A musical trip through southern Africa to the tunes of the post-apartheid generation
Kwaito music originated in the 1950’s in the dusty streets of South Africa’s townships such as Sophiatown, Pimville, Alexandra and subsequently in Soweto. It is inseparable from the Pantsula culture of the rebellious youth gangs during the Apartheid regime. The gangs of the black ghettos developed a variety of competing artistic life styles which they expressed by means of dress, music and dance. Since there was no money for musical instruments or for extravagant costumes, they concentrated on their dancing and singing skills and, turning the streets into their stage, they resolved their rivalries through the medium and dance and song. Currently – almost fifty years later - Kwaito culture is experiencing a renaissance in a manner completely inconceivable in those days.
When Eric Sell a. k. a. EES“ drives around the streets of Windhoek a crowd of cheering and dancing fans immediately mobs the clattering pale blue VW-bus of this Namibian musician who was born a mere 26 years ago. Eric is white, African and the only white star of Kwaito, the music of the Namibian slums and currently the most trendy music in southern Africa.
As little as six to seven years ago, it was quite difficult for a white African to make Kwaito music. His vision of all Namibians irrespective of skin colour living in harmonious coexistence with each other met with fierce “white” opposition. Friendships foundered, he was abused as „nigger-lover“ and was even sued. He used his songs to revile his adversaries. Today, however, he has tired of such hate slogans: “This aggressive boy is not Eric Sell”, the musician says of himself. “Let the others go on writing their Agro-songs. I am far too laid back, all I want to do is to make „Yes-Ja!“ feel-good dance music”.