Forging cultural connections through hip hop

Forging cultural connections through hip hop

Artscape Theatre in collaboration with Afrovibes, supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, will kick off their “12to12/06-76” 40 year commemoration of June 16 with the hip hop production, ‘AllBasters’. ‘AllBasters’ will set forth to tell the story of the shared history and language between South Africa and The Netherlands. “AllBasters” is a derivative of the Afrikaans word “albasters”, which plays on the idea that we are “all basters”/“coloured”/“mixed” and to most of us that idea is a “harde neut om te kraak” (a hard nut to crack).

Stories and ideas will be shared in music and song and the award winning Hemelbesem will introduce and collaborate with artists such as the celebrated Dutch hip hop artists Skaffalau aka Helberg; revolutionary Dutch female hip hop artist, Marikit; Afrikaans music icon Gian Groen; ‘SA Got Talent’ winner, the opera singer, James Bhemgee; Afrikaans female MC Yoma; Afrivisie winner Herman Kleynhans; veteran Cape Town hip hop artist Linkris; ATKV’s tannie Francis Brown; Boland Godfather of hip hop Die Hooflig – and many more.

Key Performance Dates:
June 15 at 7.30pm
June 16 at 3pm

Peter Tromp got the lowdown directly from Hemelbesem.

Tell us about ‘AllBasters’ and what audiences can look forward to with the showcase.
‘AllBasters’ is about prejudice and bias. That is currently the theme music in so many countries, especially Europe and South Africa.
This production wants to underline our similarities, rather than differences. That we are “All Basters”…although that is a hard nut to crack.
People can look forward to be edutained by a combination of Dutch, Afrikaans and English artists from the Netherlands and South Africa, all who will share their own opinions on matters of for instance class, age, religion, race etc.

What is your performance background? And how did you decide on the moniker, “Hemelbesem”?
I’m on most Afrikaans stages in South Africa as a hip hop artist, speaker or MC. A “Hemelbesem” is a very tall person. I am not. But I feel I am on the inside.

What about what’s going on with hip hop in Cape Town and South Africa at the moment excites you?
Afrikaans Hip Hop is gaining ascendancy by going from being completely ignored, to it being invited into the spotlight here and there, although the Jozi scene is still not recognising it.

What does the 40 year commemoration of June 16 mean to you on a personal and creative level?
I respect what happened and I am always glad to commemorate something as daring as that and hope to stay true to the actual essence of those types of incidents. It’s good to look back, but we have the “now” to contend with so use the roots of yesteryear to draw from, but we must look forward to grow, bloom and bear fruit in the future
My creations are almost never removed from my philosophies, so it holds true to the above statement.

Hip hop has a storied history of being employed in the service of cultivating social awareness. Should this always be its primary function?
No. Just like any other music genre, you sometimes just want to hear or display skill; or be entertained.

Who are your performance heroes, both locally and internationally?
I’m glad to have Gian Groen as part of this production. I’m a big fan of his, as well as Die Hooflig. Actually, the whole crew – because I handpicked them! Internationally, it ranges from Immortal Technique to Sia, or Bjork.

What can we expect next from you?
I’m releasing a book this year containing a mixture of my life in the Afrikaans community and a new TV show…possibly this year, still.

* Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office, Dial-a-Seat and Computicket Outlets at R80 per person.