Born to Kwaito!

So much more than just entertainment, music is very much a part of history. It provides a snapshot of popular culture at a point in time, it might be used an overt political tool, as was the case with protest songs during apartheid or a more subtle expression that fights the status quo by raising awareness around contentious issues, such as the position of women in society. It can also be pure joy when people need release, getting feet stomping, and booties swaying!

Published last month, Born to Kwaito considers all of this and more through a series of essays that examines this particular style of African music in post-apartheid South Africa

Through rigorous historical analysis as well as threads of narrative journalism Born To Kwaito interrogates issues of artistic autonomy, the politics of language in the music, and whether the music is part of a strand within the larger feminist movement in South Africa…..Born To Kwaito offers up a history of the genre from below by having conversations not only with musicians but with fans, engineers, photographers and filmmakers who bore witness to a revolution.

An essential read if you’re a music fan, but even if you’re not – Kwaito is so much more than just the beats, it’s a part of South African history, whether we realise it or not.

Born to Kwaito by Sihle Mthembu and Esinako Ndabeni is available for purchase at

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