HHAP Ep. 66: Kanyi Mavi, and the cultural & Political significance of Doing Hip Hop in Xhosa

Kanyi Mavi is a Cape Town-based lyricist who is well respected for her creative use of Xhosa to create powerful hip-hop verses. She sometimes raps and vocalizes over Xhosa instrumentals, introducing hip hop to Xhosa culture in a way the really raises the bar. Her music also speaks to important social issues like sexual harassment, domestic violence, and drug abuse. She released her first album, Iintombi-Zifikile, in 2012, and in 2020 she released both an EP, Khon’ba, and a full album, Igubu Lam.

In this interview, she talks to the students about her music and the importance of bringing her culture into hip hop. She also talks about the use of Xhosa in the film Black Panther! She also talks about hip hop culture in South Africa, and the linguistic diversity in the various hip hop scenes across South Africa, as well as the impact of the industry on artistic creativity.

As one of the most well-known Xhosa rappers in South Africa, she takes the messages in her music very seriously. She talks about her views on campaigns around violence against women, in which she speaks to women and offers some very real ideas on keeping women safe, and alive. We also re-visit a discussion on feminism that we had during our first interview. She expresses her criticism of these movements and discusses the role men play in the fight for gender equality.

Kanyi Mavi also addresses national and global politics, and how in her music, her goal is to voice what is going on in the community, with her people. She also looks at the history of South Africa since the end of apartheid and reflects on South Africa’s relationship with the rest of Africa.

Connect with Kanyi Mavi’s work at kanyimavi.co.za. Kanyi Mavi is on Twitter and Instagram as @Kanyi_Mavi.

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HHAP Episode 43: Hip Hop and Activism in Post-Apartheid South Africa, Part 2

This is part 2 of a 2 part conversation with hip hop scholar and University of Cape Town Professor Adam Haupt and hip hop artist Bradley Lodewyk (aka b-boy King Voue) from the group Brasse Vannie Kaap, or BVK. We met up at the University of Cape Town while they were working on their book project, Neva Again: Hip Hop Art, Activism, and Education in Post-Apartheid South Africa, and EP In the Key of B. The book and EP can be accessed at https://www.hsrcpress.ac.za/books/neva-again. The book was edited by Adam Haupt, Quentin Williams, H Samy Alim & Emile Jansen. The #IntheKeyofB EP was produced by Adam and Bradley and features Cape Flats MCs and vocalists, such as Nadine Matthews-Nunes, Naftali Solomons, Eavesdrop, Shameema Williams (ex Godessa), Natasha C. Tafari, Emile YX? (Black Noise, Heal the Hood), Amy Brown, Imie Vannie Delf, Dirtypro Agape Tadana, Stefan Benting, Razeen Haupt, Nathan Lodewyk, Zama Jimba and Jerome Rex.  

In this episode, Bradley talks about his work with BVK and the involvement of the group in politics. BVK members were from the Cape Flats area in Cape Town,  and rapped in Kaaps, a Cape Flats dialect of Afrikaans. They released their first album in the late-1990s. The conversation in this episode looks at hip hop under apartheid, and the influence of apartheid of the development of hip hop culture in South Africa. We also discuss South Africa’s history of protest and activism. Adam and Bradley discuss the failures of the post-apartheid government to live up to the promises of the movement, and their adoption of a neoliberal economic system, which “reinforced the racialized class divide”. Within this, Adam and Bradley say hip hop became, and still is, a vehicle to expose youth to progressive ideas The topics In the Key of B EP covers include  gang violence, toxic masculinity, the failures of the state, and gentrification Adam and Bradley also discuss bringing the various contributors together for this project, and their use of social media, especially WhatsApp, to communicate. In this project WhatsApp was a space for them to engage with social and political issues happening in South Africa, which would in turn, influence their work on the project. According to Adam, “It was also a way of demystifying the academic writing about the issues”.

The opening song is “Persevere” by Monishia Schoeman, Emile Jansen, Adam Haupt with additional vocals by Razeen Haupt, and the closing song is “Trickle Down” by Emile Jansen, Stefan Benting, Agape Dirtypro Tadana, Shameema Williams, and Adam Haupt. Both are on the album In The Key Of B

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HHAP Episode 42: Hip Hop and Activism in Post-Apartheid South Africa, Part 1

This is part 1 of a 2 part conversation with hip hop scholar and University of Cape Town Professor Adam Haupt and hip hop artist Bradley Lodewyk (aka b-boy King Voue) from the group Brasse Vannie Kaap, or BVK. We met up at the University of Cape Town while they were working on their book project, Neva Again: Hip Hop Art, Activism, and Education in Post-Apartheid South Africa, and EP In the Key of B. The book and EP can be accessed at https://www.hsrcpress.ac.za/books/neva-again. The book was edited by Adam Haupt, Quentin Williams, H Samy Alim & Emile Jansen. The #IntheKeyofB EP was produced by Adam and Bradley and features Cape Flats MCs and vocalists, such as Nadine Matthews-Nunes, Naftali Solomons, Eavesdrop, Shameema Williams (ex Godessa), Natasha C. Tafari, Emile YX? (Black Noise, Heal the Hood), Amy Brown, Imie Vannie Delf, Dirtypro Agape Tadana, Stefan Benting, Razeen Haupt, Nathan Lodewyk, Zama Jimba and Jerome Rex.  

In this episode, Bradley talks about his work with BVK and the involvement of the group in politics. BVK members were from the Cape Flats area in Cape Town,  and rapped in Kaaps, a Cape Flats dialect of Afrikaans. They released their first album in the late-1990s. The conversation in this episode looks at hip hop under apartheid, and the influence of apartheid of the development of hip hop culture in South Africa. We also discuss South Africa’s history of protest and activism. Adam and Bradley discuss the failures of the post-apartheid government to live up to the promises of the movement, and their adoption of a neoliberal economic system, which “reinforced the racialized class divide”. Within this, Adam and Bradley say hip hop became, and still is, a vehicle to expose youth to progressive ideas The topics In the Key of B EP covers include  gang violence, toxic masculinity, the failures of the state, and gentrification Adam and Bradley also discuss bringing the various contributors together for this project, and their use of social media, especially WhatsApp, to communicate. In this project WhatsApp was a space for them to engage with social and political issues happening in South Africa, which would in turn, influence their work on the project. According to Adam, “It was also a way of demystifying the academic writing about the issues”.

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