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AFROPUNK - Johannesburg

Wet, not in the way I wanted; that’s how I’d summarise Afropunk Johannesburg 2018.

AFROPUNK - Johannesburg


For the second year in a row, the global powerhouse named and inspired by the release of the 2003 documentary “Afro-Punk” by James Spooner took over a part of our city of gold for 2 days.

AFROPUNK by Lee-Roy JasonAFROPUNK by Lee-Roy Jason

I was there to content direct and post content with the infamous Lee Roy Jason and our OG team of editors and assistants both backstage and in the festival itself, or as I now refer to it, the mud, yes the literal mud that destroyed two pairs of sneakers. Although work always comes first, I found myself by the end of it with a beer in hand a few stories.

Of course there is a photo of me for context. Backstage by Lee-Roy Jason

When the backstage booth is too small for greatness. Image by Lee-Roy Jason

We can talk about the festival fashion, but you can go read about that on every other local blog that covered the event. Rather, let me tell you about Kwesta bringing a soaking wet photography team drinks from the artist backstage area because Januworry came in December for some of us, or the secret not so secret party within a party that Hyundai (of all the brands) brought for the homies - free cocktails and snacks. Or just the snacks (if you know what I mean). I could even give you a lesson on doing Afropunk the truly South African way - the classic 10 Black Label quartz car bar (don’t worry we uberéd home, don't drink and drive).

Our lighting assistant Ayanda having her irl Kwesta moment. Backstage by Lee-Roy Jason

Inside the hidden KONA by Hyundai party. Photo by Lee-Roy Jason

Flying Lotus got several thousand new followers with his 3D performance, now-now, you might be thinking that watching him live is a 3D performance, but with his Versace scarf, he brought with him 10 000 pairs of 3D glasses and visuals that made Afropunk propel to 2040.

The truth is what makes this festival unmissable is the uniqueness of experience every festival goer has, not one story is the same, and that’s the magic. It was effortless to lose a friend, but when you found them near the front of the stage for one of the many fantastic local acts such as Faka, their adventures were just as fresh.

Syd, if you know you know. Photo by Lee-Roy Jason

Those moments when we had to take the party to the basement. Photo by Lee-Roy Jason

The entertainment was not limited to the stages, it came in the form of watching people come out dressed in dripping fashion until you looked down to see that R20 000 pair of Gucci shoes covered in plastic as we all stood ankle deep in the pouring Jozi Summer showers to watch Thundercat.

Keeping it dry(ish) on stage.
Photo by Lee-Roy Jason

Photo by Lee-Roy Jason

AFROPUNK’s importance for Joburg lives not only in these 2 days, there is a degree of devotion to interweaving South Africa’s deep and unique musical roots with the contemporary moment and propelling both the local acts and the festival goers into a global lense.

The Internet bringing in 2019.
Photo by Lee-Roy Jason

AFROPUNK by Lee-Roy Jason

In the opinion of one, I think we have the wrong idea of Afropunk festival, it’s not necessarily just about the fashion or the music, it’s importance is something more. Rather we should be pulling away from the unnecessary layers that Afropunk might deter from enjoying the once a year experience and be like Kaytranada on stage, drinking just a bit too much while an extra amount of fireworks brings in 2018 2.0, the sequel or as some call it 2019.

AFROPUNK Backstage by Lee-Roy Jason

Moonchild by Lee-Roy Jason

AFROPUNK Backstage by Lee-Roy Jason

AFROPUNK Backstage by Lee-Roy Jason