Did you know?
"Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika", part of the joint national anthem of South Africa, was originally composed as a hymn by South African school teacher, Enoch Sontonga in 1897.
In South Africa, kwaito culture has changed the face of local music and, in many ways has come to define popular youth culture in the country.
This uniquely South African music genre emerged in the early nineties with the advent of democracy. It has its origins in South African townships and dance halls where new-found political and social freedoms gave South African musicians better access to the international music scene. This translated into greater freedom of expression in South Africa, with kwaito music emerging as the vehicle to express the realities and aspirations of the young black South Africans that formed part of the country's first post-apartheid generation.
Kwaito music is an urban sound that is richly textured and expressive. Its pulsing dance beat has its roots in South African music styles such as mbaqanga and dancehall, as well as house and disco. While it has some links to American hip-hop, kwaito’s lyrics come straight from South Africa’s townships and convey the street language of these townships.
Originally, kwaito was pioneered by a relatively small group of stars who earned themselves an ambiguous mix of fame and notoriety for their lifestyles as much as their music. Amongst the best known South African kwaito stars are Mandoza, Zola 7, and Bravo and DJ Cleo. Other award winning kwaito groups include Malaika, Mafikozolo, Mzekezeki, Oskido and Bongo Maffin.
The development of Kwaito has also had a significant impact on South African culture and economy, permeating television, radio and even fashion, where it is seen as a lifestyle as much as a music genre. Its blend of black urban style and modern influences mean that it is constantly evolving and dynamic – much like South Africa itself.
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