Carving out new identities - The subversion of mainstream identities through representations in South African music
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South Africa is a country in transition. New musical genres have been created that South Africans can identify with and that assist them in shaping new forms of national identities. In a country where political changes imply a renegotiation of social relations and a redefinition of national identities, music has a significant role to play. South African academic Angela Impey writes “All South African popular musics have been fashioned out of a creative blend of indigenous musical practices and western influences, and have been implicated in, and expressive of, broader socio-political transformations in national cultural identity. ” This to me sums up the topic of this paper. I explore three genres of South African music: Afro-pop, Kwaito, and Zef-Side. I discuss how each of these genres works towards constructing South African identities, carving out new spaces of belonging in a relatively young democracy. In the process I analyse representations in the works of various South African musicians within these musical genres.