Its been a great year for Mzansi Reggae and Dancehall. We remain positive, enthusiastic and optimistic about the scene and its potential. The year was characterized by a few anti climax scenarios, missed opportunities and some events shaping the growth (or rather lack of) in the Dancehall Reggae Scene in Mzansi. We look back at these events with the hope that they will help give direction into the new calendar year. We here at MzansiReggae are into Reggae Dancehall 24/7 and it is in this spirit that we look back into 2017 at events that continue to shape the playing fields
New Online Radio Station – Lion Paw International
On Friday, 3 February 2017 at 6pm Central African Time, the Online Radio Station dedicated solely to Reggae music and culture went live, broadcasting from Johannesburg. The programme broadcasts every Friday from 6 – 9pm CAT, hosted by DJ Lion Paw and DJ Tall Fellah. Two veterans in the reggae music industry. Read more
Rasta Nation March 2017
This was the second year of this Initiative celebrating the Victory over Italy at ADWA Battle of 1896 and also a rallying call to put pressure on the government to stop marginalising and victimizing Rastafari people for their consciousness and beliefs. The successful parade took place on 01 March 2017. Preparations are well underway for the 2018 event and the date is set for 01 March 2018. Click here for events details. Full Story here
— Syd (@masidy_) January 13, 2018
Lucky Dube Double Disc Album
Gallo Record Company released a double disc album of Lucky Dube’s biggest hits titled The Times We’ve Shared. The limited commemorative album includes well known hits such as I Want to Know What Love Is, Prisoner and Remember Me. The album also includes three previously unreleased songs.
Ras Canly Scoops TSHIMA Song of The Year
He put Reggae Dancehall on the spotlight when he walked away with the Tshivenda Music Awards – TSHIMA Song of the Year. A first for modern Reggae in SA Awards history. A reggae dancehall artists scoops song of the Year for his song Vhutshilo ri tou fhana and also nominated in the Best TshiVenda Reggae Artist/Album of the Year category which was ultimately won by Shufflers for his album Ragimana. Full list of winners here.
The case of SAMA and SATMA
The South African Music Awards [SAMA], the Grammy’s of South Africa does not have a Reggae Category due to lack of entries and that Reggae is not yet commercialised, as its still message music. That did not deter some determined artists who submitted their works for consideration to be nominated. You can check the list here.
The South African Traditional Music Achievement [SATMA] awards, although open to Reggae can be quite exhausting to keep tabs with. For One, it takes a week for them to upload the list of winners on their site, and their Reggae Category winners over the last years are hardly reachable for interviews and stuff. Their music is hardly available online so….
Check out the list of nomination entries with the final winner being Black Jahman for his album Peace Teacher
African Storm Dancehall Queen
The title went to Bev representing Zim. She won same title in 2015 competing against same finalists who contended in last year and the year before. The venue was full to capacity indicating the popularity of this annual event organised by African Storm Sound. There were concerns about the lack of variety among contestants as the title seem to be rotating among previous title holders. Some fans engaged with African Storm on their FB to voice their concerns:
which prompted African Storm to Respond:
Seemingly, African Storm is open to new ways of broadening up and is encouraging everyone to enter, as there are no rules barring anyone from entering. We are convinced that even without a major sponsor they can pull it off as they have done in the last six years; by finding innovative ways and by linking and partnering with others in the playing field. Expansion is key. All they need to do now is to broaden it out systematically by introducing provincial rounds. Each province to represent their own DHQ at the finals to be held at Bassline under the banner African Storm National Dancehall Queen Competition. African Storm need not organise these regional contests but work with Soundboys from each province/region to organise the event. Some regions already have DHQ competitions albeit on low key. Bashmouth Sound in CT has hosted a DHQ event; Hott Waxx Family in Durban; Bloemfontein also hosted one, Diva Entertainment in Gaborone can host one for Botswana, and so fourth, not forgetting our tenth province Mbare. The sounds could then send their winner to Jozi for the finals. The DHQ regional finalist wins A return Ticket to Jhb to attend the event. This prize is to be sponsored by the regional organsier. African Storm could also attend some of these events as guests, if time permits, thereby helping to boost and promote the event to the build up of the main one. In this way, it takes a load off African Storm in terms of logistics and ease the funding aspect;. At the same time, the current DHQs can mobilise dancers to enter and can also be invited to perform at regional rounds as guests, to hype it even more. But then again, that is just our two cents, in good faith.
Reggae Music Indabas
We are curious to know about the outcome resolutions of these Indabas:
Reggae Social Cohesion Community Dialogue/Indaba held in Cape Town and Durban orgnaised by SARMA Western Cape, Lioness Productions in association with RUF and sponsored by the Department of Arts and Culture. The very complex theme was: The Role of Reggae Music in the Promotion of Social Cohesion and Solidarity in South Africa and the Diaspora post 1994.
RX Indaba 2017: Re-positioning Reggae Music – Unpacking the Music industry revenue streams and royalty regime. In attendance and on the panel : Ras Sipho Mantula (Reggae Vibes Soweto TV); Carlos Djedje (Founding Father of Reggae in AFrica); Zingiswa Sigaba (Founding Director of Reggae Promoters Association) Facilitaed by Mandla Maseko (Chair Person of AIRCO and Deputy Chair Person of Moshito) and a host of Industry professionals in high ranking positions.
Both Indabas had some form of sponsorship from DAC, a government organ, so its only fair that we the people get feedback no? Especially since the themes are so complex, I mean someone has to break it down for us ordinary folk and maybe explain to us why the DAC is sponsoring Indaabas and not concerts rather.Like how much does hosting an indaba costs, that government funding has to be sourced? Our artists are hungry for the stage . And People should stop complaining about he he Government does support Reggae he he.I mean here we are with two major Indabas with topics that need deciphering. Surely the same organisers are going to get funding again this year, should we expect more Indabas and Imbizos? Are these open to the public and what impact do they have on Reggae in Mzansi?
Africa Unite Family Concert
The Annual Africa Unite Family Concert 2017 organised by Bantu Media had big plans for their second staging of the event which hosted over 30 local acts and 7 artists from the rest of the continent. The 2 day grand affair was going to be headlined by Chris Martin at the Cape Town event while Winky D and Buffalo Souljah headlined the Rustenburg leg. The Cape Town event did not happen. The event was postponed until further notice from the organisers. It had to be cancelled due to some technicalities. The event in Rustenburg went ahead as planned and well attended as stated on the post event press release which pretty much summarises the objectives of he festival. Pity there was NO press release posted about the cancellation of Chris Martin show in Cape Town. No official announcement made. The excitement just died on its own with no questions asked. Poof! it disappeared just like that, there was no Chris Martin, No Africa Unite Festival in Cape Town. The flyers with Chris Martin on also vanished from their social media platforms. Such miracles happen in the reggae dancehall streets of mzansi.
And then there was the curious case of Afrika Reggae Music Awards. It also vanished after the initial social media ‘launch’. One moment we were invited to like the page, the next moment Poof! there in no staging of the event which was first scheduled for September then moved to November then nothing. No official announcement. No nominations. No nothing, just social media pages. This was supposed to have been : “The 1st Annual Afrika Reggae Music Awards that acknowledges and celebrates the outstanding contributions and achievements made by reggae artists in Africa and the diaspora. This Pan African Reggae event of international proportions will be held in high esteem, consistently embracing the theme “Respekt”. The Awards Ceremony will take place in September 2017.” Such miracles happen in the reggae dancehall streets of Mzansi.
African Storm looses Redbull Culture Clash
African Storm Sound was elected to represent Dancehall at “one of the world’s most innovative live music experience – The Redbull Culture Clash” held at Orlando Stadium in Soweto. They were pitted against Hip Hop – AKA and crew; House – DJ Tira and Crew; Afrobeat – Pato Ranking and Crew. DJ Tira took it home to Durban after a fierce battle with Hip Hop. African Storm did not win and the Reggae Dancehall massive was quietly disappointed. One fanatic took it upon herself to voice her disappointment in a tirade guised as opinion. How African Storm Sound lost the Redbull Culture Clash. You can read it here.
Speaking of Clashes, there was a lyrical clash that never was, that completely failed to climax. It was supposedly the veteran Black Dillinger pitted against relative new comers Maximum Stylez Crew – Pepsin, Fruitystar, Botanist and the other guy. Out of the blue, we woke up to foul clash vocab on our timelines. Maximum Stylez were reduced to Minimum Stylez and Fruitystar into Fruity Loops while Black Dillinger’s mouthpiece and groupie DJ Blakka kept up with the profanity that reduced him into an immature kid who just learned new terminology and just could not wait to use it. While his Master Black Dillinger reverted to pulling out his certificate that showed he performed at Sting in Jamaica. He reminded us of a retired war veteran who every now and then pulls out his only medal that he cherishes and polishes and reminisce about days gone by.
Maximum Stylez ran to the studio to record diss tracks (or was it counter diss) and came up with: Fruitystar – Jancro The Confrontation; (Fruitystar comes out blazin here. Its great to hear him stand on his own) Pepsin – Jancro The Murder ; BunPot and Botanist – Jancro The Memorial. The twelve star general, as Black Dillinger suddenly became known, was also in the studio recording some counter
expletives tracks. (Thanks to Mad Koolia for the upload) Jancro | Run Me Head | M*fuckers | Call Me Name | Mood of Killing | Enemies | And Poof! just as it suddenly appeared, it suddenly disappeared. The End.
It turned out to be a gimmick. A publicity Stunt that went limp. Both parties declined to do a live clash. Most clash fans were gearing up for an ultimate lyrical war. Offers were made to host the clash, venues were donated some went as far as offering Cash Prize. But the hype had already fizzling out. The facebook clashes that we were subjected to suddenly halted.It was back to business as usual, with Black Dillinger headlining Maximum Stylez Caribbean gig and respective parties putting a like on each other’s posts. Well for what it was worth, it piqued our interest a bit, especially clash fans. Publicity stunts usually have a scope and objective, be it to increase sales, hype a new song or create a buzz or something. They are calculated and executed with precision. Here we were left wondering what the whole point was of this clash that never was.
Mzansi Reggae Sistas Vol III
The Mzansi Reggae Sistas Vol III came out to a polite luke warm reception. It was compiled to highlight the contribution made by the sistas to the archives of Reggae and Dancehall in Mzansi. The response was dismal. We are not sure of the why but we suspect it could be the artwork,cos the content is good . Oh well. Be sure to check out this post next time you looking for female reggae artists or just press play nje.
Sunny Ocean Reggae Festival – December, Ocean View Mountain, 3Days, Cape Town
Reggae inna Park – January, Rasta Park, Lotus River, Cape Town
Jamming Reggae Fest – April, Hillcrest Quarry, Cape Town
Monwabisi Beach Reggae Legends SunSplash– November, Monwabisi Beach, Khayelitsha, Cape Town
Benjy Dread Annual Clarke’s Pary- March, Soweto
Bob Marley Earthday Celebrations – February, Ushaka Marine, Durban
Africa Unite Family Concert – December, Rustenburg
Annual Bob Marley Sports, Arts and Culture Festival – Tabak Baai Beach Resort, Cape Town
Care Reggae Festival – December, Durban
Burn Fire Night – December, Khayelitsha
International Reggae Day – July, South Africa
Reggae Campin – September Soweto
Africa Day Festival – May, George, WCape
Tswanahall Salute – November, Ramotswa, Botswana
Rasta Nation March – March, Cape Town
KZN Music Imbizo | Roots Rock Reggae Night – August, Durban
Reggae Vibes at the National Arts Festival – July, Grahamstown
Reggae Xplosion Benefit Concert – November, Pretoria
Redbull Culture Clash – July, Soweto
Home and Abroad
They Performed in SA:
Alaine – Johannesburg Arts Alive International Festival
Bennie Man – Unstoppable Tour; Cape Town and Jozi
Bushman, Jah Mason, Pampi Judah, Empress Warrior, Lucious Banda – Monwabisi Beach Reggae Legends Sunsplash
Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley – Zakifo Music Festival, Durban; Live in Joburg
Turbulance and Mega Banton – Positively Reggae South Africa Tour
Gentleman – Jammin Reggae Fest, Cape Town
They Performed Abroad
Crosby – Germany, Switzerland, France
Alcapone JJ – Reunion Island Promotional Tour
Nkulee Dube – World Tour : Europe and America
Azania Band – ReUnion Island, Cote D’Ivore, Abi Reggae Festival
Thutukani Cele and Phumi Maduna – Reggae by foot, Malawi | Live in Seychelles
Don Franco Tafari – Ethiopia
Kebra Ethiopia Sound – Mexico, Italy, France, Spain,Poland, Brazil, etc etc
We round it off by thanking one and all for the continued support throughout the year and keeping the fyah burning. We remain optimistic about the future of Reggae Dancehall inna Mzansi. We remain unapologetically Reggae.
More Works Still.
MzansiReggae | For the Love of Reggae