Olwee aka Ms Party performing at Altitude Beach. Picture: Instagram
Olwee aka Ms Party performing at Altitude Beach. Picture: Instagram

Mzansi might have grooved too close to the sun

By Jamal Grootboom Time of article published Nov 19, 2021

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South Africans know how to party.

During the depths of lockdown in 2020 when everything was shut down we had lockdown parties to keep our spirits up and the moment even small gatherings were allowed again this country swung back in action at groove.

For those who still remember there was a period in 2020 where every week videos would circulate online showing groovists continuing like the pandemic was a thing of the past, with a certain cider brand always being in the mix and bottles being placed on heads while people are going yebo!

And that’s one thing about this country, we will find a way to groove and even through the various curfew restrictions, South Africa’s commitment to groove has been unshaken.

Now that going out to large crowds is allowed again under lockdown level 1 and with a third of the adult population fully vaccinated in the country it seems that South Ah - one of the nicknames Twitter has given the country - has taken grooving to the next level.

Over the weekend Hunter’s Cider hosted their Music Needs You event at Altitude Beach in Johannesburg, which saw acts such as Lelowhatsgood, Olwee aka Ms Party, Uncle Waffles and Cassper Nyovest entertain the crowd.

However, videos from the event can only be described as groove chaos at its finest.

People were dry humping each other in broad daylight, the pool became an impromptu dance floor and as Olwee said on Twitter things went left once “the big booty girlies in the MaXhosa-esque dresses came in”.

Uncle Waffles performing at Altitude Beach. Picture: Instagram

But what is it about groove that unlocks this sense of freedom for South Africans?

One of the biggest reasons most likely for especially young people in this country to find solace in going out being that at groove there’s a sense of happiness and community to escape from trials and tribulations of daily life.

We live in a country where electricity seems to become a luxury, employment is sitting at over 34% with youth unemployment is at over 74% and an overall state of dissatisfaction with the current state of the country. One can understand why escapism plays such a huge part within a South African context.

At groove you don’t stress about work, you don’t have to deal with any of the stressful parts of life at home all you have to do is be merry and let the music take you.

For queer people especially, groove is not only a place to dance at or have a drink or two. It’s a venue where you can fellowship with other people in a hopefully safe space that allows for connecting that isn’t always possible everywhere else.

And in general South Africans are a nation of people who enjoy gathering and being sociable.

When that was taken away from us during hard lockdown, you could feel the sense of relief when we're allowed to socialise and congregate again.

As such now that we’re very close to being able to groove close to our full potential of course South Ah is going to make the most of it. Especially with a fourth wave looming and the vaccination rates not looking as if it’s coming close to the 70% mark by December, this is our time to caution to the wind - responsibly.

Going to groove or being labelled a groovist is more than just being at the club the whole weekend.

It’s something that goes much deeper for South Africans since a large part of the population for the longest time in apartheid couldn’t be together and the ripple effect has led to us coming to together enjoy each other’s company while dancing being something we excel at.

Not to mention without groove most home-grown music genres and dance moves might have never made it to the mainstream. We all remember the festive season “Omunye” dropped and now amapiano has taken that spot with it a level of happiness no genre has brought to the country before it.

So while the madness and chaos of Altitude Beach might have been a case of Mzansi grooving too close to the sun, know that grooving is part of the fabric of this country that isn’t going anywhere.

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