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    Video caption: Watch: Music legend Meat Loaf chats to BBC HARDtalk

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  7. Singer Ben Pol on his role in climate activism

    DJ Edu

    Presenter of This Is Africa on BBC World Service

    Ben Pol

    Tanzanian singer Ben Pol has taken up climate activism and is very conscious of his role as an influencer.

    Ben Pol is best known for his RnB influenced music. He has dropped five albums and collaborated with artists including Joeboy from Nigeria and King Kaka from Kenya.

    But when I caught up with him he was in Egypt attending the World Youth Forum.

    Quote Message: I work with WWF, also I work with Justdiggit from the Netherlands whose mission is to re-green Africa, and I work with Tanzanian organisations speaking for the zero-waste campaign. I’ve recently been appointed a national environmental conservation ambassador for the government of Tanzania. With the Justdiggit organisation we managed to plant over six million trees in central Tanzania, and we’re just getting started."

    Impressive stuff, but what about African artists’ own behaviour?

    As role models in the context of climate change, should they be thinking twice about all the conspicuous consumption, the designer clothes and jewellery, the videos featuring smart cars and luxury yachts, the private planes?

    I asked the question more than once, but Ben Pol wouldn’t be drawn into criticising his fellow musicians.

    Quote Message: OK it may be difficult for artists to go into the field and plant trees, but it can be possible to call upon the public to do that. If we use our voices and also contribute, it can make a change."

    Ben Pol has used his influence in constructive ways for other causes too.

    For the video of his popular love song Sophia, he cast a woman with albinism as the love interest. It was an important statement in a country where people with albinism have been murdered and mutilated because of erroneous beliefs about the magical properties of their body parts.

    Ben Pol’s latest song is an amapiano number designed for the club: Amapiano Beer is, not surprisingly, all about beer.

    I couldn’t help asking if it was appropriate for a conscious ambassador like himself to be seeming to promote alcohol, which, as we know, creates big problems around the world.

    Quote Message: It’s a song that fits a certain moment... when you are vibing with the music at the club, that’s where you feel the vibe of the song."

    You can hear DJ Edu’s conversation with Ben Pol on This is Africa this Saturday, on BBC World Service radio and partner stations across Africa, as well as online here.

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