Future Sound of Mzansi is being streamed over three episodes on Thump, VICE’s electronic music and culture channel. Thump is screening Future Sound of Mzansi to its two million unique visitors, across nine global channels and with translations into six languages.
The cult documentary explores the past, present and future of the South African electronic music scene and its multiple genres, presented through the eyes of internationally acclaimed musician Spoek Mathambo and filmmaker Lebogang Rasethaba. It was produced by Black Major, with support from Red Bull and WESC.
“Electronic music is a staple of South African popular culture,” says Nthato Mokgata, who is better known by his musical alias, Spoek Mathambo. “The electronic music scene reflects the country’s shifting cultural landscape, 20 years into democracy, so Future Sound of Mzansi isn’t just a film about music – it’s a film about a country in transition.”
Since premiering at Durban International Film Festival last July, Future Sound of Mzansi has screened around the world, introducing global audiences to genres like Durban gqom, Shangaan electro, Bacardi house, and township tech.
“It was a story begging to be told,” says Lebogang. “I was excited about what was happening in South Africa. The energy, the vibe, the creativity was at an all-time high. For me, it was about documenting South Africa in this highly cinematic environment and changing people’s perspectives on what South Africa looks like, sounds like, feels like.”
The documentary has been featured across the internet, from i-D and Nowness to The Guardian and High Snobiety.
In its review of Future Sound of Mzansi, The Daily Dot wrote, “Arguably, the most interesting music in the world today is coming out of Africa, and some of the most interesting contemporary African music is coming out of South Africa.”
The Daily Dot could have been speaking about any of the artists featured in Future Sound of Mzansi, like Aero Manyelo, Big FKN Gun, Black Coffee, Christian Tiger School, Culoe de Song, Felix Laband, John Wizards, Jumping Back Slash, Krushed & Sorted, Machepies, Markus Wormstorm, Mix & Blend, DJ Mujava, Naked Boys, Nozinja, Okmalumkoolkat, Panyaza, Rude Boyz, Sibot, DJ Spoko, Zaki Ibrahim and many more.
But the documentary isn’t just a PR exercise for South African electronic music: as The Daily Dot points out, the documentary has some “quietly heartbreaking scenes” that “leave you more invested in the musicians as people, playing against the trope of the DJ as hero.”
“When it comes to Africa, I think a lot of portrayals are quite dark and pessimistic, so I wanted to focus on a really vibrant and creative energy,” says Nthato. “I wanted to portray South African youth energy: the raw creativity, the highly technical intelligence, and the beautiful vibrancy, as well as the struggle, madness, drama and frustrations.”
Part two, which focuses on Cape Town
Thump will release part three, which focuses on Pretoria and Atteridgeville, on 3 June 2015.
The full documentary will be available to watch and embed for a limited time from 10 June 2015.
To buy the DVD, visit www.futuresoundofmzansi.com.
To stay in touch, Like www.facebook.com/futuresoundofmzansi or follow #futuresoundofmzansi on social media.
Listen to the Future Sound of Mzansi mix series at http://futuresoundofmzansi.com/mix-series/.
To view more of Lebogang Rasethaba’s reel, visit http://arcadecontent.tv/south-african-director/lebogang-rasethaba/ or follow @arcadecontent on social media.
Follow Spoek on Twitter: @SPOEK_MATHAMBO
For more information on Black Major, visit http://blackmajor.co.za/.