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Celebrating A Nation’s Diverse Soundtrack


The curious beauty of African music is that it uplifts even as it tells a sad tale. You may be poor, you may have only a ramshackle house, you may have lost your job, but that song gives you hope. African music is often about the aspirations of the African people…” Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president


A great father of our nation stitched together the words above and produced a truly profound statement.

DE…Beat20 (Twenty years of Democratic Beats) is about the tales lived and told and the hopes we derive from home-brewed songs. It is a national music initiative forming part of the celebrations around the two decades of South African democracy milestone. Riding on music’s popularity and its power to unite; De…Beat20 is a vehicle to prominently bring about the positive feel, one-ness, pride in being South African and the euphoria similar to the kind brought about by sporting events like the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It is about the aspiration of a nation to strengthen their unity in diversity.

A key part of the campaign involves public participation that will see citizens vote (from April 2014) for 200 Mzansi songs with a special meaning and place in their hearts. Two hundred is a symbolic number in anticipation of a determined forward march to 200 years of a prosperous, peaceful, free and democratic S.A.  The public will be presented with a nominee list, compiled using various means, from which they will be invited to pick their greatest 200. The voting process will run like a chart show with songs eliminated each week until the final 200 has been reached. This will be followed by the release of a collectors item box-set CD collection of the selected 200 songs and a book with stories on and about the origins of the 200 selected songs and developments in the South African music sector, particularly since 1994.

Also forming part of De…Beat20 is a multi-media exhibition of inspiring and proud moments in S.A music; a documentary series telling the story of music in democratic Mzansi and an award ceremony/gala evening to recognize great achievements -within the music sector- in the first two decades of democracy. De…Beat20’s key objectives include exhibiting South Africa’s cultural diversity and music heritage, promoting social-cohesion while presenting a massive marketing platform, reviving the local is lekker vibe, and maximizing economic activity around S.A music.

You can help us put together a truly representative nominee list by suggesting songs you believe are the greatest to have come out of South Africa. Please email your suggestions to bongani@musikmagafrika.co.za

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