Home > 2014 Courses > ARTS AND HUMANITIES > Hip-Hop Activism


Associate Professor Adam Haupt, Centre for Film & Media Studies, University of Cape Town and DJ Ready D

‘Why should I fight for a country’s glory/When it ignores me?/Besides, the township’s already a war zone/So why complain or moan?’ The opening lines from Prophets of da City’s (POC) 1993 song Understand where I’m coming from expressed a deep suspicion of the emerging ‘new’ South Africa. Twenty years later, this course examines the role hip-hop has played in engaging young South Africans both creatively and politically. It will offer an account of hip-hop’s political orientation in relation to debates about commercial co-option, censorship, gender, race and other identity politics, and examine how these politics have been taken up by South African hip-hop artists. It will focus specifically on hip-hop’s reception in Cape Town in the late 1980s and early 1990s and explore the work of early Capetonian hip-hop artists, in particular the Prophets of da City. Widely acknowledged for setting the scene for a range of emerging mother-tongue rappers in South Africa, POC’s influence on struggles over language, race and identity and on early Afrikaans hip-hop will be explored. The final session will be a panel discussion, featuring hip-hop artists and academics, which examines the warnings of Understand where I’m coming from, and considers the role of contemporary hip-hop artists in post-apartheid struggles for justice and equality.

1. Early hip-hop and the influence of Black Consciousness
2. Hip-hop’s reception in South Africa
3. Hip-hop activism and US cultural imperialism
4. Panel discussion: ‘Age of truth’: told you so …(Associate Professor Adam Haupt, DJ Ready D and DJ Azuhl, to be preceded by a performance by DJ Azuhl and DJ Eazy on decks.)


There will also be a FREE film screening on Friday 31 Jan of "Hip-hop Revolution". Q&A with director Weaam Williams. Watch the trailer here.


Recommended reading
Haupt, A. 2012. Static: Race and Representation in Post-Apartheid Music, Media and Film. Cape Town: HSRC Press. [Free Download]
Haupt, A. 2008. Stealing Empire: P2P, Intellectual Property and Hiphop Subversion. Cape Town: HSRC Press. [Free Download]


Course code: 1027

Date & time: Monday 27–Thursday 30 January 5.30 pm


Full: R300,00

Staff: R150,00

Reduced: R75,00