Afropunk Joburg

So, it didn't go completely left and thank heavens

Afropunk Joburg

Words: Jabulile Dlamini-Qwesha | Videography: Aart Verrips 

Happening in Africa for the first time, Brooklyn-based Afropunk went down at Johannesburg’s Constitution Hill over the 30th and 31st of December.

Recognized as a safe “freak out” space for the underdog, the festival felt like a cross-continental celebration of Africanness in all its logic-defying beauty.

Linking people in true Joburg fashion, Afropunk was a social melting pot of attendees from all over the continent - and the world - expressing and appreciating an African identity of their interpretation. And that articulation through the source is what made this one feel (and look) like a homecoming of sorts.

Fashion highlights: Seeing people express modernized traditional African dressing in a way that didn’t look like a parody was refreshing. S/O to the millennials: “you did amazing, sweeties!”

Performance Highlights: Nakhane Toure, Jojo Abot, Manthe Ribane, Anderson .Paak, Thebe, Black Motion, Stiff Pap and Anaïs B

I would have liked to see more of… Thandiswa Mazwai VS The Blk Jks. While the performance itself was good, it felt more like a The Blk Jks ft Thandiswa Mazwai than a complete collab. I hope they come together again for their own show soon.

What was surprisingly underwhelming… was Laura Mvula’s performance – her singing Sing to the Moon while the full moon was beaming was still magical, though. We also all seemed to have been gathered in collective confusion during Kenzhero’s set (except when Sister Bettina dropped, ofcourse).

Still not sure… why Nandi Mngoma got the MCing gig – she probably wouldn’t even have attended had she not been on the job, if we’re keeping it a buck. Luckily eNCA’s Khumo Phulumo was there to keep the spirit alive.

Safety hazard: OMG the toilet situation was horrific. We are definitely in 2018 pls and at R900 a pop, we sure did deserve to relieve ourselves with dignity.

Even though Solange had to pull out at the last minute and we were denied refunds, Afropunk was a good time. From the festival-goers, vendors to artists on stage, the only party that can be accused of compromising the festival’s essence were the organisers themselves.

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