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Ayobaness: The Sound of South African House

This is the new South Africa. Big speakers are pumping a heavy local house brew into Alexandra, a township close to Downtown Johannesburg. Nelson Mandela used to live here back in the 40s. It is Monday night and hundreds of people are coming together outside on the streets having an after-work drink and enjoying one of the craziest house sets I have heard in a long time. People come dressed up showing new South African brands, like «Ama Kip Kip» t-shirts, named after the colourful popcorn you can buy on the small roadside shops around the townships. Township culture has turned into a source of pride and inspiration. The local house beat is a modern symbol for a country that has reinvented itself.

Since the end of apartheid black music and culture is flourishing. The heartbeat of urban SA music is house. From copying international house beats and mixing them with Shangan, Zulu or Xhosa township raps in early kwaito it has now gone full circle. It turned into a local culture that combines a love for long lost true African sounds, urban township culture and the latest international club trends. No place in Africa has such a close connection to the rest of the world alongside a rich African tradition. No wonder this explosive promising mix is attracting more and more DJs from all over the world.

So it comes as no surprise that one of the biggest club hits in the last years, Township Funk by DJ Mujava, comes straight out of the SA house scene. Moving with some of the star DJs and producers on the South African House scene like DJ Clock, Black Coffee, DJ Cleo and others I began to realise how big the output of this scene is. Driving through Durban with DJ Chynaman or DJ Bongz we were constantly surrounded by young producers handing us their latest productions. In South Africa young people dream of being producers or DJs, and not MCs. It is the place in Africa where the digital revolution has firmly taken hold. With the World Cup hitting South Africa 2010 it seems a good moment to get the word out about this vibrant scene: So welcome to this new generation of Ayobaness!