Graffiti and Song: Promoting Peace and Healing

Music is the language of the world and brings people and their individual stories together. These stories are felt by others and help people to understand each other better, as well as helping people relate to one another; through hearing these stories, people realize that they are not alone and may have gone through similar circumstances. Music’s many purposes range from prayer to expressing anger to gaining healing. Music and singing, especially singing original music one has written can be described as a very cathartic action. When you can personally relate to a song, even if it is not your own words, emotions are released through the experience. Growing up in choir, I have experienced this many times and have occasionally finished a song in tears or in utter emotional exhaustion. I cannot even begin to imagine how much stronger this experience is for the people of South Africa who perform their original songs detailing the horrors they have personally been through. These performances were a safe place where, “to break the shame,” people could sing or “speak of the past to heal” (Pg. …) One of the performers notes that they “became aware that if you speak to someone about your pain, you become free and heal” (pg. 48). This directly applies to song because, through song, people are speaking truths and observations to other people in a unique way. Song becomes a universal language that can bring a community together to help heal those who are or have been broken in the community.



Graffiti is a very honest and truth-telling form of art. These artists are not worried about following traditional form and style, their main concern is about getting their message out to people in the best way they can. The image I chose is a work of Graffiti that says “from pieces to peace” and I feel that it fits very well with what I previously talked about music. I believe that when people bring their individual stories or pieces together, it creates a commonality between them and their differences. With the horrors that happened with the apartheid, people hearing these stories together can really start to get a sense of how massive and awful the effect was. They can begin to see the bigger picture and realize that this has caused so much unease and distress (to say the least) among South Africa. During apartheid, people were calling for peace, but they had a much better chance of being heard if they worked and got their voice out together. In the image, there is a group of people ranging in ages and all holding hands, showing their solidarity and caring for one another. Their individual pieces come together as they are calling for peace.

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