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4 music videos that show the realities of everyday South Africa

by: Sabelo Mkhabela - 18 May 2017

A lot is going on in South Africa, and some musicians are expressing their opinions on it. Below is a list of music videos that are reflective of the lived realities of South Africans – from sexual harassment in public transport, crime in townships, and the state of our government.

Mashayabhuqe KaMamba – “KwaDukuza”

The “KwaDukuza” video may as well have been named “Men Are Trash”. The video shows the brutality of taxi violence – how commuters find themselves in the middle of taxi drivers’ and owners’ fights, sometimes leading to them being casualties. It also shows how traumatic an experience it is commuting as a black woman – the catcalling and the groping. The video is straight to the point, and is great though simplistic, thanks to virtuoso filmmaker Lebogang Rasethaba’s skills.


Freshly Ground – “Banana Republic”

South Africans are fed up with poor governance, and it shows through all the protests taking place every now and then all over the country. On their latest song, “Banana Republic”, Freshly Ground have some words for the president:

“All your people dying in freedom/ Suffering a profound lack of leading/ Are you even there when we call? Are you a human, man?/ Full of lies, can’t believe what I’m hearing/ From your lips a river of scheming/ Poisoning all the water we’re drinking/ Are we good to go?”

On the video, you’ll see snapshots of all the shocking political events that have taken place in the past few years – Rhodes Must Fall, Marikana, fights in parliament,and the #RememberKhwezi silent protest, among other events. This is juxtaposed with images of President Jacob Zuma being calm as usual, or cracking up in laughter. Seeing all these events shows just how bad things are in the country, and it was only a matter of time a music video of this kind was made.

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 Kanyi – “Ngqangqa”

Kanyi is one of the best storytellers in South African rap. And her videos always add to the song’s narrative (think “Ingoma”, “Ungalibali”). On her latest video, the Cape Town-based rapper gives a visual representation to the story of a woman called “Ngqangqa”. The storytelling on the song itself is intricate – she talks of a woman who’s living a life of organised crime. In the video, which plays out like a short film, Ngqangqa’s sinister life is portrayed in a subtle way. We see her exchanging parcels with a trio of women, who dress to kill and live like there’s no tomorrow. The video shows some forms of crime in South African townships, and also gives us a screenshot of the depression and anxiety that comes with living that life, as Ngqangqa, even though a boss lady, looks unhappy behind closed doors.

Shane Eagle – “Julia”

Shane Eagle is one of the most promising lyricists in South Africa. On his latest single, “Julia”, the 20-year-old rapper spits some reality raps over a smooth instrumental. The song is littered with quotables about being a youth in South Africa:

“I try to picture my life if I wasn’t a rapper from start/ Maybe college, run and get myself a lil diploma/ I know niggas that have got it they still chilling on the corner.”

“Something’s in the closet, never had a doctorate/ Mr President got the money in his pockets/ My people starving…”

“Julia” is pleasing to the ear, and the video is fitting, showing snapshots of squatter camps, which are a reality to most South Africans. And the monochrome colour scheme of those shots only help to intensify the message he is trying to get across: “We want the peace, the freedom, on top of the cheese.”


What other music videos show the realities of South Africa in 2017? Let us know in the comments section below.