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Amapiano Pioneer DJ Stokie Shares His Journey In New Documentary ‘iPiano eSoweto: The DJ Stokie Story’

Pioneering amapiano deejay, Stokie's newly released documentary 'iPiano eSoweto' details his musical journey through his lens and that of friends, peers and fans.

DJ Stokie is often credited as one of the first few deejays to play and popularise amapiano in Soweto back in the popular genre's burgeoning days.

The 24-minute documentary titled iPiano eSoweto, named after his 2020 song of the same name, uncovers Stokie's journey and the role he played on amapiano's rise from a township genre to a worldwide phenomenon.

"I think for me it's a takeover, man. People are dancing to amapiano… So Stokie is a game changer" are the words that open the documentary. They best describe the genre's current status and Stokie's impact on its growth.

On iPiano eSoweto, Stokie's wife and deejay friends recount his transition from being a vinyl-playing deep house deejay to building a reputation for playing "exclusive" or "private school" 'piano. They also share some of their earliest memories, going around townships for shows and getting paid as little as R40 (less than $3).

The documentary prominently features appearances from fans, who highly praise Stokie, one even enthusiastically expresses, "He's one of the amapiano gods."

Affectionately known as the "Kasi (township) Hero", DJ Stokie is mostly known for his songs "Dlala Stokie", "Amainternational", "Ipiano e'Soweto" and "Superman". The latter has reached over two million views on YouTube.

While many of the genre's pioneers have been described as, and accused of being "media-shy", Stokie continues to tell his story comfortably in his birthright language of IsiZulu, not only in his music but in interviews and other outlets. Previously, Stokie did so on Ballantine's Stay True Cities: South Africa – A Tale of Two Cities, alongside DBN Gogo.

Stokie's second studio album, My Journey, was released in December 2020 and features longtime friend and collaborator Kabza De Small, DJ Maphorisa (and his alter ego Madumane), Sha Sha, Focalistic, Daliwonga and more. The former appears and is credited as a producer on 13 of the 23 tracks.

iPiano eSoweto premiered on MTV Base (DSTV channel 322) on June 16, a public holiday recognised as Youth Day in South Africa, and is also available to watch on DJ Stokie's YouTube channel.

iPiano eSoweto: DJ Stokie Story

Photo: Aisha Asamany

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