Brenda Fassie

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AFRO Punk released the line-up for this year instalment of the festival, to a mixed reaction from South Africans who have a couple of names they also would like to add to the bill.

The three day festival returns after it made its debut on the mother land last year in Joburg. This year’s AP will be headlined by The Internet, Flying Lotus, Kaytranada, Thandiswa Mazwai, Thundercat and iconic rap clique Public Enemy. More artists will be announced as we get closer to the festival.

“The Internet, Kaytranada and Thundercat is reason enough for me to go…but my expectations were very high,” said Psykaytic Ròes on Facebook. While Thabang Magodielo said she was expecting singing sensation H.E.R, Solange, SZA and Tom Misch, but was happy with some of the artists on the line-up.

The Internet, who recently released their critically acclaimed album Hive Mind will be in Joburg this year

Last year’s AP took a huge knock, when headline act Solange said she wouldn’t make it to South Africa for the festival due to health reasons. AP organisers together with Solange then promised to have the Don’t Touch My Hair singer for this year’s instalment. But dololo Solange.

Moonchild, who has taken the country by storm is also on the line-up. Her name though, brought confusion for some people as they thought it was the international group, not our very own modern Brenda Fassie.  There was an air of disappointment from some people that it’s not the Los Angeles trio on the line-up. “Moonchild Sanelly? Andizi Jonga, Andizi,”said Lesia Obiwan-Kenobi Kalane.

The inclusion of Public Enemy left me a tad puzzled. Although the group last released an album in 2017 (Nothing Is Quick in the Desert), I’m a bit sceptical about the old guys pulling a strong performance.

Public Enemy

I was expecting to see names of Zoë Modiga, Samthing Soweto and at least Ikati Esengxoweni on this year’s line-up.  While The Brother Moves On’s performance last year was one of the stand-outs, having them back wouldn’t have ruined anything.

Other names that excited people were Youngsta CPT, Soweto band BCUC and the younger Mazwai sister, Nomisupasta who was the host at the final of Battle of the Bands final, in Tembisa last year.

People had been eagerly waiting  for this line-up to come out, that early bird tickets were sold out instantly after AP made the announcement.

 

Unlike other brands that come to the country to make a quick buck, AP made a commitment to be in the city for at least five years, so this is just the second episode of AP Joburg and this one promises to be a step-up from last year’s. Hopefully there won’t be any last minute cancellations from the artist’ part, the people would infuriated.

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He isn’t the first and sadly not the last, but eMtee’s fall off stage this past weekend highlights the toxic relationship artists have with drugs and alcohol.

Emtee was performing in front of hundreds of fans at the fifth annual Lephalale Black And White festival in Limpopo. Throughout the performance, the Roll Up hit maker is seen struggling perform, let alone stand, as he staggered on stage looking drunk and basically out of sorts.

It’s really sad seeing another talented South African artist battling drugs, in front of  our eyes for us to see. The likes of Brenda Fassie, Hugh Masekela and Kabelo Mabalane are some renowned musicians that have had their addiction battles in the public eye. Mabalane is fortunate to have seeked help before it got too late. Now a pastor, he once admitted to spending a million rand on drugs. The likes of Kelly Khumalo, Riky Rick and Trevor Gumbi have also admitted to their addictions.

The prevalence and ubiquity of drugs in the industry is scary. Some people come into the industry not having tried any drugs in their life, then fold to the pressure of being around those who are steeped in that life. Some get into drugs because they’re trying to fight off depression and anxieties that stem from industry pressures or simply, life.

In an interview on Metro FM with DJ Fresh on his breakfast show last year, comedian John Vlismas spoke about this epidemic problem in the media and creative space. “We have been hardwired to think that we are working hard in media, we don’t really. Going down a mine is working hard. Being a domestic, and working for people who are ungrateful is very hard. We think we work hard, therefore we should play hard and we have been raised in a society where this is permissive.” Vlismas himself, had issues with drug addiction before changing his lifestyle because of near-death experiences.

Unusually seen as a passageway to godly avant garde creative juices, drugs have destroyed so many talented souls. That Fassie died at 39 years of age is a scary fact which should serve as a lesson to those who come after her; to treasure and respect their gift and careers. The most common drugs are heroin, cocaine, alcohol, codeine (lean) and marijuana.

In a tweet last night as the eMtee video was trending, rapper Cassper Nyovest, gave advice to Emtee and fellow artists in the industry.  “Sometimes we are hated for trying to show niggas the light. God gave us a chance to make something of ourselves. We got families to feed niggas. Let’s not play with the gifts. Let’s not laugh at each other as well. Let’s help each other. That cool shit is done. Drop the drugs!!!” the tweet read.

I really hope eMtee’s record company, Ambitious Records will help the young artist before it’s too late. It’s one thing to embarrass yourself in front of everyone, but something else letting your child grow up without a parent.


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