By CityLife Arts Writer
This must have rated as one if not the most active marquee at the Human Rights Festival at Con Hill on Saturday. The dancers and singers were on stage, but the audience seemed to be also performing on the dance floor, making both the stage and the dance floor to be one and the same thing. There was some much excitement on both the sage and the dance floor when I went there after taking a tour of the precinct where other festivities were taking place.
Though the place is expansive and a lot of activities were taking place around it at the same time around 2pm, it did not take me much thinking to figure out where the Uzwano Hip Hop Festival was. I heard the screaming by the audience and the hip hop lyrics by those on stage to turn around and headed there.
Mostly teenagers who were having fun enjoying performances by their peers from the neighbourhood in the flatland suburb of Hillbrow, these kids clearly had so much fun and there was no single sight of anyone imbibing alcohol, often a curse at such festivals. This one was different and cool. I went around and spotted others busy painting a mural as others were performing and the rest, the audience were shouting encouragement to their peers on stage.
It was one festival where you felt like you should have been their age, had the same attitude of how to have fun and most importantly you still had the energy they displayed both on stage and on the dance floor as well as on canvas. This is because this Hip Hop festival was conceptualised as multi-disciplinary –performances, graffiti and workshops, all happening at the same time.
The kids were having so much fun that even when Zakwe a featured artist who belts out his lyrics in isiZulu’s performance was temporarily halted as members of Operation Dudula tried without success to disrupt the event, before they were booted out of the precinct escorted by SAPS, the kids continued as If nothing had happened. Zakwe came back on stage after 10 minutes and the festivities continued and there was more fun.
The organisations and institutions who put together this festival, that include Lefika La Phodiso, Windybrow Centre of the Arts, Flame Studios in association with the National Arts Council of South Africa, clearly thought this programme well, and the teenagers, both the spectators and the participating young artists had lots of fun.