Amapiano DJ shares insights on how music can promote SA as a tourism destination

Amapiano DJ Stanky playing a set at a Durban nightclub. Picture: Instagram

Amapiano DJ Stanky playing a set at a Durban nightclub. Picture: Instagram

Published Jun 3, 2024


Tourism is a multibillion-dollar industry and a major economic contributor to South Africa’s gross domestic product.

Following the devastating impact of Covid-19, getting inbound tourism numbers back to pre-pandemic levels and finding creative solutions to solve the country’s high unemployment rate is a top priority.

When it comes to culture, music is South Africa’s most influential cultural product, with genres like Amapiano being the country’s biggest exports to the world.

It’s no secret that the genre has been a massive hit across the world and can be used to draw tourism to the country.

As part of Youth Month commemoration, we spoke to Siza Kweyama, aka DJ Stanky, on how music could be used to boost South Africa’s tourism.

Stanky, 27, is an international Amapiano DJ and a member of the Durban group, Kweyama Brothers. He has first-hand experience in music’s role in cultural exchange and tourism promotion.

DJ Stanky in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: Instagram

As a DJ, you travel a lot. Where have you been?

I have been to various European countries and Nigeria within Africa. I will also be travelling to Kenya next week and this will be my first time in that country.

Which destinations are your favourite and why?

My favourite destinations have definitely been Amsterdam and Paris. Amsterdam being one of my favourites based on the music culture and Paris being a global fashion capital.

The experiences in both destinations have been nothing short of amazing.

DJ Stanky shows off his swag in Amsterdam, one of his favourite destinations. Picture: Instagram

What role could music play to attract tourism in the country?

South Africa is exporting so many of its artists within the Amapiano and house music families to major festivals all over the world which honour and celebrate the music that we make in our country.

We could look at hosting our own big festivals to attract tourists from all over the world to come within the borders of our country and celebrate our culture.

These actions have been done in places such as Amsterdam where masses travel there for big dance festivals. We now have our own distinctive sounds that people yearn so much for, which gives us the chance to do the same.

The genre of Amapiano has been a global success and put South Africa on the global map, what makes the genre special?

Amapiano is a unique genre which is spiritual yet vibrant. What makes it stand out so much is the fact that it is continuously evolving. With artists experimenting and creating new sounds and collaborations, this ensures that the sound remains fresh and relevant.

How could South Africa leverage the success of this genre to attract people to the shores of uMzansi to experience the culture and music?

South African tourism could leverage off Amapiano by ensuring that they look out for cultural events that are emerging within SA and assist in funding and giving access to venues for big festivals that will also showcase our beautiful scenic country, which would then attract tourists to our shores.

What role do artists like yourself play in promoting and selling South Africa?

DJs play a crucial role in promoting and selling South Africa by contributing to the country’s cultural landscape in various ways.

With me being an artist that has been granted the opportunity to gain global recognition, I often get questions about my home country and that’s when I get the chance to speak more about where I come from and showcase what my country has to offer in terms of the creative industry.

Tourism is a multibillion-dollar industry. How could musicians get a piece of the pie?

South African tourism could assist local artists by making the process of obtaining a travelling visa easier by having an exception for artists. That way, we, as artists, could keep busy and generate income which would be returned home.

And finally, What could the government do to help artists do their job (in creating music) and exporting the cultural product, amapiano?

The South African government could play a role by building more cultural institutions and promote art as a whole in order to encourage more potential artists to invest in this venture as it is not only a genre but it has become a cultural product and business of its own.