A hip-hopera in Cape Town: The aesthetics, and politics of performing ‘Afrikaaps’
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This paper looks into the aesthetics and politics of the ‘hip-hopera’ Afrikaaps. Afrikaaps was produced in 2010 by a group of musicians and spoken-word artists from Cape Town and the rural Western Cape Province of South Africa. The show premiered at an annual Afrikaans cultural festival; it then had a three week-run at a theatre, located in a predominantly white, English-speaking part of Cape Town, followed by different sets of performance in South Africa and abroad and the documentary by a Cape Town film maker. Dylan Valley’s (2011) film follows this group of local artists creating the stage production as they trace the roots of Afrikaans to Khoi-San and slaves in the Cape. The production aimed to ‘reclaim and liberate Afrikaans from its reputation as the language of the oppressor, taking it back for all who speak it.’ (Valley 2011) The paper presents an analysis of how visual and musical aesthetics converge in the performed production of history, as creolization, and ethnically-specific ‘heritage’, and how the self-stylization is employed in attempts at authenticating a recently asserted linguistic and cultural ‘identity’.