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South Africa's black punks rock their way on to the world stage

South Africa's black punks rock their way on to the world stage

South Africa

Punk Rock has found a home in South Africa. In Soweto, a township steeped in rich musical history and pop culture, the genre is growing fast in influence and popularity.

Local bands, TCIYF draws a crowd everytime they rehearse or perform. Fans were at first curious and then hooked.

The sound that originated in the UK, America and Australia in the mid 70’s was meant to be anti-establishment, to upset the status-quo and mainstream culture.

Punk rock is, what does it mean to me? It's great man, it's like I can express myself freely. I can be who I want, I can be myself.

TCIYF are promoting the sound and spirit of Punk Rock to South Africa’s youth.

“Punk rock is, is, what does it mean to me? It’s great man, it’s like I can express myself freely. I can be who I want, I can be myself,“said Sandile Mbatha, a member of the band.

The sound that originated in the UK, America and Australia in the mid 70’s was meant to be anti-establishment, to upset the status-quo and mainstream culture.

Punk rock is, what does it mean to me? It's great man, it's like I can express myself freely. I can be who I want, I can be myself.

Band members discovered their love for punk music while part of a group of skaters called Skate Society Soweto, seven years ago.

“I think it’s really, really influential throughout popular culture and stuff, you know. Where else, no any other music does what punk rock does,” said Letlohonolo Nxumalo, a punk rock fan.

“There seems to be a lot of interest and partaking. Like the local skaters, even the little kids who are taking part in the skating. Yeah, that means a lot to the community,” said Milicent Munthu, another fan of TCIYF.

In Soweto, a flashpoint of the anti-apartheid struggle when music was widely used to bring attention to the cause, punk rock could be considered just another form of self-expression.

But it is one that is relatively new and has resonated with the youth – mostly ‘born frees’, a generation born after apartheid ended in 1994 and has lived only under democracy, but still feel let down by the system.

“We started the band via skateboarding. We like skateboarding very fast and dangerous. So, you know you need a soundtrack to fit that. So we moved on right from the skateboarding into punk,” said one of the band’s founders and guitarists, Thula Sizwe.

The rise of TCIYF and other black punk rockers around the country, show South Africa’s already diverse music scene is still expanding and there is room.

TCIYF was named one of 10 black punk bands to listen to along with groups from Kenya, Mozambique and Zimbabwe by online pop culture platform OkayAfrica.

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