KWAITO BODIES, remastering space and subjectivity in post-apartheid South Africa

: Livermon (X.)

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271pp., illus., paperback, Durham, 2020


Kwaito is a style of electronic dance music that emerged following the end of apartheid. Drawing on fieldwork in Johannesburg's nightclubs and performances and recordings by artists such as Lebo Mathosa and Mandoza and groups like Boom Shaka, Livermon demonstrates how kwaito culture challenges the dominant constructions of gender and sexuality.

"Xavier Livermon celebrates the often maligned affect of South African youth by noticing their creative play and their insistence on finding pleasure in the fraught everyday of post-apartheid urban life. His nuanced recognition of kwaito bodies lends insight into the social disjunctures and political failures of the post-apartheid state as well as into the struggles and creative improvisations of black bodies within Afrodiasporic space. Written with appreciation and curiosity, this book leaves the reader with a sense of possibility and hope and a reminder of why we need to party.” Louise Meintjes, author of Dust of the Zulu: Ngoma aesthetics after apartheid

Xavier Livermon is Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and co-editor of Black Sexual Economies: race and sex in a culture of capital.