Why Tell These Stories?

The real-life stories recorded by Music Beyond Borders publicize contemporary situations of oppression, violence, abuse and human rights’ violations from around the world. Music is often the vehicle by which such issues are expressed by ordinary people and becomes a source of strength, resistance and unity in the face of adversity. Hence these life stories and their music go hand in hand.

The opportunity to leverage the stories and music of such research into advocacy and action is thus made available and essential. These real stories are transformed into powerful instruments for promoting public awareness and engagement, and the defense of humanitarian values on a global level.

The previously-untold apartheid prison stories of foot soldiers from the South African anti-apartheid struggle will be recorded by MBB for the first time for future generations. They will provide an intimate look into what really went on in the apartheid prisons and how ordinary people from all walks of life and racial denominations found the strength and courage to overcome the most shocking inhuman conditions to fight for freedom for all.

Advocacy and Action

Books, interactive e-books and documentary films are all mainstream and accessible, therefore the opportunity to leverage these stories into advocacy and action is not only feasible, but essential to fulfilling the original intent of such projects: to inform, to educate, to move or call to action.

With MBB’s current project Singing Through the Pain, we have the opportunity to inform the public about the devastating effects of racism and the triumph of human integrity, persistence and humanitarian values.



Capturing the music on Robben Island produced by the political prisoners is very significant in two ways. One, it leaves a legacy … for posterity. … You will be empowering not only the individuals participating in the project, but also a broader population of ex Robben Island political prisoners who are not necessarily associated with the project and who are destitute. Your project is of great significance to us and to the rest of the political prisoners at large. There has never been any effort or initiative of this kind, it will be the first” (Anthony Suze, Robben Island prisoner 501/63)