BY FACE2FACE AFRICA, 12:50pm April 25, 2023,

A look at Harry Belafonte’s first trip to Africa- and how it changed his life

Harry Belafonte demonstrates during the Free South Africa Movement in 1984. JAMES A. PARCELL/THE WASHINGTON POST

Harry Belafonte is known for his incredible music and acting career, but his philanthropic work and activism for social justice causes are just as important to his legacy. His first trip to Africa in 1966 was a pivotal moment in his life that inspired him to use his platform and resources to help others.

This trip was not just a tourist excursion; it was a mission to observe firsthand the continent’s struggles and challenges. As a vocal civil rights activist, Belafonte felt it was important to understand the connections between the struggles of African Americans and the struggles of Africans in their fight for independence and civil rights. He had been a close friend and supporter of Martin Luther King Jr. and had participated in the movement to end segregation and discrimination against Black people. As a part of his activism, Belafonte began to look beyond the borders of the United States and became interested in the struggles of people of color around the world.

Upon his arrival, he was struck by the poverty, hunger, and disease he witnessed. He saw the impact of colonialism and racism on the continent, and he recognized the struggle of Africans to assert their independence and gain equal rights.

The experience had a profound impact on Belafonte, and he realized that he had a responsibility to use his influence to help others. He felt that he could be a bridge between the struggles of African people and the African-American community in the United States. Belafonte later said of his trip, “I knew from that moment on that my life would never be the same. I knew that I had to give something back to Africa.”

Belafonte’s trip to Africa also inspired him to become more involved in the fight against apartheid in South Africa. He became a vocal advocate for the movement to end apartheid and used his platform to raise awareness about the situation in South Africa. He helped to organize the Artists United Against Apartheid project, which brought together musicians and artists to speak out against the regime.

Belafonte used his celebrity status to shine a light on the apartheid regime, which was a system of institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination in South Africa. He recognized the power of his influence as an artist to raise awareness about the human rights violations taking place in South Africa. His efforts in this regard were instrumental in the eventual end of apartheid.

In addition to his activism against apartheid, Belafonte’s trip to Africa also inspired him to become more involved in philanthropy. He saw the need for education, healthcare, and economic development in Africa and became determined to contribute to these efforts. Over the years, Belafonte has supported various initiatives in Africa, including funding scholarships for students, building schools, and supporting healthcare services.

Belafonte has also been a vocal advocate for HIV/AIDS research and treatment in Africa. He organized the “Save the Children” campaign in 1985, which was a benefit concert that raised funds for UNICEF and the World Health Organization to support HIV/AIDS treatment and research in Africa. The campaign raised millions of dollars, and Belafonte continues to support HIV/AIDS research and treatment efforts in Africa today.

Belafonte’s first trip to Africa had a profound impact on his life and inspired him to become an even more dedicated activist for social justice causes. His commitment to fighting for the rights of African people and supporting their struggles for independence and equality is a testament to the power of personal experience to inspire positive change. Belafonte’s legacy as an artist and activist will continue to inspire for generations to come.

Last Edited by:Sandra Appiah Updated: April 25, 2023


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates