Audio

10 Classic South African House Songs You Need to Hear

Here are 10 of the best South African house tracks released over the years.

“In the beginning, there was Jack… and while one day while viciously throwing down on his box, Jack boldly declared ‘Let there be house’ and house music was born.”


So goes the fable as narrated by Chuck Roberts on his seminal track, "My House."

House music has always had a home in South Africa—from tribal house to techno, deep house and afro-infused house.

Over the years, the genre has been responsible for packing dance floors and creating memories in the minds of countless house heads in the country.

Here are 10 of the best house joints produced and released by South African musicians over the years.

For more, listen to our South African House extended playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

DJ Mbuso "Mbuso’s Revenge"

DJ Mbuso is a man of many hats. As  the co-founder of Soul Candi Records and Phezulu Records, he’s been responsible for bringing many a hit into South African dance floors through his compilations. He’s also a producer of considerable talent. Taken off 2005's Soul Candi Session 2, "Mbuso’s Revenge" features racing percussion, a thick bass line and a meandering string section that makes it both a contemplative house joint as well as an essential for the club floor.

Black Coffee "Wathula Nje"

Black Coffee has long built a career as South Africa’s quiet jazzman. He’s always had a sound that’s equal part house and jazz. But nowhere was this expressed as beautifully than on "Wathula Nje," which features the late Victor Ntoni. With it’s rubbery bass line, soft percussion and jazzy piano melodies, this song is classic Black Coffee. He would later go on to record a live version of the song which featured a 24-piece orchestra.

McLloyd "Tembisa Funk"

Released in 2007, with a feature on Oskido’s Church Grooves 6 compilation, "Tembisa Funk" features stuttering brass hits and heavy reverb, which make the track both ominous and inviting. The version that appeared on Oskido’s album was a bit more refined—with a tweak here and there—but the original version still exists on the internet.

Revolution "Vhavenda"

No list of greats would be complete without the unassuming duo of twin brothers George and Joseph Mothiba, who have been creating afro-infused, tribal house long before it became the wave to do so. "Vhavenda," their remix of Phillip Tabane’s song of the same name, features onomatopoeic singing from Tabane over racing drums and an infectious flute and guitar melody. Revolution would be the last to admit it, but this song still remains a South African house classic.

Culoe De Song "100 Zulu Warriors"

As far as first impressions go, Culoe De Song couldn’t have chosen better than "100 Zulu Warriors." With its hissing strings and xylophone taps the song introduced the world to Culoe’s brand of tribal house and led him to be discovered by Black Coffee. A version of the song later made its way to Black Coffee’s 2007 release Have Another One, but the original is still a classic in its own right.

Follow our South African House extended playlist on Spotify.

DJ Fresh & Kellex ft. Thabiso "Stay Real"

DJ Fresh is an artist who needs little to no introduction in South Africa’s house scene. He’s rightly considered one of the most important architects of the scene and you only need to take a listen to his Fresh House Flava and Definition of House series to find out why. "Stay Real" saw him team up with local producer Kellex and head behind the boards for a song that would easily fill any dance floor to this day. “You are who you are, don’t change” goes the song’s chorus over a slow-moving chord section. Ultimately, the song is about maintaining one’s sense of self amidst all the bullshit people throw your way.

DJ Cleo "Do It Again"

Before DJ Cleo veered into the realm of caricature, singing about WhatsApp, Facebook and every other social media platform you could think off, he was a producer with signature bass lines and menacing drum patterns. Eskhaleni Extension 2 displays the full range of his musical talent. That release’s main single, "Goodbye," was a popular song that featured a sample of Andrea Bocelli’s "Time To Say Goodbye." The album’s crowning achievement, however, comes in the form of "Do It Again." With its bass guitar lead, flutes and the “do it again” refrain, the song is one of DJ Cleo’s best.

Sis n Jones "Set Your Mind Free"

Taken off DJ Fresh’s Definition of House Volume 2 compilation, "Set Your Mind Free" is a South African house masterpiece like no other. Produced by Sis n Jones before the untimely passing of Art Jones (one half of the duo), the song has all the features of a deep house banger: mellow chords, an orchestral section and a buoyant, semi-motivational chorus.

Kentphonik "Sunday Showers"

House trio Kentphonik left an unforgettable mark on the South African house scene. The DJ group first announced their skills behind the boards with "uWrongo," a bass-heavy song featuring Ntsiki Mazwai. "Sunday Showers," which features on their titular debut album, reworks DJ Sai and Ribatone’s track of the same name. Using xylophone taps, the song works its way into a jazz solo that soars before settling back into a laid-back Rhodes section.

Blackwhole "1000 seconds"

In 2007, Pretoria duo Blackwhole released their debut album On Another Level. The second track on the album, "1000 Seconds," went on to become a permanent fixture on dance floors across the region. From the infectious synth to the chopped vocal sample, the song brought the duo’s brand of sparse, electronic music to the mainstream and the song still remains a banger to this day.

Follow our South African House extended playlist on Apple Music.

Culture

You Need to Listen to Luvvie Ajayi's New Podcast 'Rants and Randomness'

Listen to the first episode "Real G's Move in Silence Like Wakanda" now.

Honestly, who better to host a podcast, than our favorite Nigerian social critic Luvvie Ajayi?

The blogger and media personality's new podcast Rants and Randomness, is already garnering pretty stellar reactions from listeners—It currently boasts a 5 star customer rating on iTunes. All of this is unsurprising given her knack for humor and sharp wit that we've enjoyed over the years through her popular blog Awesomely Luvvie.

In her very first episode, titled Real G's Move in Silence Like Wakanda, Luvvie rants about Valentine's Day extraness—which is a very real thing, interviews Eunique Jones Gibson, the photographer behind campaigns like "Because of them We can" and "I AM Trayvon Martin," and shares her thoughts on Black Panther—and yes, she was just as blown away as the rest of us.

She gives a full 15 minute review on the podcast, but you can read part of her review via this snippet from her blog:

My heart is full by the fact that this film feels like life-affirming in the way that cannot be taken back and it's long overdue. And the success of Black Panther should mean that more of these stories will be written and produced and distributed on a grand scale. I say SHOULD, because, well. Shit happens and whiteness loves to do dumb shit like ignore logic, all in the name of racism. More of these stories of Blackness, in all its forms, need to be shared to the world and the possibilities are endless. If nothing else Black Panther should show that our stories are profitable, amazing and necessary. We need more of them all the time in all forms. They won't all look like Black Panther, which is good. They need to be different but they need to exist.

So shoutout to Ryan Coogler and the cast who KILLED IT. And allowed us to come together in joy. I'm officially claiming citizenship of Wakanda.

We feel you, girl. Wakanda forever.

Read the full review via her blog. For more, listen and subscribe to Rants and Randomness via iTunes.

Video: OkayAfrica's 'Black Panther' Celebration at the Brooklyn Academy of Music

OkayAfrica partnered with Brooklyn Academy of Music and D'ussé for an advanced screening, followed by an exclusive Q&A with Ryan Coogler and an epic afterparty.

Ahead of Black Panther's epic release last week, OkayAfrica and Okayplayer hosted an advanced screening and Q+A between director Ryan Coogler and CEO Abiola Oke, followed by our #OkayWakanda afterparty at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

It was a jam-packed event filled with beautiful black folks, coming together to celebrate the film of the year. The Wakandan pride was strong and what's even better is that we caught all the action on camera.

We got a chance to speak with our incredibly dressed attendees live from the red carpet and after party about what the film means to them and why they came out to support it.

Check out all the action from the event and after party in the video below.


Politics

We Did It: Three Years of #FeesMustFall Finally Bears Fruit

This year's South African budget shows that struggle can make things better.

Yesterday, South African Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, presented the long-awaited 2018 budget speech. While he was heavily criticised for increasing VAT and the fuel levy, which will heavily impact the poor, students celebrated the R57 billion that will finally be set aside to fund their studies in their entirety.

It was 2015 and I was at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, along with thousands of students from all over the country, waiting to be addressed by former President Jacob Zuma about our demands for a 0% increase in fees for the following year. We were capable students, worthy of being at universities but we were also black and lacking the money to access institutions which were fast becoming financially exclusive. While our core demand was eventually met, we knew it wasn't a complete victory—what about the fees for the following year and the year after that? I still remember how days after that epic march, my ears were still ringing with the phantom sounds of struggle songs and the whizzing of rubber bullets. I don't know if South Africa or the world will ever truly know how that fight scarred so many of us.

In the years that followed, we watched as the government (which claimed it had no money to allocate to tertiary education) squander state resources time and time again. We protested relentlessly; fiercely. We were shot at by police, our campuses looked like war-zones and we wondered whether we would attain the degrees upon which our families hopes rested so heavily.

After Jacob Zuma's resignation a few days ago, I wrote about how the ANC would embark on a journey of some serious ass-kissing in the run-up to the general elections in 2019. I warned Fees Must Fall activists that if ever there were a more opportune time to act, that it was most certainly now. R57 billion rand has been allocated for the funding of tertiary education for students whose household incomes are less than or equal to R350 000 per annum. This will assist not only the poor black working class but the black "missing middle" as well. The entire duration of their degrees will be funded with the added promise of supporting students in terms of food, transport and accommodation costs, all key to making this announcement a full victory and not just a partial one.

Now does this magically solve all our problems as black students? Does it do away with the rampant inequality prevalent on all our university campuses? No, it does not. But what it is, is a step in a very hopeful direction. Of course, it remains to be seen whether this R57 billion will actually serve its purpose and not be misappropriated like so many of our state funds in the past. However, our acting President Cyril Ramaphosa, is looking to make a big splash. He's looking to garner not only our support but our lasting support, so it would stand him in good stead if he ensures his government keeps their word. He has seen (or at least read about) the destruction, the chaos, the physical and psychological damage to our young members of society following numerous Fees Must Fall protests and clashes with the police.

I will never forget that day at the Union Buildings when the police started throwing stun grenades at us and unleashing a barrage of bullets. I will never forget how a young male student stumbled towards my friend and I, his face completely drenched in blood. I will never forget how my friend and I ran out of sheer, naked fear, blindly into the busy streets of the Pretoria CBD and eventually hid ourselves behind a nearby bus stop. I was not as active on the frontlines as so many other students were, not in the least, so I can only begin to imagine the kind of trauma they still have to wrestle with till this day.

The #NationalShutDown in Cape Town on Wednesday, October 21 2015. Photo by Imraan Christian

That is why this announcement, as much as it was a string of words on a piece of paper for a lot of people, meant so much more to the rest of us. It's a sigh of relief for many black students. It means a glimmer of hope for so many black families. It's a chance to dream and to do so without inhibition. This is all we've been fighting for and it feels so damn good to allow ourselves, even for just a moment, to bask in the light that seemed so elusive back then.

Our fallen comrade Solomon Mahlangu, the young man we sang about in our struggle songs, once said that his blood would nourish the tree that would bear the fruits of freedom. He told us to continue the fight. And so to all my comrades, amandla!

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