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From Township to Global Stage: Exploring the Rise of South African Music



The streets of South Africa have been pulsing with the sound of Amapiano for years, despite the dance challenges that are currently taking TikTok by storm. Deep house, log-drum driven basslines, and soulful piano melodies of Amapiano are currently resonating on social media all over the world.

The rise of South African music from the township to the global stage demonstrates the country’s rich musical heritage, cultural diversity, and resilience in the face of adversity. As the country evolves and grows, music will undoubtedly continue to play an important role in shaping its cultural identity and connecting it to the rest of the world.

The rise of amapiano, which has continued to dominate the charts and the airwaves, has been one of the most significant trends in South African music in recent years. Amapiano has grown and become more popular, with many artists experimenting with new sounds and styles within the genre.

Outside of South Africa, Amapiano has been gaining popularity, especially in other African nations and in the United Kingdom, where it has been getting airplay on popular radio stations. This suggests that amapiano has the potential to establish itself as a genre with international appeal.

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One of the most important factors in the rise of South African music has been the increasing globalization of the music industry. South African artists have been able to connect with audiences all over the world through the internet and social media, as well as international tours and collaborations with other artists. This has helped to raise the profile of South African music and introduce it to new audiences.

Amapiano, a new genre, is setting the pace in South Africa. The heavy drum-dominated music-style, which originated in the townships and comes from the nation’s Black community. It can be compared to the love child of the deep South African House and traditional tribal traditions.

There are many talented South African artists who have made significant contributions to the amapiano genre. Some of the most popular amapiano artists in South Africa are; Kabza De Small, DJ Maphorisa, Sha Sha, Major League DJz, Focalistic, Musa Keys, Vigro Deep, Focalistic, among others.

On the global diaspora stage, Zimbabwean-born vocalist Sha Sha won ‘Best New International Act’ at the 2020 BET Awards, alongside Maphorisa and De Small.

The Rainbow Nation’s melodic sounds, accompanied by native clicks and accents, provide the stamp to certify a South African artist—kudos to Sho Madjozi and her viral song “John Cena.”

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Most recently, Master KG’s -Jerusalema, released late last year, sparked the TikTok trend ‘#Jerusalemachallenge,’ bolstering its market strategy for a global audience in 2020. As powerful and catchy as the song is, it set a new record in September as Shazam’s most searched for song.

Music operations manager at TikTok South Africa, Yuvir Pillay Amapiano is the country’s biggest musical genre on TikTok saying, “We noticed a lot of our youths at the end of 2019 starting to use Amapiano music to create their food videos, their dance videos, their fashion videos, memes. And we really saw people embracing the genre and wanting to engage with it. We haven’t seen a local music genre take over a platform in this kind of huge escalation in a very long time.”

Amapiano has drawn artists from other genres and nationalities, including Nigerian electro-fusion singer Wurld, who has begun dabbling in the genre outside of South Africa.

Before artists like Wurld entered the picture, however, Davido, the Nigerian Afrobeats superstar, had jumped on the beat, collaborating with South Africa’s Amapiano superstar Focalistic to create a number one hit in Nigeria.

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Amapiano has gained international recognition in recent years, with artists such as DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small collaborating with international artists such as Drake, Alicia Keys, and Ed Sheeran. This has aided in bringing the genre to a wider global audience and establishing it as a major player in the global music industry.

Beyond South Africa, Amapiano has also attracted artists from other genres and nationalities, like Nigerian electro-fusion singer Wurld, who has begun dabbling in the genre.

However, before artists like Wurld came into the picture, Davido, the Nigerian Afrobeats superstar, had jumped on the beat, collaborating with South Africa’s Amapiano superstar Focalistic, to create a number one hit in Nigeria. Focalistic recounted how he and Davido met four years ago during a South African tour, and their collaboration on the song was a spiritually driven experience.

Amapiano is a distinctive and fascinating musical style that has developed in South Africa’s townships. By fusing traditional African music with contemporary electronic beats, it has won over listeners all over the world and helped launch a new generation of South African artists onto the international music scene.