South Africa is incredibly rich in music, traditional as well as modern, pop, classic and a lot of jazz. So please don’t expect me to offer a comprehensive coverage! What follows is completely based on my taste, with a few extras here and there. Some of the things I skip are incredibly important to people here, for instance gospel music. It fills hours on various tv channels. It’s just not really for me. You won’t find South African hip hop, punk and rock music here either, nor the Boyoyo Boys (perhaps to the dismay of a good friend) and similar music – I’m aware of them, but can’t truly count them as part of my musical experience. However, you’ll find some kwaito, maskanda, jazz and other styles for which the international music market has labels that don’t get more specific than “world”, “international” or “ethnic”. For the varieties of music in South Africa and their history, see this Wikipedia article, or check some blogs such as this one or this one on music in Soweto and Jo’burg. UPDATE: and see my posts on the Bushfire Festival in Swaziland and on the Fête de la musique in Jo’burg.
The following text is partly in response to friends or anyone really who is rightfully upset and hurt by ongoing racism in the world. My fear is that this pain makes it more and more difficult for us to engage openly, and to challenge ourselves and our prejudice, or if you like: myself and my prejudices. I sense that a lot of people on the receiving end of racism are fed up with finding themselves in a position where they are asked to explain or end racism or are asked to forgive, more so than those who commit acts of racism, directly or indirectly, are willing to do the work to overcome it, or even look at potential racist behaviour, or to admit to their position of privilege.
It’s become longer than I thought, and I believe what truth there is in it is personal, thus not necessarily The capital-T Truth.