From an initial audience of 900 people in 2010 to being Africa’s second largest hip hop festival which saw an audience of just under 10 000 people in 2015, you can’t help but marvel at Maftown Heights’ meteoric rise.
Its growth is set to be immortalized in a documentary that will air on Channel O at the end of this month.
It will feature insights from various artists that have performed at the festival as well as views from its co-founders, Khuli Chana and Refiloe Ramogase.
Created out of a desire for Khuli Chana to create a platform that celebrates the greatness that has emanated from his home town Mahikeng, Maftown Heights now enjoys an incredible following and a stellar line up.
Mahikeng is the birthplace of what is now the largest sub-genre of hip hop in South Africa, Motswako.
The festival was co-founded by Khuli Chana and Dream Team SA Director, Refiloe Ramogase, who aimed to showcase artists with Motswako roots, as well as to artists that have collaborated with and/or supported Motswako artists in one way or another.
Since its inception in 2010, artists such as Khuli Chana, Cassper Nyovest, AKA, TKZee, HHP, Tuks, Mo Molemi, JR, Thebe, Skwatta Kamp, Cashtime Fam, Tumi Molekane, Fifi Cooper, Towdee Mac, Lection, Notshi, Magesh, Reason and Pro among others, have performed on the Maftown Heights stage.
Some began as under dogs and have since gone on to become household names in South Africa and on the continent following their Maftown Heights performances.
The festival now provides a world class stage, complete with all the bells and whistles of top notch production, to both established and developing artists alike.
Besides celebrating Motswako as a genre, the festival is a key platform in showcasing both South African and African hip hop at large.
The likes of Burna Boy and Ice Prince once graced the Maftown Heights stage and since the festival continuously seeks to build a bridge between hip hop and other musical genres, the Parlotones, Goapele, Mafikizolo and MuZart have been invited to perform in previous years.
Having attended the most recent Maftown Heights myself, I learned a lot about where South African hip hop currently is while enjoying a festival that was well thought out – this might be due to the fact that it has been six years in the making. Six years of learning and improving.
Catch the Maftown Heights Special on Friday, 29th January 2016, at 17:00 on Channel O, DSTV Channel 320
Repeats: Sunday, 31st January 2016, at 13:00
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