During the 2017 inaugural Afropunk Joburg festival, despite a plethora of international alternative music stars headlining (including Grammy Award-nominated rapper Anderson Paak and his band the Free Nationals), the biggest music highlights of the festival came from the local acts, most memorably an electrifying set from indie rock singer and actor Nakhane Toure. While international headline acts at Afropunk Joburg 2018 include cult names like Thundercat, The Internet, Flying Lotus, Katyranada and Public Enemy, this year’s local lineup is equally as exciting.
Ahead of the 2018 edition of Afropunk Joburg festival, here’s our guide to the hottest local acts on this year’s line-up to look out for.
Dope Saint Jude
Cape Town-born queer rapper and producer Catherine Saint Jude Pretorius (best known as her rap moniker Dope Saint Jude)’s music tackles issues such as social justice and the plights of marginalised communities. Her style has often been likened to the early works of British-Tamil rapper M.I.A, who actually handpicked Dope Saint Jude for her 2016 H&M campaign.
Born to anti-apartheid journalists, Kora Award-winning Afrosoul-funk singer Thandiswa Mazwai first burst onto South Africa’s spotlight as the frontwoman of legendary kwaito group Bongo Maffin before going solo in 2005. Her debut solo album Zabalaza was met with rave reviews, with her second offering Ibokwe reaching gold status within weeks of release.
One of South Africa’s most prolific emcees with over 30 mixtapes and EPs to his name, YoungstaCPT (real name Riyadh Roberts) gained renown for his intensely personal music which chronicles the experiences of the marginalised Cape Flats community.
Its name standing for Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness, Soweto-based New Age band BCUC is a firm Joburg favourite with their music combining traditional instruments with funk sounds and addressing issues often experienced growing up in South Africa’s townships.
Port Elizabeth-born singer Moonchild Sanelly, born Seneziwe Sanelly, has been in Joburg’s entertainment industry for over a decade but only recently gained fame for her music which she terms “future ghetto funk”. Heavily influenced by the kwaito, jazz and hip-hop sounds of her youth (her mother owned a jazz tavern, her brother is a hip-hop producer and her grandmother was a kwaito dancer), Moonchild is also a mother of three with her daughter Artemis Wafika already a budding musician at nine.
The Afropunk 2018 Festival takes place at Constitution Hill on December 30 and 31.