Renaissance Movement Music: Building a Safe House in South Africa

The Safe House Project is a mission to build a shelter to protect youth in the Soshanguve township near Pretoria, South Africa.

This month, Virginia based Christian hip-hop record label Renaissance Movement Music released an album called Safe House, from which all proceeds will go to The Safe House Project. Renaissance Movement Music, abbreviated as RMM, includes three artists, Sinai, Legin, and Focus. Sinai and Legin spoke to us about this project.

“Last year we were allowed to go with our church on a mission trip to South Africa… While we were over there we met a lot of great kids and went to a lot of different schools.”

During their time in Pretoria, they asked the people in the ministry they were working with what they needed for the future, and they answered that they need a safe house, a sanctuary to protect youth from sex trafficking.

“There were a lot of kids in the orphanage that we actually met that are in a real, serious, danger of being sold into human trafficking.”

After Sinai, Legin, and Focus came back home to Virginia, they spent a lot of time praying, asking God what they can do to support this mission. “We decided, why not just do what we always do? So we put together the album.”

What started out as a soundtrack to a documentary turned into a full album, and they have chosen that all of the proceeds of this album, called Safe House, will go to benefit The Safe House Project. “None of us saw that coming, but it was definitely a blessing,” said Sinai.

“We got a lot of heartbreaking stories as we got to know the lives of these students,” said Legin. These stories include rape and abandonment, and one such story was spoken about vaguely (to protect sensitive details) in the song  “Know What It’s Like.”

“I know what it’s like to be abandoned because my dad wasn’t there. My dad was on drugs. I know what it’s like to feel unprotected from some things, but I don’t know what your situation is like. I’ve never been in that grave of a situation, but I do know what pain is like. Hopefully, both of us knowing what pain is like can point us to a God who can heal our pain.”

Legin said that everyone needs a safe house in Christ, but many people need physical sanctuaries as well.

“Refugee” is a song inspired by the global refugee crisis. According to UNCHR, the refugee agency of the United Nations, there are over 65 million people worldwide who have been forcibly displaced. They also claim that 20 people are displaced every minute.

“Not to take anything away from them, because we don’t know what its like to be in their shoes, to have to do it to the extent that they have had to, but at some point in our lives we have also needed a safe place with some security.” Sinai said that each person has felt alone, without a home, without a purpose, emotionally if not physically. The song features Spec as well as Christian hip-hop legend Da’ T.R.U.T.H.

“Shattered People” is saying that everyone can relate to the feeling of brokenness. “That is one of the things that actually connects us all as people. We know what it’s like to be broken, to be hurt, to be taken advantage of. The one thing that sets us apart though is who we can look to to be mended back together,” said Sinai.

The Safe House Project will build a center that will serve as a sanctuary for elementary-aged children in the Soshanguve township, where 400,000 people reside.

Renaissance Movement Music is partnered with Kerus Global, a relief organization which has an orphanage in Pretoria of about 130 children; one or both parents of these children have died from HIV/AIDS. Legin said, “They have to walk home as much as two hours by themselves, as young as elementary school, and they have to leave by four or five o’clock because they have to make it home before dark or else they risk getting snatched up and sold because a lot of people there are selling kids to the sex trade to make money.”

Due to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS where Kerus Global serves, the children’s’ grandparents are often left with the responsibility to care for them. This poses a weakness due to the common lack of good health and strength of the elderly; they are then powerless to protect their grandchildren from sexual predators.

Not only in South Africa, but all over the world, people are lured, kidnapped, and forced into the sex trade by people they know, rather than strangers; family, friends, or neighbors commonly lead people whom they thought cared about them into this trap.

The day before RMM released the album Safe House, they received news that two girls from the Soshanguve township had been kidnapped.

“This is why we’re doing this. It’s not just about making music and hoping people listen and care about it. We’re really trying to make a real difference in this little community of Soshanguve, South Africa,”

said Legin.

The goal for The Safe House Project is to raise $140,000 in order to build a safe house in the Soshanguve township within the next three to five years.

“Our goal behind it, outside from wanting to build a safe house, was one, to raise awareness for human trafficking, and how real it is in our world today, and also to raise the standards for what music can be used for,” said Sinai. He is very pleased in how they were able to use their love for music and transform it to directly benefit others, and encourages other artists to do the same.

“Everybody needs a safe house,” is the overarching theme of the album, said Legin. “We didn’t want people to get this record and say ‘Oh, those poor people over there. Let’s go be their savior.’”

“I’ve always hated bullies. I was always the one sticking up for the kids who were being bullied. I was always the one, if I were in a room full of people, I would always go to the one who is isolated in the corner.” The song “Stand” is based on this mindset of Sinai, and said that now it is time for everyone to come together and make a stand for those without a voice.

“I want to be in a relationship with people where I can listen. I can hear their heart and the things that they’ve been through, and be a voice for those people who may not have the same opportunity that I have.”

“Better Days” is a song saying that despite all the hardships and suffering a person can face, there is still hope for a better future in Christ. “If we endure, we will be with Him. Seeing His face is going to be the reward for every single thing that we’re struggling with or fighting with.” Sinai says that no day on Earth will be better than that day.

Written by Focus, “Life Lines” was inspired by the story of Jesus walking on water. Peter as in a boat with the other disciples during a storm, and Jesus, walking on the water, called him to walk out on the water with him. At first, Peter was walking on the water, then he got afraid, lost faith, and fell in.

“We need to step out on faith and trust the Lord in His calling. If He’s calling us out of a certain place, out of a certain situation, even though we might feel that it’s the most secure place we could be, no place is more secure than the place that we find in Him,”

said Sinai.

He also said that because in Christ is our safe place, we need to be obedient in faith and walk to Jesus during the hard times in life.

“Show Them” is a song originally made by KJ Scriven, and when RMM asked him to be a part of this album, he was able to contribute this song to them. In this song, he and Legin want to show people that Jesus Christ lives through seeing their compassion for those who are suffering. “God, if you need to prove you exist, prove it through me,” said Legin about the concept.

Legin wants people to believe that with God on their side, they can do amazing things to share the love of Christ with others, whether that is helping people emotionally and spiritually, or with physical needs such as a safe place to live.

“We’re really hoping that this album encourages the average, everyday person that they can do something amazing for God… God has this habit of taking the ill-equipped and equipping them and resourcing them and using them.”

You can get Safe House on iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play.

Learn more about The Safe House Project and how you can support it here.

You can follow Renaissance Movement Music on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.