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An Intimate Look At Young Fathers' South Africa Tour [Photos]

Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers' two-city South Africa tour with LAW, Okmalumkoolkat, Mashayabhuqe KaMamba and more in photos

Photos by Sims Phakisi


Young Fathers were in South Africa last month on a two-city tour hosted by SA beats platform Weheartbeat and Cape Town’s Assembly Radio in partnership with the British Council Connect ZA and Okayafrica. The Scottish / Liberian / Nigerian trio, whose debut album DEAD won them the 2014 Mercury Prize and whose follow-up White Men Are Black Men Too is due out in April on Big Dada, were joined by fellow Edinburgh-based R&B/art-rap musician LAW (Laurn Holt) along the way from Joburg to Cape Town. In addition to putting on a pair of truly out-of-this-world shows at King Kong in JHB (which you can stream in full below) and The Assembly in CT, the group also brought their pop charm to a series of events in Soweto and Red Bull Studios in Cape Town, where they were joined by Digital Maskandi mastermind Mashayabhuqe KaMamba, electro-futuristic producer Card On Spokes and Canadian/South African singer-songwriter Zaki Ibrahim. As the group gets ready to head out on a full North American tour next month, Weheartbeat co-founder Sims Phakisi has shared with us his intimate photos from Young Fathers' travels in South Africa.

For more from Young Fathers, listen to "Shame" and "Rain Or Shine"– the first two singles off their forthcoming sophomore LP, 'White Men Are Black Men Too' (due out April 7 on Big Dada).

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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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