Book delves into political history of kwaito and how it made black people seen

Kwaito is more than merely a music genre.

Kwaito carries a political history and deep meaning for many black South Africans.

A local book, titled Born to Kwaito: Reflections on the Kwaito Generation, reflects on the influence and evolution of kwaito.

It was released earlier this year and written by co-authors Esinako Ndabeni and Sihle Mthembu.

Ndabeni says kwaito visualised the experiences and joy of black people living in the townships emerging from apartheid.

She also discussed some of the biggest critiques of the movement and how kwaito shaped modern music sounds, language and fashion.

The book explores the history of Tsotsitaal and scamtho, it profiles the like of kwaito star Mapaputsi, describes the cords that bind kwaito together with a history of violence, and spotlights the likes of iconic music group TKZee.

To be black is to be political. It's a politicised identity.

Esinako Ndabeni, writer and author

That is the first thing that made kwaito political - it was a genre made by black bodies. It was a sound coming out from apartheid, predominantly in the townships.

Esinako Ndabeni, writer and author

Kwaito was visibility. It was black people, from the township, being visible, fashioning themselves with blue-collar wear.

Esinako Ndabeni, writer and author

I didn't grow up around hip-hop. I was listening to kwaito, maksandi, and other such things.

Esinako Ndabeni, writer and author

Listen to the discussion with stand-in host Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh:

Thumbnail image: DJ Mahoota via Instagram.


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Book delves into political history of kwaito and how it made black people seen


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