Wakimbizi are a particularly talented hip hop group from East Africa. The Wakimbizi trio grabbed two awards for the Hip-hop Group of the Year and Song of the Year for Hallo Hallo in the Kenyan Kisima Music Awards in 2004. You can purchase the CD Raha, and listen to samples here, including Hallo Hallo. There is also a discussion of one of the song John, also on this CD, in an article on ecology in East Africa.

Incidentally, even the most jocular of African art expresses this deep interaction between literary imagination and the natural world. To give but one simple example, despite the vulgarity in Wakimbizi’s song “John”, the playful panegyric (praise song) to male genitals that seem to have run away from duty indicates African respect for forests. In the song, the enigmatic “John” is prefigured as the toast of womenfolk who hides in a mysterious “msitu” (forest/bush).

Through sexual overtones, the Wakimbizi trio of Mr Filter (Henry Masheti), Mariko (Morris Masheti) and Andre (Andrew Mbogo) present the forest as the figurative site upon which self-protection, human regeneration and most intense bodily pleasures are likely to occur.