Johannesburg

Afropunk Joburg 2017

18 May 2017
Electro-artist Mashayabhuqe KaMamba performing at the Afropunk launch

Usually the New Year holidays are deathly quiet in Joburg with the city's residents decamping to the coast to party and relax. That is all set to change in 2017 however with the arrival of the first Afropunk festival, taking place at the South African heritage landmark Constitution Hill over the New Year weekend.

With a world class lineup of the hottest names in black alternative music Afropunk Joburg 2017 promises to be one of the most exciting music events that Joburg has hosted in recent years. International headline acts include Solange, Anderson Paak and Laura Mvula, while representing South Africa are some of the biggest names in the local alternative music scene such as The Brother Moves On, Spoek Mathambo, Nakhane Toure, Thandiswa Mazwai, Black Motion and Urban Village.

Joburg takes a coveted spot alongside New York, London, Paris and Atlanta as one of the cities hosting the cult Afropunk festival in 2017. Described by the New York Times as “the most multicultural festival in the US”.

“For us, in terms of what we stand for – constitutionalism, democracy, human rights – this festival is ideal,” says Constitution Hill CEO Dawn Robertson. “It completely aligns with what we stand for as custodians of South Africa’s constitutional history. You probably could not find a better link.”

The announcement of the festival on a chilly night in May was met with performances from some of the most exciting and alternative new music acts on the Joburg scene such as Sowetan skate punk band TCIYF and Joburg's many Afropunks turned out in their numbers. Afropunk founders Matthew Morgan and Jocelyn Cooper say they chose South Africa as the first African venue because of “the Constitution, the possibilities, the beauty, the creativity” adding that “Activism is central to Afropunk, which is why Constitution Hill is so paramount.”

The Afropunk movement grew from a documentary Morgan produced in 2003 about black American punks. Working as a music executive, Morgan recognised that the indie punk and hardcore scene had a powerful appeal beyond its traditionally Caucasian audience. The first Afropunk festival was held in New York in 2005 and the Afropunk movement, which encompasses music festivals and the online Afropunk community and magazine, has since become "synonymous with open-minded, non-conforming and an unconventional community" that is centred around black alternative music and fashion cultures.

Afropunk 2017 takes place on Dec 30 and 31 at Constitution Hill.
Tickets cost R600 for one day, R900 for a weekend pass and are available on webtickets. Check out the official Afropunk Joburg website here and follow Afropunk on Facebook here.

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