The nature of the future of knowledge will depend on our acceptance of diverse sources of insight and foresight. Yes, conventional sources such as academia, industry, media, global institutions and indigenous knowledge systems have the primacy of influence. However, novel 4IR platforms, such as the Metaverse, will dominate the generation and propagation of new knowledge and insights. In these new frameworks, creatives will play a central role. It is prudent to reflect on the historical but largely unacknowledged role that artists have played in thought leadership. Music has long been critical to revolution. One of the key issues that are indispensable to the future of knowledge is the intricate link between music and social change.
It is within this context that the University of Johannesburg’s Institute for the Future of Knowledge (IFK) is organising a hybrid seminar on revolutionary insights from the music of South African Miriam Makeba, Nigerian Fela Kuti, Jamaican Bob Marley and American Tupac Shakur. Through their music, these artists emerged as symbols of revolution, non-racialism and Pan-Africanism across Africa, the Caribbean, the United States and further afield. Indeed, their songs and poetry have inspired many activists, policymakers and the general public. As the creatives take centre stage in the 4IR, reviewing their significant but often neglected contribution to inspiration and knowledge is essential.