I could not possibly have conjured up a better way of concluding June 16 than the way it all turned out. We were off to Soweto, ntwana! Going back to the township where the youth marched and died for their (and now our) rights, was already in itself, a soul-satisfying moment. On the drive to Soweto, the Afropolitan Explosiv gig was still fresh in my mind and its relevance was to play out before my eyes in the upcoming hours. After all, I was off to an event that was about the youth and the Arts. I was super-psyched: Soweto Up+Rising, here I come!
Before we even parked the car, the youthful and free-flowing energies of those already inside Club Pelican throbbed out into the street. A white couple entered through the doorway and climbed up the stairs: screw the fears there may be about going to Soweto at night, the BLK JKS are performing and it’s Youth Day!
It’s worth mentioning that Club Pelican’s location is rather on the dingy side; it being the only building occupied that night. But as scary as it may have been on any other night, on this particular night it was inviting, beckoning one and all to enter. There was a sense of safety in this joint, filled with a colourful mix of youth: a variety in ethnicity and background. So many languages whizzed past my ears as my companions and I made our way to the bar… how beautiful it sounded! And to think that this simple right for one to converse in one’s own language (albeit it was at school) is one of the precious things the youth of 1976 fought for!
As expected, even before we got to Soweto, the BLK JKS’ performance would be reserved for last. That suited us just fine. Squeezing past the crowd, I caught a glimpse of Motsatsing; I had to get closer! Her voice rung out over the packed club as she sang a number of songs in Sesotho and other indigenous languages. That’s when my mind drifted back to the Afropolitan Explosiv gig, once more. Here was a young woman making use of language in her artistic expression. Bodies jammed to her tune; black, white, coloured, Indian, whatever – it was music and they could feel it.
After Motsatsing’s performance, a young colourful girl with a truckload of energy and crazy, did her thing. This young thing, who goes by the name of MoonChild, was fresh, funky and fearless (a lot of comparisons were made to Nikki Minaj). MoonChild, supported by two members of the BLK JKS and Siya Shezi, rapped-sang with attitude and wowed the crowd with her fun I-don’t-give-a-damn dance moves. She was a delight to watch and hear.
Keeping with the youthful vibe, another young act got up on stage. Battle Cock, a rock band with a rapper as their lead vocalist, represented our current Model C high school kids: they spoke their minds and had full-blown confidence. A lot of the older members of the youth bopped their heads and swayed from side to side (I can’t believe I’m already in that category), while the younger, fresher kids jumped up and down, hands waving and heads swinging in all directions. I feared a moshpit would erupt at any time. But I have to admit, I had a jol.
While awaiting the BLK JKS performance, I marvelled at how great this gig was. The sound was on point, the lighting was Read the full story