model and Popular Music: Bob Marley and the Wailers as a case study. In Culture and Mass Communication in the Caribbean: Domination, Dialogue, Dispersion. Edited by Humphrey A. Regis. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, pp. 139–48.


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