Same music, different people

By Pheladi Sethusa and Shandukani Mulaudzi

Pulling the short straw is something that happens a few times in your life. Sometimes you may be lucky and you won’t, this is life.

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ShortStraw

For the five man band ShortStraw, it was about the beginning of their career. They started out playing for no one then moved on to crowds of about 40 and now, they have two shows on the best Oppikoppi stages.

In an interview with the band, we told them of our sad racist encounter the night before.

“That’s fucking bullshit. It’s fucking 2013 you can only laugh at people who still think that way,” said Russel, bass player for ShortStraw.

Russel told Wits Vuvuzela that one of the first black bands to play at Oppi was Kwani Experience and that was what sparked a cultural change at Oppi.

“Black bands used to be apprehensive. But once they played and were received well they changed their minds about the fest.”

Tom added that music is an experience for everyone and something that should bring all people together.

After pulling the short straw on day one, we were on a mission to find some diversity at Oppikoppi.

Traditional music moves

FIRST OPPI: Bongeziwe Mabandla plays his first set at the festival. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

FIRST OPPI: Bongeziwe Mabandla plays his first set at the festival. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

The Ray-Ban stage, where the incident happened the night before was where we found a new enlightening Oppi experience.

The act was, Bongeziwe Mabandla, who enchanted the crowd with his sweet traditional melodies in isiXhosa. His sound was one we cannot put our finger on but it made us feel like we were watching a male Thandiswa Mazwai.

The crowd, representative of South Africa’s overrated rainbow nation, more than half of whom did not understand the lyrics, stood and danced along with him.

People lost their minds when he jumped off the stage into the crowd and beckoned him to jump onto the table, which he did without protest.

Oppi’s cultural shift

AO JIKA: Mi Casa's frontman, J Something setting the stage alight. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

AO JIKA: Mi Casa’s frontman, J Something setting the stage alight. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

Bittereinder, who are veterans to Oppi said the festival has gotten bigger and better with more variety in music than ever before.

Jaco van der Merwe, rapper in three man band used the Vusi Mahlasela tribute last year as an example of Oppi’s diversity.

Mi Casa is a great example of diversity, it’s just beautiful. They also have random black people at our show, who have no idea what we are saying, but they jam anyway,” Jaco chuckled.

Later that evening we jammed to crowd favourites Zakes Bantwini and MiCasa. At these performances, the crowds were just as diverse and responsive. As J’Something asked us to jika, we turned and saw different people jika along with him.

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