Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival: Rapper Dope Saint Jude talks complexities of expressing freely

Dope Saint Jude is an artist from Elsies River, Cape Town who produces and performs using hip hop, amongst other genres as her medium. We catch up with this trailblazing talent ahead of her performance at this weekend’s Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival in partnership with Nando’s, taking place at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg .

What will you be up to at the Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival?
I’m performing a lively set with my band and dancers, something we’re all looking forward to.

This festival honours the youth of the Soweto uprising in 1976, who risked and lost their lives to fight for their right for equality. As a young South African what do you think about freedom of expression today?
I feel grateful that I can express my grievances and frustration more freely than my parents, grandparents and ancestors could. I’m grateful that I live in a country where it is okay to identify the way I please.

And what challenges do you face in exercising your right to creative expression?
Creatives often rely on corporate buy-in in order to survive. Often it’s challenging to find corporate entities that are brave enough to support bold artists who challenge the status quo.

What rights are you still fighting for?
While our rights are enshrined into the Constitution, they seem to exist in theory or only apply to the privileged few who have socio-economic capital. Everyday is a fight to ensure that our rights are realised not just for a few, but for all. We can’t truly call ourselves “free” if we are not all benefitting from that freedom.

What’s new?
I recently released my debut EP called Reimagine. I’m proud of it because I produced the project myself. It’s a six track EP that focuses on my journey of reimagining my reality. It’s extremely personal work as I started the EP after moving back to my mother’s house (after eight years of living alone). The EP is largely influenced by her, and it’s especially significant to me because she passed away two days after it’s release. You can find the EP on my Soundcloud.

You recently met some of the young creatives involved in Nando’s ‘Creative Collision’ for the Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival, what did this meant to you?
It was wonderful to meet them, especially those who also come from the Cape Flats – artist Dion Cupido from Mitchells Plain, and emerging young designers Candice Lawrence from Retreat and Tulsha Booysen from Brooklyn. It was also great to meet fellow musician Gigi LaMayne. It takes a lot of hard work, resilience and determination to make it in this industry, and besides appreciating the other artists creatively, it was comforting to meet other young people who are on the same journey and are experiencing the same challenges. That “collision” will serve to influence my art in a way that is invaluable.

We can’t wait to see blazing young music, art and design talent taking it away to the rhythm of South Africa’s hottest beats at the Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival in Partnership with Nando’s on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th June at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg.

Don’t miss this creative collision that’s all about a youthful celebration of freedom of expression and unstoppable South African creativity that commemorates 41 years since the 1976 Soweto uprisings and the 21st anniversary of South Africa’s constitution.

Tickets are FREE! No ticket no entry. Get your ticket here

Follow Dope Saint Jude on Facebook and Instagram 

*This post was made possible by Nando’s

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