The 20 Best South African Songs of the Month

Featuring 25K, Moonchild Sanelly, Stiff Pap, Sio, Ayanda Jiya, etc.

Our list of the best South African songs of the month includes new singles that dropped in August, alongside those that were highlighted by getting the visual treatment.

Check out our selections below, which feature 25K, Moonchild Sanelly, Stiff Pap, Sio, Ayanda Jiya, among others.

The list is in no particular order.

Follow our MZANSI HEAT playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Stiff Pap "Mkokotelo"

Arguably the strongest song on Stiff Pap's new EP Stiff Pap Radio, "Mkokotelo," just like its siblings, references the past while looking into the future and living in the present. Kwaito, house and electro merge perfectly, met halfway by engaging storytelling from the duo's rapper Ayema Problem.

Lunatik x  Moonchild Sanelly "Dlala"

"Dlala" feels like summer. Moonchild Sanelly has a knack for kwaito, and meets the producer Lunatik halfway. She laces the instrumental with kwaito-esque verses and hook.

​25K "Culture Vulture Remix" (ft. Emtee and AKA)

25K's street hit gets treated to expensive verses from SA hip-hop royalty, AKA and Emtee, and it's lovely.

Just G, Ranks ATM & Sims (ft. Emtee) "Where Would I Be?"

An introspective opening song to ATM members Just G, Ranks ATM and Sims' collective mixtape 3 Way, "Where Would I Be?" boasts a strong hook from Emtee and focused rapping from the trio over a soulful trap beat by Ruff.

​Solo "Promises" (ft. Kwesta)

Solo and Kwesta share a kwaito instrumental that teleports you straight to the golden era of kwaito—the 90s and early 2000s.

​Camagwini "Dubai"

Camagwini returns after a five-year hiatus sharp as ever. On "Dubai," she blends maskandi, Afro-soul and rock and, reflects on making a questionable decision when she chose money over love.

​Tumi Tladi "Burning Out" (ft. Thabsie)

A feel-good tune that references South Africa's 80s' bubblegum pop music, "Burning Out" is both ratchet and sophisticated.

Rick Jade "Moenie Worry" (ft. Forcalistic)

Priddy Ugly and Bontle Modiselle rope in Forcalistic for "Moenie Worry," a song from their joint album as Rick Jade. Old school kwaito and amapiano lend influence to the dynamic and jolly standout song.

​Manu WorldStar "Young African Story"

For this joyful reflection on his journey, Manu WorldStar floats without any effort above open-ended production from Ganja Beats. "Young African Story" is the title track on Manu WorldStar's new EP of the same title. Peep it.

​DJ Kaymoworld ft. 25K, Espiquet and Reason "The Come Up"

Solid collaboration curated by DJ Kaymoworld. Reason and Espiquet spit playful potent bars, while 25K seals it with a hook that demands your attention.

Ami Faku "Inde Lendlela"

Ami Faku releases a motivational ballad from her upcoming debut album Imali. "Inde Lendlela" lets you know that you are not alone in your struggles, the road is long by nature.

​Samthing Soweto x Makhafula Vilakazi "Omama Bomthandazo"

"Omama Bomthandazo" is a song by Samthing Soweto and poet Makhafula Vilakazi, which the artists released to commemorate Women's Day (August 9) and Women's Month (August) in South Africa. They sing praises to black mothers who sacrifice a lot of their lives for the better of their kids.

​Sio "could You"

One of many great tunes from Sio's debut album, a selection of electronic soul tunes in which Sio shares her views and experiences on love and life.

​Ayanda Jiya "Lover 4 Life"

An outstanding R&B-rap collaboration between R&B artist Ayanda Jiya and Stogie T that celebrates love's great moments.

​PHFAT "Feeding Time"

"Feeding Time" showcases breath-taking production from Narch making for a song that troubles your eardrum, but you'll love it.

​Kwesta (ft. YoungstaCPT) "Live from Kathlehong"

Kwesta and YoungstaCPT trade heartfelt verses over a deep bassline which contributes to the song's intensity and emotion.

​YoungstaCPT "Old Kaapie"

YoungstaCPT highlights "Old Kaapie" from his album 3T as a single by giving it the visual treatment. "Old Kaapie" preaches resilience to South Africa's coloured community. The video was shot in Eldorado Park, Joburg and showcases coloured life in the neighborhood.

​Clement and King Monada "Good Life"

Clement and King Monada croon with the aid of autotune over a beat that marries South African house, trap and pop on their collaborative single "Good Life."

Kabza De Small "Jimmy Dludlu"

Kabza De Small samples jazz legend Jimmy Dludlu's trademark guitar and tosses it in playful drums and the customary amapiano pads.

​Sho Madjozi "John Cena"

Sho Madjozi introduced an unreleased single titled "John Cena" during her viral performance on A COLORS SHOW. It's Sho Madjozi performing lyrical acrobats over a gqom beat, as usual.

Follow our MZANSI HEAT playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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