For a city I have never set foot in, Johannesburg has had an outsized influence on my life. Living in Brooklyn in the early 2010s, driven by a regular run of local magazine cover stories, visits from various folks in the Joburg music scene at times seemed like a monthly occurrence. That connection to New York media meant that, alongside Lagos, Johannesburg really became a node for early influence in the current moment of international Afropop/beats appreciation.
Yet, for such an influential city in my own career, and in the greater global African music scene, it tends to get overlooked in the global media these days (besides a current obsession with Amapiano). So in order to continue our theme of Clubbing on the Continent for this season of Africa Is a Country Radio, we turn to South African journalist Sean O’Toole, who contributed an illuminating essay to the Ten Cities book, about his experiences growing up in the Johannesburg club scene.