Afropunk 2018 With Once Travel
Words by Misa Narrates
Photography by Gudani Maswoliedza
“Happy New Year!” screamed every festival goer in sight at Afropunk 2018. It goes without saying that Johannesburg is inundated with rain every turn of the year, and this one was no different. However, Afropunk festival is a rain or shine event, meaning the show always goes on.
Day 1 saw attendees in bright colors, face makeup, and warm spirits. Ikati Esengxoweni opened the festival, and to say they were anything less than great would be a disservice. The band put on a show that rivaled many others, they were rock stars in the truest sense of the word. Dawning Thabo Makhetha designs, the women led band blew their crowd away with guttural and punky, yet soulful, music.
At the same time, the DJ’s of Afropunk Day 1 did not come to leave anyone unhappy. From the gqom stylings of Phatstoki to the 90s scratch style of DJ Ready D, guests were thoroughly entertained! Moonchild Sanelly was truly a local highlight of Afropunk. Not only did she bring fierce energy to her set, she included the crowd when she jumped off stage and created a pseudo- dance floor. For those that stayed through to the last acts, 3D glasses were given to guests for Flying Lotus’s set. For their fans, even the weather couldn't dampen the experience. Nevertheless, there was the ‘not so little’ issue of rain...and the resulting muddy stage area. To be frank, the rain was terrible, and the mud was even worse. Afropunk tried to salvage the situation by laying down hay, which did provide some relief.
Some of the most beautiful moments, however, took place during the rain. In the end, people were not going to be totally silenced by rains. Festival goers danced as if it were only a light drizzle, when in many instances it was a watery deluge. On top of the moments of beauty, Afropunk festival goers must be the most beautiful people in one location at a given time. There was face art galore, South African traditional wear, and overall a spirit of perseverance throughout the day.
The cover provided to guests was far better this time than in 2017. Afropunk created a basement, in collaboration with Red Bull, wherein festival goers could find shelter, good music, and seating during the worst parts of the storm. In addition, Hyundai hosted a full service shelter, featuring free flowing drinks, food, and good music. They spared nothing to entertain the masses, and that was likely one of the best areas to hang out at the festival.
At the end of each night, upon the end of the last act, people struggled to call cabs to fetch them. However, this likely had more to do with the weather and network. Nevertheless, Afropunk created a safe zone for pick up and drop off, illuminated by tall lights. This was truly comforting, especially given the nature of festivals of this magnitude often attracting thieves.
In the end, Afropunk was an interesting experience! For some, being in the rain was miserable, but bearable. However, going back to Once In Joburg after each night, a mere 1.5 km distance from the venue, was the real treat.