Kwaito: South Africa’s homegrown sound
Emerging in the early 90’s in Johannesburg, Kwaito is a distinctive musical genre spawned from township dance halls. It’s groove is like that of slowed down house music, with some hip hop elements and African-style chanting and rapping.The accompanying dance style is also a hybrid of South African “Pantsula” (best described as an African Charleston) and bump-and-grind hip hop.
- The word Kwaito interestingly stems from “Kwaai” the Afrikaans word for angry, with the first big hit named “Kaffir” by Arthur Mafokate. “Kaffir” literally translates as “non-believer” or “infidel”, but is a racial slur on par with “Nigger”.
Kwaito has not made it too far from South African shores, but many big international acts have been remixed eKasi (township)-style, with the signature suppressed tempo and pulsating rhythm.
If you like it and plan on buying some while on holiday, these are some of the most popular artists:
- Brown Dash
- Thembi Seite
- Thandiswa Mazwai
- And the late, great Brenda Fassie