African Music and Dance Wiki

Arthur Mafokate[]

  • "Kaffir" illustrated the freedom of expression resulting from political liberation in South Africa
    • was the starting point and first song of the Kwaito generation
  • Known as "Mr. Kwaito"
  • Entered the spotlight in the 1980's as a dancer
  • Kwaito is known for being apolitical, but Arthur has composed some political themed songs
    • his first EP "Kaffir" in 1995 had 6 songs and most were politically charged
  • Feels that the "bad boy" connotation comes from being aggressive with "Kaffir" when radio stations banned it...all he wanted was to educate people about the struggle of Black South Africans
  • video: Oyi, Oyi


  • Took his name from the slum where he grew up
  • Music featured on soundtrack for Tsotsi movie
  • Teamed with the SABC for a reality show called Zola 7
  • Music is a blend of hiphop, gospel, zulu and sotho music
  • He was appointed the Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF in 2006
  • Debut album Umdlwembe was a particularly potent cocktail adding politically conscious lyrics and a dash of gospel to please his mother
  • Zola on black empowerment "own your own record label, all the intellectual rights, and royalties and then your own studio! kwait became the ultimate accessible black empowerment voice on the street
  • Video: Cry

Brickz []

  • The future of Kwaito music
  • Collaborates with DJ Cleo (who is one of the most famous Kwaito producers)
  • His debut album Face Brick is personal, its about his love life, township occurrences, and about his late mother
  • Has been considered a savior of the Kwaito genre
  • Numerous many run ins with the law--adds to the "bad boy" image of Kwaito
  • video: Sweetie My Baby


  • Popularized Kwaito, starting with 1993 Single "It's About Time"
  • Broke into the international market, climbing the charts in England and Europe.
  • Combined music with a distinctive visual style and dance moves
  • "Chop Di Grass" dance move that paid homage to people who mowed grass along highways
  • Brainchild of South African producer Don Laka, who wanted to evolve popular music in his country beyond bubble gum
  • Dance style reminiscent of traditional Kwassa Kwassa, but sexualized.
  • Own 75% of their master recordings and all of their post-1998 recordings, a rarity in South Africa
  • Broke up in 2000 when Lebo Mathosa, a famous lead singer, decided to go solo
  • She died in a 2006 car crash.

video: Its on


  • From Soweto
  • Language is critical for not only celebrating the uniqueness and legitimacy of local communities, but also for maintaining ties between artists and their audiences
  • Are known for their spottis and all star sneakers, and brightly colored costumes
  • Routinely rap vernacular forms of the major indigenous languages which is a conscious attempt to address the social, political, and economic issues that impact marginalized communities in ways that hold particular meaning for them. Helps to maintain ties between artists and their audiences
  • Different from most Kwaito artists because of their synchronized dancing which shows how influenced they are by previous music styles
    • two members of the group were a part of a bubblegum group
  • have been around since the beginning of Kwaito
  • Video: Bengimngaka

Our Reasonings[]

We wanted to describe some of the popular artists of Kwaito for a few different reasons. It is a very hands on way to connect Kwaito music to music here in America. It is enlightening to learn about Popular Artists from other countries. Most of the artists have major international appeal. We believe that our mix of artists properly represent the different styles of Kwaito music. Not all Kwaito musicians are "bad boys" or criminals. This is a way for us to combat the stereotypes of the Kwaito genre. As well as a chance to listen to some music!