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SA House Music

Goitsemang Nkomo / Rhodes Music Radio / Twenty Ten

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

AUDIO: The history of house music in South Africa.

South Africa boasts eleven official languages. Despite the variety in languages, the country is brought together through a language that transcends all boundaries: Music. House music is a movement, a language spoken by South Africans, a lifestyle. It is a Cultural affair. House Music is proudly and loudly South African.

Lead: House Music – South Africa’s pride

Link 1: South Africa boasts a unique history from the days of Apartheid to the welcoming of a new Rainbow Nation. Through the course of time, music has been used to tell stories of the people. In the early 90's, the so-called Kwaito music emerged as the voice of the nation used to speak up against political and social injustice. It echoed an anticipation of a new identity, but it wasn’t made to last. After the first democratic election, South Africa sang a new tune. This was the birth of House music. The music of hope, change and the dawn of a new era.

Link 2: South Africans identify very strongly with house music. More than just a genre, it’s a lifestyle with its own special definition.

Insert: Vox pops

In: Siphokazi Mthethwa: Smooth rhythms, thinking deep thoughts poetry. You’re in a different world when you hear it. You forget all your troubles and you just sway your body, that’s what house music is to me.

Sindiswa Mathe: House music is the essence of music. It’s like beats, bass guitar, the drum you know you can actually...ts ts ts, you hear it. It’s more about the music and the quality, and how you can actually change the different flows. You go with the melodies, you go with the harmonies, it’s everything. It’s like a roller coaster in a weird way. If you listen very carefully you can actually hear music. It’s not about somebody singing over it. If you listen very carefully, it’s all about the music so it’s real music.

Ashmitha Ramgathi: It’s pretty awesome. It is music that you can get in the zone to, it lets you lose yourself. It’s usually music without any lyrics. They don't concentrate on the lyrics, they concentrate on the music. The music itself is very bassy, you can either relax to house or you can dance to it, depending on what mood you are in because it’s very versatile.

Link 3: House Music is a fairly young genre of music in the country, yet it boasts a commendable following. It has grown from an unknown genre to a formidable force saturating the market. House Dj and music producer Tendai Luwo, shares his thoughts on the genre's growth.

Insert: Interview: Tendai Luwo (Dj Luo) (House Dj and music producer)

In: From a house perspective we've really grown, we now currently hold about thirty per cent of the market. We're a strong force in the market, the South African house scene is greatly appreciated. You have artists like Black Coffee who are world renowned. So I think South Africa has done very well.

Link 4: House Music is characterised by its celebratory messages about dancing. It is a validation of a way of life. It is a culture, a movement representing a lifestyle. The distinctive steady bass drum beat, combined with the occasional harmonic vocals are said to take the listener on a journey. Athenkosi Mahomana Radio DJ and producer at Rhodes Music Radio in Grahamstown, tells how his house music journey began.

Insert: Interview : (Athenkosi Mahomana,Radio DJ and Producer-Rhodes Music Radio)

In: These guys back at home used to come to my house, because I had a computer back in those days. “No we wanna produce this track”, “No listen to this”, I be like, “Guys this is too heavy for my ear”. The first CD I bought I'm ashamed because I don't like the artist, it was Bujo Mujo but uh I've definitely grown from there hey.

Link 5: Music genres can be personified, possessing a unique speech, style of dress and personality. So what does a house head look like?

Insert: Interview: Louis Kigundu (Hip Hop DJ)

In: DJ Luo: You know it doesn't actually have an image. It's just the music.

Louis Kigundu: Well a house head, his jeans are always up to his waist, and his jeans they're like, “don't touch my ankles” and you can always see his socks and some of them don't wear socks. And then they wear those old daddy phomo shoes, you know, and those old school Ne-Yo hats, but the old school Sophiatown hats. And a button up shirt, that’s tucked in.

Link 6: DJ Ian (E-nyce) Zhanero explains what needs to be done to make our voices heard and make sure house music and its culture don't follow the same path as Kwaito music.

Insert: Interview: DJ E-Nyce (Ian Zhanero)

In: Basically what I think we have to do is, when we have local Dj's going overseas, I think we should play more of our local music and have more of the local CD's. Artists performing internationally distributing the CD's internationally. I think first you need to know your music well and to listen to your music. Get onto software, DJ'ing software that you can get, join a DJ'ing community or some DJ'ing club and start from there.

OUTRO: House Music is a genre that has been embraced by South Africans. It has grown from strength to strength making its way into the hearts of the nation. House has made its home in South Africa and is here to stay. For Twenty Ten radio, this is Goitsemang Nkomo reporting from South Africa.

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