Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Arthur Mafokate - "Kaffir" & "Oyi Oyi" (South African Kwaito Music)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases two songs by Arthur Mafokate - "Kaffir" & "Oyi Oyi. Information about Arthur Mafokate and about these songs are also provided in this post.

The content of this post is presented for religious, cultural, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thank to Arthur Mafokate for his musical legacy. Thanks also to also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these examples on YouTube.

"THERE are few more captivating music personalities in South Africa than Arthur Mafokate.

A musician, singer, producer, performer, songwriter and television personality, Arthur (or Mr Vuvuzela as he’s also known) is undeniably one of the country’s most loved individuals: At the FNB South African Music Awards, Arthur scooped the rest of the music industry to take home the award for Song of the Year. A new category, Song of the Year is voted for by the South African music listening public and the success of Arthur’s song, Oyi Oyi, in a year when the competition was strong is indicative of his enduring appeal for his hundreds of thousands of fans.

When he first came to public attention in the late 1980s, Arthur was not a singer, but a dancer who’d won the Dance Categories at a number of different competitions including the Shell Road to Fame Talent Search and the Town Talk Pantsula Dance Competition.

He also made his mark on the modelling world, having taken the Mr Soweto title and achieved runner-up status in the Mr South Africa competition.

But, in spite of these successes and potential career directions, Arthur instinctively knew he wanted to be involved in the music business. Drawing inspiration from his role model, Chicco, Arthur set about looking for a recording deal, and , after some intermittent success, he secured a deal with CCP records....

Kaffir, released in mid-1995, was a six-track EP that stamped Arthur as an artist unafraid to court controversy or state his strongly held opinions. The EP, which featured four versions of Kaffir and two of a track called Daai Ding (which railed against those who ostracize Shangaan speakers) featured the lyrics “Nee baas…don’t call me Kaffir' underpinned by a steady kwaito beat. While being banned by a few radio stations, the song caught the imagination of the country’s youth and the EP went on to sell in excess of 150 000 copies.

Kaffir also stamped Arthur as a kwaito originator and he was soon looking for other projects to tackle. He found these in New School and Abashante, both of which Arthur produced and for which he wrote material, once again showcasing his broad range of talents...

The King of Kwaito, as Arthur has been dubbed by his fans, is not one to rest on his laurels and in 1997, Arthur released the blasting force of sound that was Oyi Oyi. Solid hard-hitting kwaito tracks are the hallmark of this alum, which kicked off with the killer single, Oyi Oyi - a track blessed with a great hook and all the necessary humour and gimmicks that make kwaito songs hits."...
"Arthur Mafokate is a South African kwaito musician and producer who was at the helm of the kwaito phenomenon that rose to popularity in the music industry in the 1990s and is known as one of the initiators of the genre....

Arthur began his career as a dancer, winning various dancing competitions including the Shell Road to Fame and the Town Talk Pantsula Dance Competition.

He made waves in the music industry when he launched the controversial hit song, Kaffir, in mid-1995. While the song was banned by some radio stations, it sold 150,000 copies."

"Arthur Mafokate is a South African kwaito musician and producer. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of the Kwaito music genre.

...He was credited with creating the first kwaito hit with his 1995 song VUVUZELA".[2] While the song itself is notable musically for spearheading a new genre of music, its lyrics reflect the new freedoms that emerged after the political changes of 1994, including the implementation of a new constitution and democratic election system.[3] The title, "Kaffir," is a derogatory term used mostly in South Africa as a racial slur to refer to black people. In his song, Mafokate protests against the use of the word "kaffir," claiming that his employer (called "baas" or boss) would not like to be referred to as "bobbejaan," or baboon.

This song is significant, not only as a musical milestone, but also in terms of the lyrics. The association of kwaito with gangsters is because kwaito in itself, according to Mafokate, is “all about ghetto music.” However, as the apartheid era was coming to an end, this new song and genre represented a perfect reminder of the atrocities of the past and inspiration for the future, while stamping Mafokate’s reputation as an artist unafraid to stir up controversy or voice his strong opinions.
I don’t come from hell.
You would not like it if I called you a baboon.
Even when I try washing up, you still call me a kaffir.
Boss, don’t call me a kaffir.

These words are recurring until the end of the song, while the lyrics are repeated sequentially at various pitches, a common theme of African music. While being banned by a few radio stations, the song caught the imagination of the country’s youth and the EP went on to sell in excess of 150,000 copies and largely influenced the state of kwaito today.

... Arthur Mafokate, credited as the King of Kwaito, was recognized for his contribution to this new generation of music at the 2007 FNB South African Music Awards.[7] His victory in the ‘Song of the Year’ category, depicts the peculiar popularity of a music genre which does not analyze the historical black struggle like traditional South African music has often done. The genre of Kwaito music resulted from “the lifting of sanctions in South Africa which provided musicians with easier access to international music tracks and a radical revision of censorship, while the easing political situation allowed for greater freedom of expression. Freedom of expression meant that for the first time, the youth of South Africa could make their voices heard”.[8] ... Unlike the often apolitical characteristics of kwaito music, Mafokate does address the lower class black experience in South Africa in much of his music as is revealed in the lyrics of “Kaffir”.
Click for more for information about Kwaito music.
Both the song "Kaffir" & "Oyi Oyi" would be considered classic, old school Kwaito.

"Slang originating from other countries
Kaffir – 1790, from Arabic "kāfir" كَافِر, literally "one who does not admit the blessings of God", from kafara كَفَرَ "to cover up, conceal, deny". Non Believer. In a purely religious sense would refer to an atheist not believing in any creator or creative-force, but in Ottoman times it came to refer almost exclusively to "Christians". Used as a term of disdain referring to Dutch Colonists in Indonesia/Malaysia. Carried to the Cape of Good Hope by Dutch colonists who consequently used it to refer contemptously to the native population. Early English missionaries adopted it as an equivalent of "heathen" to refer to Bantus in South Africa (1792), from which use it came generally to mean "South African black" regardless of ethnicity, and became a term of abuse at least as early as 1934. [racial slur for] a black person (Usage now actionable on account of historical ties to Apartheid and incitement to racial hatred.)"

Example #1: Arthur Mafokate - Kaffir

solbhala Uploaded on Sep 12, 2011
classic kwaito , Kwaito , Arthur Mafokate, Kaffir, Mafokate
The comments in this YouTube discussion thread contained a considerable amount of profanity and arguments particularly about the word "kaffir" which is as offensive as what is often called "the n word". Here's one profanity free comment from that discussion thread:

sanecats, 2011
"This song is by Aurthur Mafokate, a black man. It is "satirical kwaito" music. His album "The best of Athur" (a double CD) contains all the hits like Kaffir, Daai Ding, Mnike, Die Poppe sal dans, Twalatza, President, Vuvuzela, and history making songs like Oyi Oyi, which was the first kwaito song to win a SAMA song of the year award. Why get upset @ TheMina31???"
Here's information about the SAMA awards from
"The South African Music Awards (SAMAs) are an annual award ceremony, run by the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA), where accolades are presented to members of South Africa's music industry. Winners receive a statuette called a SAMA. The event was established in 1995.... The SAMAs are the South African equivalent of the American Grammy Awards."

Example #2: Arthur Mafokate - Oyi, Oyi - Kwaito

MAURA MACIVER, Uploaded on Apr 16, 2008

Music Video Produced and Directed by Maura Maciver

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