Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Punk In Africa" DVD (directors: Keith Jones and Deon Maas)

Superb look at African subculture

This thought-provoking and enlightening documentary traces the evolution of the underground music movement in Africa, from the anti-apartheid rock acts of the early 70s through multiracial punk and hardcore acts of the 80s, and into the modern day.

Obviously a labor of love, "Punk In Africa" is a comprehensive look at the beginnings of "punk" idealism in South Africa and Zimbabwe, where political dissent often leads to police harassment or worse. Bands like Suck, Safari Suits, and Kalahari Surfers were progenitors of modern day African music, melding Western styles with African attitudes and issues. "Punk In Africa" is packed to the hilt with old video footage and tons of interviews with those involved in this scene. It's a beautiful and inspiring look at a punk scene that isn't given the credit it deserves.

I was particularly fascinated how the music itself had developed, with present-day acts like Evicted or Fruits and Veggies being amalgamations of traditional African sounds with Western rock. But beyond styles, it's refreshing to see how music and the arts are still challenging the status quo in Africa, and are continually confronting political issues in these troubled countries. 

A superb documentary, and one anyone remotely interested in underground music should see.