307pp., illus., paperback, Chicago & London, 2016
Gavin Steingo discusses kwaito's development alongside the democratization of South Africa over the past two decades. He also explains kwaito's ambiguous relationship with politics, power, and the state. His analysis is based on ten years of ethnographic research that included living for a year in Soweto, kwaito’s birthplace, and performing and recording with kwaito musicians.
“Kwaito’s Promise delivers more than it promises. The book is not simply an account of the rise of a popular genre that provided the soundscape for South African township youth in the first years of freedom. It ventures boldly into an uncompromising, complex analysis of how this amorphous style of music gave form to the cultural imaginary, indeed to the very lives of its consuming creators. Heita!” David Coplan, University of the Witwatersrand
Gavin Steingo is Assistant Professor of Music at Princeton University.