What went down at AfroPunk

by Monde Mtyolo

Johannesburg got to welcome the New Year in the most conscious way as free-spirited and open-minded festival-goers attended AfroPunk, which started on December 30, 2018.
AfroPunk’s theme this year was ‘The People Resist’ which only fitted too well with the festival’s vision of strengthening values of non-judgment and inclusivity. Hosted at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg (which houses the South African Constitutional Court as well as a number of prisons tied to Apartheid) the venue reflected the values AfroPunk stands for: no racism, no sexism, no ableism, no ageism, no homophobia, no fatphobia, no transphobia and no hatefulness.


The Fashion:

People embraced their bodies, their gender identities, their African heritage and their artistic edge. AfroPunk is known to be a safe space synonymous with inspiring self-expression and authenticity, and this is always manifested in attire, along with the spirit of sister and brotherhood in the atmosphere. Here are some of the best looks we came across:


The Music:

AfroPunk very carefully selects the performers and artists that grace their stage. From all parts of the world, the chosen are either members or allies of the LGBTI community, change agents, disrupters, or ground-breakers, so it was no surprise to see that Kaytranada, The Internet, Thandiswa Mazwai, Kwesta, Faka, Flying Lotus, Moonchild Sanelly, Trompies and Muzi, among many others, were chosen to entertain at this auspicious event.

Kaytranada, who ‘changed the game’ with his blend of RnB, hip hop and electronic dance music elements (ingeniously securing his niche in the music industry with his epic remix of Janet Jackson’s ‘If’) gave an electrifying set after midnight – so much so, attendees didn’t even notice the rain.

After the people celebrated New Year with fireworks, The Internet followed with a fiery performance of their own. Delivering their usual experimental sounds to a crowd singing along, they were later joined on stage by Kaytranada to close the show. Thandiswa’s performance was also not one to be forgotten; King Tha, as she has recently and affectionately come to be known, was heavily charged and her African-rooted sounds with futuristic undertones transcended into the spiritual realm in the way only she can master. The nipple was freed long the way too.

Legendary Maskandi artist Phuzekhemisi also strung his guitar like only he could, delivering his ’90s hits, while also worthy of a mention was DJ Muzi, an artist who has merged African sounds with electronic and futuristic styles, and who came up with a beautiful flavour that the cool kids ate up. His set featured classic songs we know and love which were remixed just days before the concert and included Brenda Fassie’s ‘Weekend Special’, Mahotella Queens’ ‘Kazet’, Sipho Hostix Mabuse’s ‘Burnout’, Margaret Singana’s ‘We Are Growing’ and even Sarafina’s ‘Freedom Is Coming Tomorrow’.

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