South African music
South African music in FIVE great documentaries. Image: File

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South African music in FIVE great documentaries

South African music can be difficult to explain. Here are five great documentaries for unique music, from Punk in Africa to MUTANT.

South African music
South African music in FIVE great documentaries. Image: File

South African music is difficult to define: we’ve got rhythm, everything from Amapiano grooves to bands like The Parlotones. How would you describe the local music scene to someone using five documentaries?

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Well, like this!

Here is a look at what local music is like in five documentaries, including newly-released This is Amapiano.

1. MUTANT

MUTANT is an intimate documentary that looks at the life and music of South African star Isaac Mutant. The documentary explores themes like what it means to be South African, and what makes the Kaapse Hip-Hop scene move.

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Directed by Lebogang Rasethaba and Nthato Mokgata (Spoek Mathambo), MUTANT is a viewing experience you’ll remember – and a perfect explanation of what makes the MUTANT tick.

MUTANT YouTube Trailer

2. PUNK IN AFRICA

Punk in Africa is a 2012 documentary that looks at a uniquely African spin on an international music genre: punk.

Directed by Deon Maas and Keith Jones, the documentary contains some bands that many South Africans will remember (and many others still have to know!).

If you like noise and electric guitars, this is one to watch.

Punk in Africa YouTube Trailer

3. FREEDOM SOUNDS: FROM KWAITO TO AMAPIANO

Freedom Sounds: From Kwaito to Amapiano is a documentary by Spotify.

The 2022 documentary movie looks at the history of local music, including several of the country’s most prolific genres. Musicians like Oskido and Thandiswa Mazwai are featured in this one – and they’re not the only ones.

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Need to explain Amapiano or Kwaito’s history?

This should help!

Freedom Sounds YouTube Trailer

4. BRENDA FASSIE: NOT A BAD GIRL

Brenda Fassie was one of the country’s most beloved musicians, and this movie is a clear and candid look at her career and life. Filmed and released back in 1997, you can find the eponymous documentary x available on Showmax.

What’s the first Brenda Fassie song that comes to mind?

5. THIS IS AMAPIANO (BBC AFRICA)

A newly-released documentary by BBC Africa looks at one of the fastest growing genres on the international stage: amapiano.

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If you need to tell someone what all the fuss is about, this documentary is a quick look at a broad topic.

Worth it!

YouTube Trailer (This Is Amapiano)

READ MORE ARTICLES BY ALEX COYNE