This weekend marks the 2nd year of the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival, an event that seeks to present the “multi facets of South Africa’s electronic music scene” with a weekend of performances and workshops. Judging from the promo video (below), the festival seems to be punting diversity and breaking down racial barriers under the umbrella of electronic music, which for Cape Town is generally not the most diverse crowd. However, the organizers have thankfully leaned towards a broader understanding of electronic music.

The international headline artist for this year is Richie Hawtin, a British-Canadian electronic musician and DJ who apparently spends a lot of time in Ibiza. He was also one of the major players in the Detroit techno movement (as I found out by googling him). Personally, that’s not really my thing. I am more excited about the local headliners, specifically Shangaan Electro, the high speed dance music genre which now seems to have been to reduced to one group, led by the inimitable kingpin Nozinja (the father of Shangaan Electro). Perhaps the naming of the group as Shangaan Electro is to draw a crowd who know the genre but are unfamiliar with Nozinja himself. Although who could forget this guy?

What’s remarkable about Shangaan electro is how Nozinja took a relatively obscure regional dance scene and turned it into a hip global dance genre, gobbled up by the likes of Dazed and Confused and The Fader, tearing up dancefloors in Europe and the US. As far as I can tell, this is also the first appearance of Shangaan Electro in Cape Town, so it’s a performance not to be missed.

Other notable local acts are Black Coffee (also having success with international audiences), electro hip hop don Sibot, drum ‘n bass darling Niskerone, and Card on Spokes, the electronic alter ego of Shane Cooper (Standard Bank’s Young Jazz Artist of the Year). Also, hip-hop pioneer Ready D will be doing a set with Cape rap upstart Youngsta (as seen in the video wearing shades indoors). It’s a good line-up, but hopefully next year the organizers will begin to extend the invite to electronic artists from the rest of the continent. One strong suggestion: Kenya’s Just a Band.

Further Reading

A power crisis

Andre De Ruyter, the former CEO of Eskom, has presented himself as a simple hero trying to save South Africa’s struggling power utility against corrupt forces. But this racially charged narrative is ultimately self-serving.

Cinematic universality

Fatou Cissé’s directorial debut meditates on the uncertain fate and importance of Malian cinema amidst the growing dismissiveness towards the humanities across the world.

The meanings of Heath Streak

Zimbabwean cricketing legend Heath Streak’s career mirrors many of the unresolved tensions of race and class in Zimbabwe. Yet few white Zimbabwean sporting figures are able to stir interest and conversation across the nation’s many divides.


After winning Italy’s Serie A with Napoli, Victor Osimhen has cemented his claim to being Africa’s biggest footballing icon. But is the trend of individual stardom good for sports and politics?

The magic man

Chris Blackwell’s long-awaited autobiography shows him as a romantic rogue; a risk taker whose life compass has been an open mind and gift to hear and see slightly into the future.

How to think about colonialism

Contemporary approaches to the legacy of colonialism tend to narrowly emphasize political agency as the solution to Africa’s problems. But agency is configured through historically particular relations of which we are not sole authors.

More than just a flag

South Africa’s apartheid flag has been declared hate speech by a top court. But while courts are important and their judgments matter, racism is a long and internationally entrenched social phenomenon that cannot be undone via judicial processes.

Resistance is a continuous endeavor

For more than 75 years, Palestinians have organized for a liberated future. Today, as resistance against Israeli apartheid intensifies, unity and revolutionary optimism has become the main infrastructure of struggle.