By Anne Taylor
5 April 2014
One of the boasts South Africans are fond of repeating is about the richness of our multicultural country. A veritable melting pot. And here’s proof: South African artist and DJ Richard “Nozinja” Mthetwa, who has taken the icons of his culture and blended it with South African rave culture to create what he’s termed “Shangaan electro”.
This week, independent British record label Warp announced this week that they’d signed Nozinga, who is just about to embark on a European tour. They say:
Nozinja is the South African artist famous for creating the revolutionary dance movement dubbed “Shangaan electro”. A 21st century reboot of local folk tradition, Tsonga disco, kwaito and South African house, Nozinja has transcended these reference points to dream up an innovative and iconic Afro-futurist strain of electronic dance music. There is nothing quite like a Nozinja production: it is home-grown rave music in its purest form.
Nozinja grew up in a small village in Limpopo, home of Shangaan culture. He later moved to Soweto, where he ran cellphone repair shops. According to a compelling profile on the Guardian, Nozinja “vowed to take Shangaan music and dancing worldwide – all from the confines of a soundproofed shed in his back yard. Nozinja is now a producer, artist, video director and promoter, and over the last decade he’s made around 25 albums in the Shangaan style”.
Nozinja two-month European tour kicks off in the UK at the end of April. Paris, Berlin and Utrecht are also on the itinerary. He’ll be in Poland at the Tauron Nowa Muzyka Festival at the end of August.
What I love best, to be honest, are the jawdropping, heartbeating visuals: see Mr Nozinja’s channel on YouTube. That’s what I’m talking about!