‘Future Sound of Mzansi’ is Spoek Mathambo and Lebogang Rasethaba’s powerful new documentary about South African electronic music. Part one introduces the new sounds coming out of the townships and urban areas of cities like Durban, Cape Town, and Johannesburg. It becomes abundantly clear that regionalism is extremely important in the development of genres like broken beats, qgom, Shangaan electro, and kwaito. Or, as a producer puts it, it’s about the need to “own our shit, own who we are, then bring that out to the world.”
We also get to meet the film’s colorful cast of characters, which includes Black Coffee, Okmalumkoolkat, Culoe De Song, the owners of Cape Town record label African Dope, and broken beats originators NakedBoys, among many others. The producers discuss the ways the Internet has both helped and hurt their scenes, while dancers show off the sneaker-shredding moves that bring the music to life.
One of this segment’s most powerful moments comes from Nozinja, who delivers a passionate speech about using Shangaan electro – the genre he pretty much created – to represent the marginalized Shangaan people. “For me to be known and seen all over, representing that same marginalized and abused nation, I feel proud,” he says, eyes twinkling. That same pride resonates with everyone else in the film.