Nothing South African about that

By Siyabonga Dube

If being fake was a crime then a very vast majority of people in our country would be in jail.

The South African music industry has grown very rapidly in past few years and the emerging of more genres on to the scene has been a total success. This is very lovely but has western influence and international figures re-wrote the type of content one should sing about?

The music in our country has changed, it lacks value or its content doesn’t have that much of weight. Hip hop mainly has grown to be the coolest or hippest sound all teens can nod their head too, but is it only just the beat that matters or the actual content been sung about have to be considered to.

One of the biggest genre’s in South Africa back in the day was Kwaito which included the likes of the late Brenda Fassie, Arthur Mafokate, Mdu and the loved Mandoza. The kwaito generation really shaped a lot of music that we see today. It was one of the building blocks of music South Africa.

The type of content these individuals use to talk about was based on everyday life issues, what was going on around them and the society they lived in. Kwaito became big because it was a relatable source of sound. Does Hip Hop South Africa have the same content? As it has adopted the international style of singing about “Cash, Women and Drugs “as it’s the popular thing now. To some this is really nice but to critics of real music it a sad case of not being original. This is slowly sinking into the South African music industry.

The average teen in current times is likely to be easily influenced by friends and society which also includes music he or she listens to. The feed off content talking about drugs, girls or money can be seen as a discredit or for some this can be what they really need. The main idea usually passed in music today is get a lot of money and smoke a lot of drugs and sleep around because it’s “cool”.  

This not being the real story one can talk about in their music, as some of these musician talk about stuff that they want to happen in their lives. This being a trend of how South African musicians are slowly tweaking themselves into talking about stuff that really isn’t them but doing this just for sales and make a living but who is to blame, is it international artists or is it us the fans who have been comparing what we have to the international stage.

Music should be much more than just something that tickles your ears or gets you moving while not getting the actual meaning of the song. Nice beats, nice hooks and corny verses shouldn’t be championed as the best of what our country has to offer. As music is much more than that and must have a much more in depth message to it.