South African House Music Videos: Mafikizolo ft. Uhuru, Umlilo ft. Kyla Phil, Bucie, and More

Last month, I came across a music video that Total Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs called, “one of the best music videos I’ve seen in a long time”: a live performance by iFani EWE in the Johannesburg neighborhood of Soweto.

Having just seen a South African dance documentary called The African Cypher, this assertion of “best” did not hold true for me; awesome dance is threaded throughout the country’s musical and social culture of SA. This reminder did, however, lead me to dig deep into South African music videos to hunt for visual and sonic gems — the best of which I have shared in this post. (No Die Antwoord on the basis on their being well-known by all.)

Mafikizolo ft. Uhuru – “Khona”

I recently stumbled across this website called OkayAfrica, and it is definitely one of my favorite new internet finds. Of their recurring posts are summaries of notable African fashion designers to watch out for, and the fashion in this music video for “Khona” reminds me of these top designers in some ways. Geometric shapes and bright colors abound, abound, abound, in eye-catching ways galore. Glittered male dancers dive and swoop around a strong female lioness and a hypnotic rhythm, pushing “Khona” hard as a visual highlight and a repeat listen.

[audio:/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Uhuru-ft-Mafikizolo_Khona.mp3|titles=Uhuru ft. Mafikizolo – Khona]


Umlilo ft. Kyla Phil – “Living Dangerously”

Umililo may be one of the South African finds that has the most staying power with me. All the extroverted, dance-centric finds are amazing, but most of the time, I’d rather kick back and get moody, and this song is fucking sick. The music video is reminiscent of the high-budget and slightly off-kilter hip-hop music videos that have been surfacing as of late — and it certainly bears similarity to Frank Ocean’s “Novacaine”.

You can download Umlilo’s entire latest EP via Mediafire; it spans many genres and includes a Bob Dylan cover.

[audio:/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Umlilo-ft-Kyla-Phil_Living-Dangerously.mp3|titles=Umlilo ft. Kyla Phil – Living Dangerously]


Bucie – “Induku Enhle” featuring Demor Skihosana

Bucie is known as South Africa’s “Princess of House” with her never-ending collection of soulful deep house. Though she often sings in English, this track is an exception, with a music video that merges the old and the new. We’re talking fur-clad keytar jam outs and neon Wonderwoman capes mixing with traditional African patterns. She’s currently working on a new record, and you can hear more from this album at TruSpot.


DJ Cleo ft. Teddy Bears – “Turn Around”

With so much house music abounding in South African music, party footage is extremely popular in music videos. Teddy Bears’ “Follow Me” is not only one of the best party-related music videos of the bunch, but one of the best tracks, as well. These guys just have personality, and it shows, even in this relatively simple music video for their collaboration with DJ Cleo. They just really know how to hold a frame with smiles and simple body movements. It’s incredible how much of a stylistic overlap there is between South African house music and Korean pop music in its less glammed out days.


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Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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10 years ago

[…] African house music has hit the international scene. From Cape Town to London, people are dancing to the electronic sound of the continent. The genre has grown, specially in South Africa, and distinguished itself from other styles. Artists are not afraid to bring in different influences and their own culture into the mix. “Khona” by Mafikizolo ft. Uhuru is just one example of how the african beats will make you want to dance. Keep on dancing with more refreshing videos. […]

Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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