Tag Archive | "Local"

F What You Heard, Local is Lekker!

I can never stress enough the importance of creating musical works that are relevant to your community and region. The concept of ‘think local, act global’ not only applies to business but to an artist’s music and personal branding too. Unfortunately in South Africa there seems to be a proliferation of new artists that ‘think global and pretend to act global.’ They live in the sky and create music that is obviously designed to appeal to a New Yorker or an ATLien (a resident of Atlanta, term coined by Outkast,) and then wonder why their music fails to attract a South African audience. That’s because they fail to CONNECT and make music that is relevant to their immediate community.

The market sees this type of artist as a ‘wannabe’ and an impersonator that is too busy trying to mimic their favourite ‘American artist’. The market does not relate to their stories, energies and packaging; even their slang usage is more ‘Ebonics’ than Tsotsi Taal.

I had the opportunity of working with both Skwatta Kamp and Pro Kid early in their careers. The one thing I learned from both these acts was the importance of representing your true self. Through their music and presentation, both these acts were representing elements of the South African kid growing up in the townships. Pro Kid’s “Ungaphel’ Umoya Son” is a great example of a record that connects to the South African audience. On the record, his message of inspiration is specifically designed for a township kid going through hardships and its references are also things we can relate to; things we have seen, experienced and lived.

Thebe’s ‘Bula Boot’ is another great example. Black South Africans have their own way of partying that is unique to us and this record captures that uniqueness to perfection. I can completely relate to it, and I know the majority of Black South Africa can too. Now there’s nothing wrong with making records about ‘poppin’ bottles’ and that sort of thing, however, you have to be mindful of the fact that most people’s reaction to your record will most likely be ‘A se mo States mo’ (translation”: this is not the States). Fans don’t want imported concepts and ideas from their South African artists; they want music they can feel and relate to.

Remember the formula? CwF (Connect with Fans) + RTB (Reason To Buy) = Success.

If you connect with fans, they will want to hear more of your music. In turn, radio stations will increase your rotation, so will music TV channels/programs.  Promoters will want you at their shows. Brands will want to use you for endorsements and sync your music in their ad campaigns. That’s how you WIN!!!

We all know Kwaito’s success story. Look at the core of what made the South African youth fall in love with the genre and you will realize that it went beyond the beat and the chants. There was a strong emotional connection; it was our own thing, it gave you a different feeling. I can say the same thing with the early 2000s Hip Hop scene, from Skwatta Kamp and Pro Kid to Hidden Force, H2O, Morafe, Tuks and others.

That was the only time South African Hip Hop artists regularly sold albums in large volumes. Skwatta Kamp’s ‘Mkhukhu Funkshen’ went platinum and so did Pitch Black Afro’s ‘Styling Gel’, Pro Kid’s ‘Heads & Tales’ shipped 15,000 units, and so on… Pro Kid was part of a Smirnoff campaign for their ‘Storm’ brand; he was also the face of the MTN’s campaign for the SAMA Awards. Skwatta was doing big things breaking down doors and putting SA Hip Hop on a whole different level. Right now Teargas, Mi Casa, Big Nuz, DJ Cleo and others are running the game and dominating charts, sales, awards, gigs and etc. They all make music that connects.

Next time you hit that booth, think about whom you are making music for.  As the late Dr Mageu would say, “A se mo States Mo!!!”


Hit me up:

Email: Thabiso.Khati@gmail.com

Twitter: @HipHopScholar

Twitter: @360Street

Till the next one.

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Film Review: A Million Colours

Director: Peter Bishai

Cast: Wandile Molebatsi, Jason Hartman, Masello Motana, Stelio Savante

“Right now all you see is black and white, but one day you will see a million colours!” These are the words of  Muntu Ndebele in Mzansi’s latest release on the big screen.

I must have been 3 years old when I first saw the film e’Lollipop on my great-grandmother’s black and white TV set, but I never forgot it. The film was about a black boy and a white boy, Tshepo and Jannie, whose friendship could only be separated by death. This film A Million Colours is based on the lives of Norman Knox and Muntu Ndebele after starring in the hit film e’Lollipop in the 70’s.

The film looks at what became of these two actors post the fame, exposure and tours around the world. Even though Norman and Muntu lived in contrasting worlds, they both had their struggles and fought to exist in our messed up country.

If you’re like me and are a sucker for love, then this film is worth watching again and again. The storyline mainly revolves around Muntu Ndebele and his struggles during a time of violence and his personal struggles with life, love, hustle, drugs and alcohol. Wandile Molebatsi gave the role his all and it is evident time and time again in the film. There are scenes where he did so well it took me by complete surprise that he was capable of such performances.

There are parts in the film that moved me from my seat, those that filled me with emotion and those that made me so darn proud to be South African! Such scenes include the beat-downs, body slams, ridicule, and straight up humiliation Muntu was willing to endure in the name of his love for Sabela, his high school sweetheart (acted by Masello Motana). There’s a scene where he was willing to have his IQ beat out of him in a stick fight against a Zulu warrior for his woman. That scene made me blush like a white girl because it was just so romantic!

Another favourite of mine is a scene where Bomba (Mpho Osei Tutu), the notorious gangster, steals Muntu’s car from right in front of him and still has the audacity to force him to help him push it, only to leave him behind in the middle of nowhere!

Unfortunately, there are also those few scenes and aspects of the film that disappointed me slightly. I would have loved to see most of the scenes play out a little longer because they had so much depth which could have been explored further.

There’s a tear jerking scene where Muntu’s mother disowns him and bans him from returning to the house until he decides to change his life. It is there that I got to see the variation in Wandile Molebatsi’s skill as an actor. It was brilliant! I wanted to Read the full story

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Year of the Blogger

Pic taken By @LeboLukeWarm on Signal Hill in Cape Town in December 2011 with @NeemaNouse as the model

In an age where newspapers, magazines and television programs are finding homes on the web, it seems like blogs have finally taken over, giving us the latest news, updating us on fashion trends, source of entertainment, and giving us the insight into the world of technology and art. Blogging has become a part of youth culture – it’s how we connect and engage with each other. Here are my 10 favourite blogs:


One of the only international blogs I’m into. This blog has it all; from classic pictures to beautiful art, to controversial pictures and those that make you fall in love with Hip Hop all over again. It’s mainly picture-focused, so if you’re into visually-appealing blogs, you have to check this one out. This blog is definitely for the fellas.



A blog done by @_toolz_. This local publicist is sophisticated. In his blog he has everything from music to fashion, to videos and art. This blog is clean and very neatly put together and features content from South Africa as well as international news. Check it out and let me know.



Blog of international superstar DJ Funkmaster Flex, a truly Hip Hop-inspired blog featuring women, sneakers, cars, music, videos and all the things you would be into if you are a Hip Hop head. This blog is a must-see, check it out and you’ll never be behind on Hip Hop news.



You get to see life through the eyes of an architect and socialite who loves Hip Hop and fashion – a very visual blog she also posts up pics of herself often and helps a lot that she is good looking I would say this blog is mostly for ladies.



This blog belongs to a close friend of mine, Azola … a Hip Hop princess. She’s a really interesting person and this blog gives us an insight into who she is and what her interests are.



I had to add my blog here. It’s a simple blog about who I am and the things I’m into, made for the people who support me to be able to keep up with what’s going on in my life – definitely not for the faint-hearted!


From Larry Nhlane's blog 'Life of Ngitis'


This blog is one of the best tumblr accounts I’ve ever seen! It truly leaves me speechless… I can’t even describe it, just check it out.



A youth-focused blog focusing on South African youth and the things we are into, from social events to celebrity interviews to the latest fashion trends.



A blog about everything! I’ve done a few interviews with them and they’re always the first to release exclusive information, thus keeping them very relevant.



The ultimate blog for Mzansi celebrity news, Just Curious always has the latest scoop, and the comments on their articles are quite entertaining!


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Why I Don’t Support South African Music

Music Contributor

I’m a big music collector and I’m ashamed that 90% of my collection is made up of American fusion jazz, R&B, Soul, Neo Soul and House music. South African artists complain that we don’t support their music, but what they don’t realise is that there are a number of issues that disable or limit us from doing so. One of these is the issue of distribution. It’s hard to find South African CDs on the shelves of major, well-recognised CD retailers.

For a while I’ve been struggling to find a CD by 340ml, but I’m certain that if I were to look for a Rihanna CD, I would find it within a few hours! I work for a music store. Customers look for local releases but most of them leave the shop dissatisfied, with some considering the illegal downloading/piracy route.

Another issue is that of music choice. What happens to someone who likes R&B in a country where most of the music played on radio is House, Kwaito, Afro-Pop, or Hip Hop? Does this mean that the person needs to switch to those genres for the sake of supporting proudly South Africa music? I have a keen ear for local music that’s fresh; as long as it is good, it’s worth buying. Unfortunately there are few artists in our country who deliver that. Most of them are independent artists but it’s difficult to access their music. As a music lover and a critical listener, I don’t really care much about an artist’s independent label issues. All I want is access to good music.

Some record companies in our country are trying to address these issues. For example, look at what TS Records did for Zahara, a talented musician with something unique and fresh to offer, well-marketed and DISTRIBUTED. Why don’t other record companies do the same with their artists?

Please do share your thoughts and views on this topic?





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Running with the Reps 2 Rumours #RWTR

The Repetoires at the Kasi Times photo shoot

The Repertoires at the Kasi Times photo shoot in March 2011, at Pule's Shisa Nyama in Daveyton

Rumours are that the Repertoires will be back on our screens in March next year. A source close to the crew said that the Reps will start shooting this December. Season one of their reality TV show, Running with the Reps, is currently flighting as the s.e.c.o.n.d re-run, and much to many people’s surprise, they trended on Twitter much like they did when the show first aired.

In the second season it seems that Ellipses, one of season one’s main cast members, will not be returning to the show as he is pursuing his studies outside Joburg. Rumoured to replace him is DJ Capital, one of the Repertoires’ hottest upcoming DJs. Also joining the main cast is TJ – yes, the guy who had ‘beef’ with Nthato. It’s yet to be seen if Nthato will return with a leading role. Larry and the Thundakats, Kea and Thato, were voted the most entertaining Reps, while Senhle (Chama) peaked the interest of the ladies. It’s yet to be seen if they’ll find the Rep Mansion or if there’ll be any more trips to Durban!

One thing’s for sure, this seemingly underestimated show has won a huge loyal following as was proved by it being one of the highest rated shows on VuzuTV this year. These boys know how to entertain and are quickly becoming the best and most popular youth brand in this country! Take notes peeps!

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Q&A with Laduma Ngxokolo

Laduma Ngxokolo is the young talented designer behind the Maxhosa clothing line. His knitwear collection consists of merino wool and kid’s mohair blend knitwear pieces in different styles such as cardigans, waterfall cardigans, v-necks, shawl collar necks, pull-over’s and crew-neck jerseys. Laduma was one of the three South African designers that recently went to showcase their collection at London Fashion Week. I don’t know about you, but he is definitely one of my three favorite designers at the moment. I get to know the humble designer a little better with a series of emails…


You are one of South Africa’s best fashion designers at the moment. How has the experience been for you so far?

Awesome man! It makes me feel more confident about what I do. I must honestly say it puts me under pressure; fortunately, pressure keeps me going. I still look up to a lot of South African designers who have been around in the industry for a long time.

What does fashion and style mean to you?

I consider fashion as an artistic interaction between people; an environment without fashion would have been boring for me. I understand style as distinctive elements that make one unique from other individuals; it’s a character that one Read the full story

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Q&A with Kelly Esterhuyse

22-year-old designer Kelly Esterhuyse is this year’s winner of the Elle New Talent Design Awards. Kelly showcased her designs alongside 7 other hopefuls at this year’s South African Fashion Week recently. Trend analyst and chief judge of the competition Dion Chang had this to say about the show, “The level of entrants was high this year and the judges faced an enormous task to choose one winner.”

What raised Kelly’s work above that of her companion was her visionary use of a rather neglected South African gem – Mohair. Did you know that South African Mohair is some of the most sought-after Mohair in the world? Despite this fact South African designers have remained rather oblivious to it or they have simply shied away from the challenges it presents as a medium for design expression.

Well Kelly has boldly gone where no man has gone before (I was once a Star Trek fan). She tackled this precarious element and came out the victor. Dion Chang added, “Ultimately what made Kelly’s range stand apart was her ingenious use of a much underutilized resource in South Africa – merino wool.  Knitwear has not appeared in a major way in this competition before and we liked her use of a local, indigenous textile which needs to be promoted.” Read the full story

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London Fashion Week with Stiaan Louw – S/S 2012 Collection

Stiaan Louw is one of my favorite South African fashion designers and you won’t be surprised why. The talented designer recently went to showcase his collection at London Fashion Week.  His Grecian-Arabian-Persian look with a modern and African touch consisting of shorts, slouchy trousers and kaftan pieces of different shapes and sizes and shawls left the crowd with no jaws in astonishment. Stiaan used bright colors like brown, grey and yellow and accessorized some of the outfits with sling bags and jewelry, finishing of the look with Middle Eastern inspired sandals.

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