Last Saturday I found myself on the Lookout Hill of Khayelitsha. To get up there you need to jump a few steps, as some of the wooden stairs have disappeared. On top you also need to watch out, part of the balustrade is missing. Chances are that by the end of the winter more steps will be missing. People might want to use the wood to stay warm or to strengthen their shacks.
The view on top of the dune is worth the risk though, you find the township lying outstretched in front of you. Quite an amazing sight and to realise the size of it. I was there because of a hip hop festival going down at the bottom of the hill.
Not just ‘A’ hip-hop festival, but organised by Soundz of the South. In their own words: ‘A network of activists who use hip-hop and poetry to spread revolutionary messages, raise consciousness and critique neo-liberalism. The aim of the network is to facilitate and encourage a process of self-organisation against neoliberalism within communities as part of the broader struggle to emancipate us all.’
I’m pretty much a nitwit when it comes to hip-hop but do know a thing or two about neo-liberalism critique. Either way, I was happy to attend such an explosion of creativity in beats and words flowing into the two microphones that sometimes refused cooperation. Talking to one of the hip-hoppers was a man named X. (X comes from his Xhosa name Xolile, which actually means Peace). He shared it’s pretty hard to become a successful hip-hopper in Cape Town. It would be better to be in Jo’burg, but for now he would stick with the opportunities he had here.
Whether Soundz of the South will realise its S.O.S message to reform society, only time will tell. One thing I do hope is that they will get more recognition for the positive role they play and how they strengthen young people in Khayelitsha to speak their mind. And if you’re into hip-hop, check out some beats and poetry they are producing on my space (although you might need to practice your Xhosa as well).