Research Article

The Prophet in Music: Lyrical Representations of the Shepherd Bushiri Discourse


Abstract

Music plays various roles in contemporary Africa. This paper examines a specific role — how songs contribute to the public image of a specific personality, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri. The paper argues that the image that people have come to know about the South Africa based prophet is reflected in the music that is created around him as a religious celebrity engaged in preaching the prosperity gospel. Structurally, the argument illustrates how the music highlights three different sides to Bushiri: as a bona fide ‘Man of God’ blessed with the ability to perform miracles, as an entrepreneur evidenced by his business ventures and his philanthropy, and as a fraud who cons his adherents in various ways. These opinions are largely reflective of the beliefs of many within the continent who have come to know the young prophet. Taken together, they contribute to the formation of a complex personality.

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