Africa’s first Afropunk Festival lived up to its billing


Africa's first Afropunk Festival lived up to its billing

South Africa’s city of Johannesburg is the first country in Africa to host the Afro Punk Festival. Johannesburg is the fifth city to host the annual festival after Paris, London, Atlanta and New York.

The festival is a celebration of alternative black culture. According to BBC, the festival has for years been a place where Africans in the diaspora can explore their heritage.

The festival was first held in New York in 2005 by people who felt marginalised by both mainstream, black and pop cultures. They ultimately drew their inspiration from the rebellious spirit of punk.

The organisers in a statement said that “the move to Johannesburg is a natural fit in line with Afro Punk’s desire to make connections throughout diaspora, creating bonds between those with a shared mindset.”

Thousands of people came out dressed in unique and colourful attire that kept in line with themes of the festival.

The  Afropunk Fest site defines ‘Afropunk’ as a “a safe place, a blank space to freak out in, to construct a new reality, to live your life as you see fit, while making sense of the world around you.”

The festival was first held in Brooklyn, New York at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2005.

According to founders Matthew Morgan and Jocelyn Cooper, Afropunk began as a documentary with the aspect of  the festival beginning in 2003.

The founders, during an interview with online magazine Mass Appeal in 2017 said the idea that they had for the festival was to connect people and promote young artistes.

Thousands who turned up were met with pouring rain and hail that frustrated the avid festival goers due to the muddy grounds. However the sun came out on the second day cheering up everyone’s spirits.

International artiste Solange Knowles was expected to be the festival’s main act but had to cancel due to sickness. According to BBC, South African DJ Cleo was a no show as well stating that local artistes “were not being treated with the same respect as international artistes.”

Festival goers nevertheless enjoyed acts from international acts such as Laura Mvula, American Anderson .Paak and local artistes Kwaito star Thebe and Albert Ibokwe Khoza.

 

A man takes part in the Annual Afropunk Music festival in the borough of Brooklyn in New York, U.S., August 27, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
A woman takes part in the Annual Afropunk Music festival in the borough of Brooklyn in New York, U.S., August 27, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

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