Sho Madjozi. Picture: Garth von Glehn

Will Sho Madjozi be twerking on stage while Kaytranada plays again? Matthew Morgan bursts into laughter then quickly exclaims: “I was there! I mean it’s Sho Madjozi, I was not surprised at all.”

The CEO and co-founder of Afropunk is giggling about that hilarious moment when XiTsonga rapper, Sho Madjozi – who had performed at Afropunk Brooklyn in the US earlier this year – thought to liven up the DJ set of American producer, Kaytranada, by hopping onto the stage for a slight twerk.

I ask Morgan if we should expect a similar stage occurrence at ConHill when the second annual Afropunk Joburg rolls around on December 30
and 31?

“I hope so,” he laughs again.

“The nature of the way that the acts we put together come together – anything can happen.” Anything including the unexpected. Last year, Solange was billed as the headliner of the inaugural Joburg edition. 

Three days before the festival, she took to Instagram to announce she would not be coming as she had been “quietly treating, and working through an Autonomic Disorder” for five months.

She promised to come back and perform at Afropunk Joburg but, Morgan says, that won’t be this year. “I had a wonderful, personal conversation with her and was very pleased that she had taken the time to speak, personally, about how important this was to her,” Morgan explains. “And she will fulfil her
commitment and so will we. I hope she’s feeling better because that’s most important. I appreciate her and she will be back with us at some stage.

I can’t say too much but she will definitely be back.”

Ultimately, Afropunk – which was inspired by a 2005 documentary about black punks – is about more than just music. The fest draws crowds that believe themselves to be a part of the alternative. 

From the general public to many a celebrity, they come to enjoy the art and fashion market, the panel discussions, the AP Army and the chance to get snapped by a celebrity photographer.

Anyone can join the Army and do good deeds around Johannesburg in exchange for a free ticket. Yes, this has been happening long before Global Citizen came to Soweto. And the Solutions Sessions, which take place on December 28 and 29 at ConHill, are talkshops were pertinent issues like gender, sexuality, the diaspora, self-care and wellness will be discussed.

The likes of LGBTI activists, Thokozani Ndaba, will share as will the Mayor of SA Street Culture, Frypan Mfula, and Black Lives Matter global network founders, Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors.

Morgan says these aspects of Afropunk are integral. “The Solutions Sessions is about coming up with solutions to problems and conversations that we need
to have and share in ways that we haven’t in the past. That allows us to move on and enjoy ourselves both mentally and physically, even if the conversations are a little tough.”

He continues: “The Army has been around for much longer than the Solutions Sessions have and the Army is all about giving back to our community. How can we enjoy ourselves collectively while putting good vibrations back into our community and supporting one another?”

This year, the focus is less on big-name acts hitting the stage and more of a mood-curated list. You can look forward to seeing Americas Thundercat, Flying Lotus, The Internet and Public Enemy. You can also see our own DJ Ready D, FAKA, Maphorisa, Kwesta, YoungstaCPT, Dope Saint Jude, BCUC and
Thandiswa.

Morgan says: “This year, we have had line-up changes and moved things around slightly, we’ve created a new deck area which I hope people
will enjoy. We’ve moved the market area and the food around. Musically, we brought acts that are a little less familiar to people but I think once people experience them, they will be even more excited.”

Afropunk Joburg takes place at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg on December 30 and 31. Visit afropunkfest.com/johannesburg for more info.

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