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Video: South African Shangaan Gets A BOOST

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Located on the outskirts of Johannesburg, the South Western Township AKA Soweto is known to outsiders as the location of the Soweto Uprising of the 70s. Nowadays however, Soweto’s musical scene is beginning to surpass the area's previous political reputation through the birth of musical styles such as Kwaito in the 90s, and more recently, Shangaan electro.

Cell phone repair shop owner turned musician and record label guru, Richard "Nozinja" Mthethwa, pioneered Shangaan electro in 2005 by re-working and speeding up the tempo of traditional Shangaan music. Unlike the original sound of Shangaan that ran at around 110 BPM, with the help of synthesizers, MIDI keyboards and marimba rhythms, Shangaan electro beats hit the 180 BPM mark and create an infectious new wave sound that’s intensely quick, but surprisingly easy on the ears. These hyperactive pulsating rhythms are paired with some hip action and pantsula-inspired moves called the Xibelani dance (check the videos above and below). We can't wait to hear more from Nozinja’s label, Honest Jon’s Records.

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Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images.

Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

We speak to the inimitable Angélique Kidjo who shares some of her refreshing thoughts on Africa Day.

Today is Africa Day and while primarily a commemoration of the formation of the African Union (AU) back in 1963, it has also become an opportunity to unapologetically celebrate Africa while providing a moment for reflection on how far we've come as a continent and as a people.

With this year's theme focused on "Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19", there has never been a more important time for deep reflection on our collective present and future as Africans.

And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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