Documentary Spotlights South Africa’s New Music Genre Township Tech

Abena Agyeman-Fisher July 24, 2014

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One of South Africa’s new music genres is called “township tech,”  which is what the youth call its uber-popular electronic music scene. At the helm of it is Spoek Mathambo (pictured), a DJ and rapper. Mathambo recently released a trailer for his upcoming documentary, “Future Sound of Mzansi,” chronicling township tech’s place in South African society. And upon watching the trailer, one quickly realizes that the burgeoning sound is much more than music; it is a movement.

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Mathambo is known for having a visually unique aesthetic. With ancestral symbolism and frenetically paced imagery, his video for the song “Control,” won him the 2011 Young Director Award at the  Cannes Lions Festival.

Watch “Control” here:

 

On the creation of township tech, Mathambo recently told the Guardian that electronic tracks are not only inexpensive but easy to develop, “A setup can  cost as little as 1500 rand [$140]. Some of the biggest  songs this country has ever produced − Township Funk by DJ Mujava, for  example − were produced on a very simple home computer set-up.”

For the trailer of “Future Sound of Mzansi,” which is slang for South  Africa,” Mathambo is able to capture the energy and enthusiasm township tech is generating among South Africans by interlacing disparate club scenes, night takes of the city, and African youth dancing in various townships against an electronic backdrop.

Watch “Future Sound of Mzansi” here:

 

“However dangerous you think townships are, go and experience one for yourself  and you will find enough vibrancy, warmth and love to balance the crime, poverty and injustice,” Mathambo says in the documentary’s voice over, “The future looks awesome, blindingly beautiful, and  bursting at the seams.”

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Face2face Africa invites you to join us for our annual Pan-African Weekend July 25-27 in NYC, honoring Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Alek Wek, Femi Kuti, Masai Ujiri, Bethlehem Alemu, and Dr. Oheneba Bochie-Adjei. Click here for more details and register to attend.

 

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