African Music and Dance Wiki
  • Lead a post-apartheid township subculture into the mainstream
  • Arthur Mafokate describes the relationship between kwaito and "gangster" as "all about the ghetto music"
  • Urban music –which has been overlooked in academia
  • The song Kaffirà Mafokate protesting against the white people's use of addressing black people
    • Lyrics: Boss, No. Boss, don’t call me a kaffir. Can't you see I am trying my best. Can't you see I am moving around. I don't come from hell. You would not like it if I called you a baboon. Even when I try washing up, you still call me a kaffir. Boss, don’t call me a kaffir.
  • Male and female dialogue popular à sexual subtexts
  • They literally are the bad boys of SA music, most having come from poor backgrounds and then thrust into the lime light and then not dealing with consequences of fame.
  • Kwaito is the first true black empowerment of music and it has also breathed life into other genres
  • Kwaito generation: body of literature of Kwaito novelists
  • Kwaito became the voice of the new South Africa
  • But the lyrics are largely sung in "tsotsi taal," a linguistic gumbo of Zulu, English, Xsosa, Afrikaans and street slang that is spoken in the townships
  • Tsotsi taal allegedly originated with criminals in the Johannesburg ghetto, and currently is still perceived as a connection to the ghetto lifestyle – when a rapper uses tsotsi taal he aligns himself with his township background
  • With its locally flavored lyrics and strong dance beat, kwaito is the sound that best reflects the youth culture of post-apartheid South Africa
  • Cultural symbols: spottis (floppy sun hat--cricket), all star sneakers

Our Reasonings[]

The importance of our introduction of American students to this genre and the culture surrounding it lies in the significance that this genre holds for a large amount of people in another part of the world. As kwaito superstar Bonginkosi "Zola" Dlamini says, the music is a means of connection to the social and physical communities in which these artists grew up in a post-Apartheid, new-economy world: "Always acknowledge home. Always remind the people that I come from shit hole. You know, I come from the worst place ever. But look at me!" The creators of kwaito music (and many of the genre's fans), along with all the young adults of this new South African township generation, have been collectively referred to as the "Kwaito Generation." This also includes a list of authors including Niq Mhlongo, author of Dog Eat Dog. The fact that there has been a term created for a massive percentage of a country's population means there must be something significant enough about this genre to warrant such attention...