Kwaito is not dying, say artists

Arthur Mafokate
Arthur Mafokate

South African kwaito legends have shot down suggestions that the local breed of dance music is dying after only eight entries were made to this year's South African Music Awards (Samas).

Organisers said a total of 778 entries were received compared to last year's total of 740.

Kwaito king Arthur Mafokate said the appalling number of entries was not a reflection on the genre but it was instead a victory for them after they set out to boycott the annual music awards show.

Mafokate, who released hits such as Ka***r and Die Poppe Sal Dans in the early 1990s, said he and other kwaito veterans decided to give the awards a cold shoulder for showing the genre little respect.

He also decried the latest trend, in which most local artists only release a slew of singles instead of putting the hard work into full albums.

"We made a call years back not to support the Samas till they change, and most kwaito artists responded to the call. The kwaito category nearly collapsed last year and we had to stand up to call for artists to enter the Samas and the number increased," he said.

About the latest tendency of artists dropping singles all over the place, he said: "Singles are good for the digital market as most artists are independent; it makes it easier for them as it is less costly and less risky."

Another kwaito bigwig, Professor, said he pulled out from the Samas because the genre was given a raw deal.

"Kwaito breeds and creates new sounds and when that happens, they suddenly wanted to treat them as genres independent of kwaito. That makes artists and songs within the kwaito genre to be reduced.

"Take gqom and amapiano for instance - it is kwaito. They are trying . to kill our music."

Professor, real name Mkhonzeni Langa, has given the local scene hits such as Fingerprints, Jezebel and Imoto.

Kwaito artist Mapaputsi said: "If you kill kwaito, you kill South African hip-hop."

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