Lost Boys Rapping for Peace and National Reconciliation
During the Fall 2014 RAPOLITICS had company of the two South Sudanese rappers Hot Dogg (Mijok Lang) and L.U.A.L (Lual D’Awol). During their stay they facilitated rap workshops at schools in most parts of Denmark in cooperation with the Youth Program from the Danish Center for Culture and Development.
Both Hot Dog and L.U.A.L are children of the civil war, which lay waste to Sudan from 1983-2005. While L.U.A.L was born in New York where his parents lived, Hot Dogg was born in the present South Sudan, and is one of the more than 20.000 Lost Boys who lost their parents and homes during the war.
Hot Dogg has lived in Canada since 2014, but when South Sudan got their independence in 2012 both Hot Dogg and L.U.A.L went back, in a desire to help rebuild the country where they feel they belong. It isn’t easy in a country where corruption and nepotism is part of the every day life. And where the situation has been both dangerous and armed since the wound of the war once again started to bleed one year ago.
But like most of the civil population Hot Dogg and L.U.A.L do not believe in guns and corruptions. Instead, they use rap and hip-hop as their weapon towards peace and national reconciliation.
Rap-Reports from a War Zone
Both L.U.A.L and Hot Dogg use rap to tell their story and to report on the situation in South Sudan to the whole world, which is why the main part of their lyrics is in English: “I do most of my rap in English to tell the world what there is going on in South Sudan. You can say that I am making reportages like I was a journalist. And it is the same when we are visiting the schools”, says L.U.A.L and continues:
The young Danes we meet at the schools is maybe the future political leaders or aid workers, and that’s why I want to enlighten them of what is going on in South Sudan. Because I do not dare to think of how the wound of the civil war will be healed without help from aid workers and leaders in the international community
Both rappers are using music as a wy of promoting reconciliation because music is the way to be heard. Hot Dogg, who began to rap when he arrived to Canada, tells how he began to use music to express his anger and pain because it was the only way to get people to listen:
No one did listen to me when I first arrived in Canada. People was to busy listing to music in their headphones. I started to write lyrics and make rap music to get people to listen to my story.
If a Lost Boy Can Make It – Everybody Can
It worked for Hot Dogg. He got people’s attention and awareness about his reality and history as a Lost Boy from South Sudan. “Now I am a voice of the thousands of Lost Boys who got no chance to be heard”, says Hot Dogg who besides making rap music has been working for anti-bulling projects with youth in Canada. Hot Dogg says:
When young people in Denmark, Canada and other Western Countries get to know my story, they find out that it isn’t end of life if someone has told them they are ugly or stupid. Buy using myself as an example I show them that there lives still have value. And when I can make it this far with my story and my background, everybody can!
It is not only in Denmark that the two rappers have facilitated rap workshops. Back home in South Sudan they gather young men across the conflicted area and make them dance and sing together in order to show them that you can have fun together with youth from other ethnicities and tribes.
Though they still have enemies in the government, the people in South Sudan listen to them. The movement with artists who are working for a peaceful future in South Sudan is growing.
About the blogger: Mona Munck-Lindblom. Mona made the interview with L.U.A.L and Hot Dog while they were in Denmark. Mona is cand. mag in Literature and Culture Encounters and she is a cultural writer at U-landsnyt.dk, where the article originally was published in a longer version.