South Africa, the country of Ubuntu, a country with 11 official languages. We survived the Apartheid era, and now we are making history with our own house music. Music has always played a big part in our lives, and it is still finding a way to connect us to the world.
In the late 80s, township people started forming stokvels/kitchen parties, and I remember listening to the sound outside my grandmother’s house in Orlando West, a township of Johannesburg, where I grew up. It was mindblowing.
In the 90s, Christos and Vinny Da Vinci changed our lives when they brought us house music tracks from abroad. Soon after, a dear friend, DJ Mbuso, took up djing and hosted his Sunday street bash outside his grandmother’s house in Soweto, Orlando West. This party brought in a lot of people from all angles of Jo’burg – people just wanted to hear house music. Mbuso also hosted big bashes in Vaal Tech, where he teamed up with DJ Clive Bean. On the other side of the township, DJ Ganyani started spreading the sound by handing out his mixtapes to taxi drivers and hosting his big bashes during the weekends outside his parent’s house.
Johannesburg clubs such as 115, Carfax, and the Electric Workshop were some of the few that brought youth together with house music. As a South African, I have to admit that we enjoy a good party and we very much know our music – it’s not like back in the days when djs were the ones who knew all the songs. We have our own producers, whose work allows our music to be known and celebrated. It is a beautiful thing to see South African music making waves all over the world.
South African house music has grown from an unknown genre to a worldwide force, and we now hold a strong force in the market. It is a movement and a lifestyle that most South Africans are living. It brings everyone together.It is our music of hope.
Xoliswa Ngcoza, originally from Orlando West, Johannesburg, South Africa, is a dj based in Danbury, Connecticut.