South African Music


South African Music

South Africa has a small but vibrant local music scene. Since the fall of Apartheid the South African music scene has blossomed as new styles of contemporary music have flourished, with improving production values assisting many South African acts break through onto the international stage.


Kwaito is the most distinctive new form of music to have emerged in South Africa since the Apartheid regime fell in 1994. This musical genre presents a uniquely South African take on hip hop, using the deep bass samples of traditional hip-hop and house music and combining this with chanted, melodic male vocals.

While Kwaito is regarded as the music of the townships, and is most enthusiastically supported by urban black Africans, a number of hits have been enthusiastically received by the broader South African population. Examples include Mandoza's Nkalakatha, a nation-wide multi-platinum hit which is recognised as one of the defining songs of the genre.


Afro-fusion is another South African music genre that has flourished in the last decade. The genre is fairly broad and incorporates a variety of jazz, folk and and blues acts that combines African and pop influences in their music. The eclectic influences of the music allow it to appeal to broad sectors of the South African population, to the extent that it often transcends ethnic and cultural boundaries.

The groundwork for the current afro-fusion scene was laid in the 1990s by bands like Mango Groove, who successfully combined African and pop influences to achieve mainstream success. At present the band Freshlyground is recognised as one of the finest afro-fusion groups, and apart from composing a series of domestic hits has also achieved significant success in European markets.

Afrikaans Music

Afrikaans music has enjoyed significant growth in recent years. Many regard the explosive growth of the Afrikaans music industry, driven mainly by youthful musicians, as the product of Afrikaner attempts to preserve their cultural identity in the face of globalisation and political turmoil.

Afrikaans music comprises a wide variety of styles ranging from rock to the distinctive dance music known as 'sokkie'. While very few Afrikaans albums have achieved crossover success in South Africa, Afrikaans musicians have been known to achieve significant commercial success in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.


South African musicians have put a uniquely South African spin on a number of international dance styles. Techno music was enthusiastically received by South Africans in the 1990s, and has gradually been replaced by the emergence of a thriving Psytrance scene.

South African Psytrance is regarded as distinct from more upbeat European trance music, and is known for its dark edge and tribal rhythms. Outdoor psytrance parties are popular during the summer months, and are held in some of South Africa's most scenic locations.