Afropunk! festival in Johannesburg 2019

02.01.2019 | By ELENA LONGARI

Since its debut in 2005 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Afropunk festival has been establishing its name all over the world, having become a landmark for performers and artists of black culture. The festival is held across the end of the year and the beginning of the new year and aims at representing and giving space to all those voices that don’t necessarily fall in the hip/hop, rap and soul categories.

Happening  from the 30th to the 31st of December, Afropunk! Festival in Johannesburg is one of the cities where this cultural movement has found its expressions: London, Paris, Brooklyn and Atlanta are the other stages to check out.

But what is the motto behind the Afropunk! Festival?

Afro: as in, born of African spirit and heritage; see also black (not always), see also rhythm and color, see also other, see also underdog.

Punk: as in, rebel, opposing the simple route, imbued with a DIY ethic, looking forward with simplicity, rawness and open curiosity; see also other, see also underdog.

AFROPUNK is defining culture by the collective creative actions of the individual and the group. It is 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.


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Afropunk festival Johannesburg line-up

Afropunk festival Johannesburg line-up for 2019 includes sounds from DJ Maphorisa, the performer/producer born and raised in Soshanguve, Pretoria with his interpretation of influences from across the continent and the world. Also in the line-up of music performances DJ coco.em with her afro electronic music, afro house, kuduro and Lingala house.

On the rap front Afropunk festival Joburg sees Big Freedia, aka the Queen of Bounce, who you might have seen in 2016 Beyoncé single ‘Formation’, but she has collaborated with many other artists, including Sia, Diplo and Mannie Fresh.


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Also on the menu, one of South Africa’s most influential artists, Thandishwa: her sound is all about reviving and reinterpreting South African Jazz and protest anthems from the 1950s-60s. Thandishwa has already performed on some of the most prestigious stages worldwide, including the FIFA World Cup Ceremony in 2010 and her contemporary sound has been heard even at the Cannes Film Festival. .


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Other names include Thundercat, The Internet, Faka, BCUC and Dope Saint Jude. But one thing Afropunk is for sure not short of is the arrays of eccentric looks to admire. 

Afropunk festival Johannesburg’s best looks

Nothing like Coachella or the Burning Man. During this celebration of African and black culture the golden rule of course of putting an outfit together starts indeed from representing and reflecting the traditions, colours and styles that may risk to be under represented in modern society.


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