Evolution of South African Music Industry



South Africa as the name imply is a region in Africa from the southern geographical region, over time the country has continued with it’s rich music and cultural diversity and remains a region popular for her unique musical heritage starting from times of Apartheid rule in South Africa.

Over the years, no doubt, S.A have continued to create a global impact in the World’s entertainment industry. This rich musical heritage of the south Africans has continued to grow from strenght to strenght, starting from the old days up till this very moment this moment as recorded in this report. This is because of the fact that music remains an integral part of citizens daily life.

South Africa a multi-ethnic and cultural society made up of different sub groups from the Sotho, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda lineages, Nguni, and also
the Whites and Asians.

Furthermore, the country has up to eleven (11) official languages with English inclusive, so also varieties of other Afrikaans, Bantu, as well as Dutch. Not forgetting other indigenous languages. Now we can’t talk of South African music without the days of Apartheid. This is as a result of the then Government of South Africa who forced citizens to live separately according to ethnic groups. This of course, forced musicians to write songs on their different cultural groups and living others to sing or compose music for their respective ethnic or tribal groups.

To add more to South Africa music, let’s now go to some of their musical histories starting with Marabi, which was primarily a keyboard style of play linked to the 1920s, 40s and even the 30s which were more of jazz, with further instruments like guitar and banjo mixing up as a style of play for the Marabi. In the 50s again, the South African music brought something new and this time Kwela a type of pop music with same jazz history as the Marabi.

Kwela was adopted in various towns of South Africa as of the time of Apartheid. The kwela was formed by a number of musicians, especially from the Malawian immigrants who settled in south Africa and combined it with local sounds. Kwela had Two meanings of which the first was get on board and other one meant getting onto the police vans as popularly called “kwela kwela” by people. Noteable musicians who contributed to the “kwela” musical style were Spokes Mashiyane, Kippie Moekesti, and wonderful groups like the Manhattan Brothers and Skylarks. Most times when the “kwela” performers where arrested as that was still the Apartheid times, they always continued to perform aimds all odds.

Thereafter during the 1960s the then white Government nationalist forced many individuals of sophiatown to township out sketch of Johannesburg which left many musicians to compose and have their careers away from home. After which Mbaqanga was introduced in the 1960s, this particular musical style was popular from the 60s to 1980s. This was a time of Apartheid rule in South A. The Mbaqanga was also influenced by the kwela music and goes with same style of Marabi.

As the Apartheid officially ended in 1994, a new musical style emerged Kwaito emerged. The word “kwaito” was derived from the word kwaai, meaning angry in English. Great musical artists from south Africa who influenced “kwaito” known as Miriam Makeba and Brenda Fassie.

Updated on March 24, 2020 at 7:56 PM and categorized under Music Trends

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