Food24 eats with... Tidal Waves

Tidal Waves took time off from Oppikoppi to give us a taste of their world.

by: Nicole McCain | 12 Aug 2011

Jacob “Jakes” Wulana, guitarist and vocalist for reggae rock band Tidal Waves, met with Food24 at Oppikoppi 2011 to talk about what it’s like to be a vegetarian and African.

Rastafarianism introduced Jakes to the idea of veganism. “I chose to have life by not taking life,” he says. However, he soon realised that he would have to make dietary changes due to all the touring he does, and he introduced dairy products into his diet. But he remains a vegetarian. “[The idea] took me whole heartedly, so it was easy. I don’t see myself going back.”
The difficulties of being a vegetarian

Jakes soon found that catering for vegetarians was difficult, especially on tour. “It’s me who suffers most!” He sometimes is forced to cater for himself, or even go without meals.
And he is surrounded by meat eaters: “My boys, they love their meat!” He says that the rest of the band simply loves their Karoo mutton.
Coming from a very traditional family, Jakes says he also has a lot of pressure at home to eat meat. "A vegetarian life is taboo in African culture... [My family] calls me a big disgrace."
Chisa Nyama
As if that pressure wasn't enough, Tidal Waves and Zinkplaat were asked to bring out a song for National Braai Day in 2010. The song, called Chisa Nyama, means to braai meat.

The two bands gathered in Kayamandi, just outside Stellenbosch, and had a braai and a few beers and the song emerged from their "strumming around".  Jakes says that the idea behind the song was to encourage people to take the time to try understand each other. He is quick to reassure us though: "It was all about the music for me. I wasn't actually chising the nyama!"
This message of understanding and unity is carried through their music, and Tidal Waves has a strong sense of social conscience. When asked Jakes how he thought we should tackle poverty and hunger, he replied: “By legalising marijuana.” His theory is that the crops would provide employment, as well as cost effective materials like timber and hemp.

It seems Tidal Waves not only makes original music for original people, but also has original ideas for solving social issues.


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