The world of partying in SA can pretty much be broken up into three types of nights.
You have those at establishments you trust, where on average the jusi can be expected to be interesting; once-off events with line-ups interesting enough to garner attention; and finally the older sibling of these – those rare events that have reached the level of excellence, and with a crowd consistent enough to allow freedom in execution of the parties. Looking at the histories of parties that exist in this space – think of Friday Uppercut or Pussy Party. Building these parties is more akin to alchemy than architecture, but two necessary elements to the mix are a strong mandate, and an even stronger sense of creative leadership.
A new party that hopes to move quickly into the movement is the Cape Town-based KONJO, who throw their first event this Saturday at The Woodstock Foundry. The mandate of the event is crystally clear, and it’s one that’s sorely missing from the current scene. In their own words, KONJO is a “Pan-African music and culture movement that curates events of eclectic music from South Africa, the greater African continent and the African diaspora in the global south.” It’s inspiring and high potential stuff.
Converting this potential though, is where the creative leadership comes in, and on the evidence of the line-up curated for their first event, Konjo are heading into excellent directions. The party will be headlined by progressive (as in forward thinking, not prog) bands like BLK JKS – whose live sets have been scarce in the Cape – and The Brother Moves On, who will be performing with frequent collaborator Shabaka Hutchings.
Supporting the two main acts in keeping the crowds grooving, is a set of DJs well chosen enough to probably pull in crowds on their own. Waxon founder Paul Waxon – fresh from his wide-ranging KwaaiTour with Dj Okapi and Pierre Estienne – will be joined by fellow vinyl (and vibes) aficionado Zara Julius. Rounding the Dj line-up off is the ever forward-looking nostalgia of K-$.
With the overall aim of the party so firmly set, and a focus of shining a light on music from the global south, this should be a party set aside from the majority. The excitement for KONJO Vol. 1 seems to there, as both waves of early-bird tickets have already been exhausted.