In celebration of Freedom Day, global streaming giant Spotify has released a documentary featuring chart-topping kwaito and amapiano musicians like Oskido, Thandiswa Mazwai, Young Stunna and Uncle Waffles.
Titled “Freedom Sounds: From Kwaito to Amapiano”, the documentary was launched at a private event in Sandton on Wednesday.
The streaming platform also took the opportunity to release two new playlists.
The documentary sees the aforementioned artists telling the layered story of how these musical genres are linked to the expression of freedom.
It also highlights the deeply significant history of kwaito and how the genre of amapiano echoes that same history.
“Our 28th year of freedom comes at a time when positivity and hope for our future are (much needed)” says Melanie Triegaardt, Spotify’s head of music strategy and operations in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Our music culture and creative community continue to serve as a source of relief, pride, escape, opportunity, and hope for our future.”undefined
“With this documentary, we want to showcase the importance of the creative community in freedom of expression and showcase the similarities and differences of eras seen through music culture in South Africa,” she adds.
The company said: “Directed by Chris Kets and Lindiwe Mngxitama, the documentary tells the evolutionary story of amapiano by tracing it back from kwaito, which originated from Soweto and coincided with Nelson Mandela’s inauguration.
“Kwaito was birthed during the post-apartheid zeitgeist, quickly establishing itself as a mainstream genre and, for many, it epitomised the sound of freedom in South African streets, with musicians of colour now able to access the industry and find global recognition.”
Spotify’s two new playlists, “Sound of Freedom” and “Kwaito Classics”, each contain hit tracks by South African musical icons that pay homage to the sounds of South Africa’s streets.
The company revealed some interesting stats about listenership on the platform.
Kwaito has fans across the board, with listeners spanning 18 to 44 years of age.
Amapiano’s listenership is almost half Gen Zers, with 44% of listeners being between 18 and 24.
Outside of South Africa, kwaito, gqom, and South African house/dance all have huge audiences in Germany.
Consistent chart-topper DJ Maphorisa is the top artist on Spotify in the amapiano genre.