Kwaito Music and Post-Apartheid South Africa

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Kwaito music, perhaps the most important genre of music to materialize in post-apartheid South Africa, is commonly referred to as South African hip-hop. South African hip-hop originated in the 1990’s, shortly after Nelson Mandela was elected president. “Mandoza [a popular Kwaito singer] says this is no coincidence. After years of struggle, youngsters craved for a way to enjoy the freedom. Kwaito provides just that” (Lob 1). A popular hip-hop group, Prophets of da City, from Cape Town, South Africa were deeply drawn to ideology of American hip-hop, particularly artists such as Ice-T, Dr. Dre, DJ Yella, and Easy-E. Prophets of da City were able to relate to the messages that were displayed in the text of their songs regarding discrimination, violence and poverty. Prior to the election of Nelson Mandela, the people of apartheid South Africa were refined by political boundaries. As a result of the Separate Development Act, blacks were not allowed to socialize with individuals outside of their native tribe. Their government believed that maintaining boundaries was essential to maintaining proper balance. “Radio stations had different broadcasting systems for each ethnic group.” (Mhlambi 4). As if the inability to listen to a preferred radio station was not enough to add insult to injury, the radio stations were also heavily censored. Kwaito, which translates to the word “angry” in English, was considered an act of rebellion against political restrictions. The first Kwaito hit, written by Mafokate, detests the use of the word kaffir, a negative term that is used to refer to a black African. The text of the song “is a perfect illustration of freedom of expression that developed as a result of political change” (Mhlambi 4). Kwaito music ...

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Kwaito Music. 2013. Http://www.theeye.co.zw/musical-concept-empowering-local-woman-1530715/. By Mutsa Samhembere. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. (Visual #2 Citation)
Lob, Emily. "For South African Blacks, Kwaito Music = Fun." VOA. Voice of America, 06 Dec. 2012. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
Mhlambi, Thokozani. "Kwaitofabulous: The Study of a South African Urban Genre." Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa, 2004. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.
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