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Sage Francis – “UBUNTU” song, video + fundraiser

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Sage Francis – “UBUNTU” song, video + fundraiser


“UBUNTU” is about the HIV-positive children I met during my stay in South Africa in 2011. Proceeds of this song’s sale through our Bandcamp page will be going to the children and their families. You can download it using the player above or here: www.tinyurl.com/UbuntuMP3

The video:

*UPDATE 1/15/13
Thanks to the Ubuntu song/fundraiser, the kids were taken out shopping for school gear last weekend! They are incredibly grateful for all your help and support. So am I. The next thing we’re going to do is get their roof fixed. For now, check em out lookin’  Durban fresh.

*UPDATE 12/28/12
So far we have raised $3,672.81!!! Instead of one single bed, the kids now have TWO separate bunk beds. Once the holidays are completely over, a person has been commissioned to fix their roof and other faulty items in their house. This is all thanks to the help of my friends Iain and Karen Robinson, who are facilitating everything for us on the ground in Durban.We’ll continue to raise money, put it toward the bare essentials, school supplies, medical care and whatever else we can. The kids are incredibly grateful. This was a great holiday for them thanks to your generosity.

As many of you know, there are millions (if not billions) of people who live in abject poverty in this world. Because of this, children are needlessly dying of preventable diseases. Some of these unfortunate kids may live next door to you. Some may live in a neighboring state. I just so happened to fall in love with this particular family while I was in South Africa and I’m in a position to make a lot of people aware of their story as we work to improve the situation. So that’s what I’m doing. To be sure, these kids represent a much larger contingent that deserves more attention. My aim is to reach the folks who are willing and able to provide that support, all while raising awareness about an issue that is often ignored by the media. I found myself wondering how I could do this. Since music is my craft, I did my best to do it through song. After facilitating a small circle of logistic support, and finagling a way to get the money to the kids as directly as possible, that’s exactly what I did. And that’s when other people came into play to help out…like you. The funds will continue to be raised and work will continue to be done. I’ll post updates as this campaign goes on. THANK YOU.

THE FULL BACKGROUND STORY and Song Lyrics:
I have thought about these children every single day since being acquainted with them almost two years ago, I decided that I can no longer sit on this song. In January of 2011 I visited Durban, South Africa to help mentor and provide care for HIV-infected children. For me, it was a crash course education on their situation, culture, history, and various forms of treatment (or lack there of.) With a reported 5.6 million people living with HIV, South Africa has the highest HIV infection rate in the world. That is mainly due to misinformation propagated by the government as well as the people’s lack of access to education and proper medical care. With so many people dying of AIDS in this area, many children are often left to fend for themselves in overcrowded “orphanages”, many of which have no electricity or running water according to what I witnessed.

My trip to Durban and the surrounding rural areas was organized by people who were filming a documentary on a community of people who were receiving alternative treatment along with their normal ARV (anti-retroviral) treatment. I joined a group of national and international poets whose task it was to make a connection with the children and communicate their story to the world. Toward the end of my stay I wrote a song called UBUNTU (Water Into Wine) which I was initially hoping to release as a companion piece to the film. The documentary will probably do a much better job of explaining the vast array of emotions we all went through, but as it still isn’t completed I figured it might be best to just release the song now.

The artwork for UBUNTU is a portrait of Nonoti, one of the younger girls who made a deep and everlasting impression on everyone she met. We lost Nonoti to HIV-related complications earlier this year, so along with the children I name in this song, and all the great people I met during my stay in Durban, a special dedication goes out to her (R.I.P.)
If you’re ever given the opportunity to visit Africa and provide a helping hand, I highly recommend it. You will learn more than you could ever imagine about yourself, humanity and the world in general. You can view pictures of my trip to South Africa and the children this song is about by clicking here.

________________________________________________
UBUNTU (Water Into Wine) LYRICS:

Ntokozo wants a yo-yo. A yo-yo. A yo-yo.
She learned about the ups and downs.
The kiddies want a photo. A photo. A photo.
I let them take my camera so they can make their rounds.
Thandiwe want’s some paper. More paper. More paper.
She’s the boss. She draws Christmas trees with snow.
I’m taking ‘em home. All home.
To the snowmen to show them what I think they need to know,
About Zinhle, Sfundo, Zakheni,
Snetemba…survivor…a promise made to many.
An army of old souls in a battlefield of scattered ashes,
Lost ancient wisdom, and ignored AIDS symptoms.
UBUNTU. What’s good for me is good for you.
These brave soldiers combat the enemies of truth.
In a broken system with an open wound that will never heal,
If we just accept the way it is and never deal.
An infection can spread to the head if you let it.
Don’t let it affect the way you think…like “this is it.”
Oh, this is it? That’s all there is for all these kids?
These warriors? A never ending waiting list at an orphanage?
As water drips in the bucket, I could add another drop,
But I’ve got a feeling…that drop won’t fix the leaky ceiling.
If the leak gets fixed, what about when the roof collapses?
Six siblings sleeping on a single mattress.
UBUNTU. What’s bad for you is bad for me.
Zinhle, Sfundo, Snetemba, Zakheni,
Ntokozo, Thandiwe, stay strong…be brave,
I’ll make sure this world knows your names.
You were born on the front lines of a country that isn’t mine,
With a virus I don’t have, our family has no ties.
Nevertheless, I see you.
Sawubona. Yebo. Unjani? I’m fine.
I’m just praying for science to turn water into wine.
I’m just praying for science to turn water into wine.
I’m praying we’re not just left with prayer all the time.

Ntokozo wants a yo-yo. A yo-yo. A yo-yo.
She learned about the ups and downs.
The kiddies want a photo. A photo. A photo.
I let them take my camera so they can make their rounds.

I’ve seen townships stand proud in the freeze-frame of a motion picture.
I’ve seen kids risk exposing themselves to a social stigma.
In the name of breaking patterns and cycles of ignorance.
Hearts full of hope, eyes full of innocence.
These are heros. Now I call to the heads of State,
Recognize greatness when it’s in your face.
I traveled half the globe to see boys and girls stuck,
Without assistance. You insisted on hosting the World Cup?
That ain’t love, brother. What happened to you?
You beautified the parts of the city that tourists travel through.
You built a gorgeous stadium that can’t sustain itself,
Flexing superficial muscles in a false display of wealth.
Your most important resources need major help.
Think of how the medication and information on AIDS is dealt.
Beautify the way you save yourself,
For God’s sake, for human sake, for the sake of public heath.
One medicine drop in a bucket eventually evaporates.
The socks I bought Zakheni won’t fix fractures or breaks.
It’s not my suffering. It’s not my needlessly complex infrastructure.
It’s not my culture. Nevertheless I see you.
Sawubona. Yebo. Unjani. How YOU doin’? I’m fine.
I’m just praying for science to turn water into wine.

Ntokozo wants a yo-yo. A yo-yo. A yo-yo.
She knows about the ups and downs.
The kiddies want a photo. A photo. A photo.
I let them take my camera so they can make their rounds.
Thandiwe want’s some paper. More paper. More paper.
She’s the boss. She draws Christmas trees with snow.
I’m taking ‘em home. All home.
To the snowmen to show them what I think they need to know,
Along with this praise poem and every child’s photo.
Inspiration given by Zinhle, Sfundo,
Thandiwe, Promise, Zakheni, Ntokozo,
The kids call me “Big Show” — that’s better than no show.
_________________________________________ 

Many thanks to Phil Cooper for hooking up the artwork. The list of people to thank for their help and hard work is quite long actually. Much love to you all. Updates to come!
- Sage





Dec 01

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