Top 10 Songs For Your South African Trip

By Carla Steenkamp

Your time in South Africa is guaranteed to be legendary. From the cosmopolitan vibe of Johannesburg to the stately beauty of the Free State crops, to the sandy shores of Cape Town, South Africa will delight your senses, inspire your imagination and awaken your adventurous spirit!

This type of life-changing trip deserves an authentic soundtrack. While old classics like “Life is a Highway” and “I’ve been Everywhere” might be enough to get you through your flight, the following Top 10 South African songs will surely elevate your trip to the next level.

1. Johny Cleg – Great Heart

Although Johny Cleg was born a Brit, he is considered one of South Africa’s most celebrated musicians. His song Great Heart from the movie Jock of The Bushveld, is just one of many of his songs that echoes within any South African sport stadiums and has managed to achieve anthem status with crowds in this country, he now calls home.

2. Toto – Africa

The initial idea for this song came from the band’s vocalist David Paich. He explains the idea behind the song as: “…a white boy who is trying to write a song about Africa, but since he’s never been there, he can only tell what he has seen on TV “. We think he did a pretty good job imagining what Africa is like.

3. Heuwels Fantasties – Braai Day – Our Herritage

The local Cape Town electronic rock band in conjunction with the Soweto Gospel Choir produced this song in 2009 to celebrate the country’s Heritage Day on 24 September. The song’s lyrics echo South Africans through their common denominator, a braai! (also known as a BBQ)

4. Freshly Ground – Do be doo

The Capetonian Afro-fusion band is probably best known for their feature in the song Waka Waka by Colombian pop star Shakira that was the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Do be doo was this band’s first hit single and includes an unique musical style that blends different elements of traditional South African music.

5. Mondoza – Nkalakatha

This Sowetan musician strives to give an inspirational message to Kwaito. He uses his music as a way to encourage young South Africans to achieve their goals. In 2001 his song Nkalakatha won the Song Of The Year title at the South African Music Awards.

6. Beatenberg – Feels like heaven

Although Beatenberg is a fresh new face in pop music from South Africa, they quickly received international recognition with their song “Feels Like Heaven” that is a remix favourite in clubs across the world.

7. Miriam Makeba – Click song

Nicknamed as Mamma Africa (4 March 1932 – 9 November 2008) this famous South African singer and civil right activist, has received a few Grammy Awards for her beautiful African melodies. This fantastic pick-me-up song celebrates her native tongue in all its glory.

8. Jeremy Loops – Sinner

Jeremy Loops, a Cape Town loop pedal artist, skilled in guitar, harmonica, beatbox, ukelele, banjo is also relatively new on the music scene but became a playlist favorite with his songs that perfectly captures the diversity of South Africa.

9. Karen Zoid – Afrikaners is plesierig

“Afrikaners is plesierig” translates: Africans are fun, is not only a favourite amongst those who speak Afrikaans but you would even notice other native tongues, head banging to this spiced up version of an old classic. The alternative Karin Zoid is known as South Africa’s queen of rock as she so easily charms the crowds with her electric guitar.

10. Mango Groove – Special Star

Mango Groove is an 11-member South African Afropop band whose music fuses marabi, kwela, and pop music. They have sold more than 700,000 albums in South Africa. This song was dedicated to Spokes Mashiyane the king of Kwela but is sure to get any one up and grooving to its delightful beats.

What other songs are on your South African playlist? Feel free to add on…

Boombox Photo Credit

Carla Steenkamp


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