South African Music

Life without music would be a quiet place. It is part every average person’s life. There is a song for every emotion, every mood and every occasion. Music brings people together to form a bond beyond materialistic values - it makes the world, and society, a better place. 

©Dr Peter Magubane

Music can be a healing, beautiful noise or it can be a call to justice and revolution. Music defines a society and captures the essence that makes a culture extraordinary. It allows people to go into a different space and experience different emotions. It allows you to find expression for things that you often can’t express yourself.

South Africa has a rich, vibrant history of music. Music was the sound of resistance during the apartheid years that produced anti-apartheid songs, further elucidating the plight of South Africans. The country boasts with legendary musicians and performers that shaped the unique genres of South African music we know and love today.

South Africa is home to numerous internationally celebrated musicians of various genres - jazz legend Hugh Masekela, singing diva Miriam Makeba, hip-hop icons Die Antwoord and Afro-pop singer Brenda Fassie to name a few. South Africa Online ® celebrates the life and times of South Africa’s legendary musicians. It will provide factual information on musicians and music genres dating all the way back from the 1940’s.

By Carla Lottering

South African Jazz

South African Jazz is a musical kaleidoscope of local and international influences. South Africa developed its own soulful style of jazz, cr...more


This music genre was developed during the late 1920’s in South Africa, when people of colour were becoming more urbanised and moved to tow...more


Kwela is a South African style of music based on jazzy undertones and the penny-whistle instrument. It derived from the marabi sound and bro...more


Mbaqanga was a South African style of music that was popular throughout the 1960’s to the 1980’s, derived from the earlier sounds of mar...more

Bubblegum Music

Bubblegum music was a form of pop music that was popular in South Africa in the 1980’s. The sound was a distinctive mix of vocals, electro...more

Contemporary South African Musicians

As the 21st century rolled out, the South African music industry saw a shift in the type of music being produced. The industry was evolving ...more

Musical Instruments of South Africa

Along with South Africa’s rich cultural heritage, music has always been an inherent part of the country’s society. South African music d...more

Performance Art in South Africa

South Africa is a hotbed of originality and creativity which is evident in its vibrant theatre scene....more