Kaffir – Arthur
Released in 1995, the song is not as politically incorrect as the title may suggest. In fact, a large part of the lyrics are a plea to ‘baas, don’t call me a kaffir’. which reflects the political freedom black people were experiencing under the newly elected ANC government.
Arthur Mafokate started out as a dancer, performing with the likes of Brenda Fassie, but it was with ‘Kaffir’, which is widely regarded as the first kwaito hit, that he made his breakthrough. Kwaito, has been likened to hip hop and garage music, but with its looped sounds, simple repetitive lyrics, and pounding baselines, it took on a life of its own and became hugely popular in the townships of South Africa.
‘Kaffir’ sold over 150,000 copies and allowed Arthur to set up 999 Music Record Label which promotes up and coming talent, mostly in the kwaito genre. This song’s refrain is catchy and will continue bouncing round your mind well after it has faded from your speakers. Subsequent kwaito hits were not as political as this, so it will be an uneasy bouncing.
Where to find it:
Kwaito: South African Hip Hop – Various Artists (2000), Earthworks, ASIN B00004WF17
Kaffir – Arthur (1995), CCP, CDCCP 1098