Here are AFRICA IS NOW staffers’ stand-out moments from the biggest celebration of African and black culture of the year that was 2018 – all captured through the lenses of Anthony Bila and David Kambwiri.
Jean Luc Niyonzima
‘I went to Afropunk expecting to have a good time and meet some interesting people, but as a first-time attendee nothing could have prepared me for the abundance of colour, culture and charisma that is the lifeblood of the Afropunk ethos.’ ‘Afropunk Joburg was a celebration of the African and black individual in all their glory.
Everyone present understood that it was through the acknowledgement, respect and admiration of the unequivocal uniqueness of each attendee that we all could celebrate as a whole. This message was echoed through the banners boldly displayed across the event venue that stated: ‘NO SEXISM; NO RACISM; NO ABLEISM; NO AGEISM; NO HOMOPHOBIA; NO FATPHOBIA; NO TRANSPHOBIA, NO HATEFULNESS’, and even more so in the attitudes of everyone there.’
‘The second Afropunk festival held at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg was a big success. The rainy and stormy weather did not put a damper on my spirit. The people came out. They came in numbers and in their most creative and eye-catching attire. It was two days of celebration among people of colour. Two days of celebrating the African spirit alongside my brothers and sisters.’
‘The music was like fire in the cold and the artists kept it burning throughout. Even through the rain, Thandiswa Mazwai, Muzi and Kaytranada, among others, kept the fire burning and the crowd couldn’t have been better.’
‘The highlights for me included Flying Lotus and his out-of-this-world, visually unparalleled 3D performance; YoungstaCPT’s powerful commentary on the land reclamation issue currently being debated in South Africa; DJ Maphorisa’s masterful blend of Nigerian Afrobeats and South African house, Gqom; being blessed by the presence of legendary South African kwaito group Trompies; and lastly, there was no better way to end the year and usher in the new than Haitian-Canadian DJ and record producer Kaytranada’s electrifying set.’
‘A highlight was meeting the hip-hop artist Bas at the Everyday People event the night before Afropunk at Shine studios. It was great because I had missed most of his performance in Cape Town two weeks prior. Another one was Moonchild’s Sanelly’s energetic performance which included her getting off the stage and performing in the crowd. Definitely one for the books.
‘I would be doing everyone a disservice if I did not mention the Spinthrift Market which showcased items inspired by African art and textiles. My favourite brand was DOPE Store. DOPE, which is an acronym for “Designer Original Products Enterprise” is a lifestyle store concentrating on world design, music, fashion and art. It specialises in selling unique collections by various designers.’
‘Leaving the event, the only thought running through my mind was that Africa needs more celebrations of who we are like this… the world needs more celebrations like these.’