Africa Beats: Afrikaans rapper Jaak

Afrobeat Bloc

The Afrikaans rapper, Jaak, uses hip-hop to raise the consciousness of his people, whom he calls the ”brown” underclass of Paarl in South Africa, usually referred to as people of mixed heritage.

He hopes to give the youth of his community pride in their history.

The song 63,000 describes how their slave ancestors were brought to the Cape and conjures up how they lived and felt in vivid word pictures.

Jaak is passionate about the Afrikaans language, and is one of a growing number helping to give the language a cooler image through rap, and to reclaim it for the many black and mixed heritage South Africans for whom it is a mother tongue.

Jaak’s debut solo album Fletse Maniere, which means ”housing project manners” or ”Cape Flats behaviour” in Afrikaans, tells the story of his own stormy early years, growing up in the ghetto and struggling with alcohol, drugs, violence and poverty.

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