Kwaito and the Culture of AIDS in South Africa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter explores the triangular relationship between sexuality, HIV/AIDS, and popular music in South Africa by focusing on the musical genre known as kwaito. Kwaito is a form of electronic dance music that emerged together with South Africa's democracy in the early 1990s. Appearing in tandem with the demise of apartheid, kwaito music became the soundtrack of liberation as well as other struggles still to be fought, particularly poverty, crime, unemployment, and HIV/AIDS. This chapter considers the social implications of kwaito performance as they relate to discourses of sexual violence and rape. The chapter also looks at the lives and careers of artists such as Zola and Khabzela, as well as the ways that kwaito implicitly parallels the sexual and social power structures associated with AIDS among South Africa's youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Culture of AIDS in Africa
Subtitle of host publicationHope and Healing Through Music and the Arts
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780190268183
ISBN (Print)9780199744473
StatePublished - Nov 3 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


  • Artists
  • Electronic dance music
  • Kwaito
  • Popular music
  • Rape
  • Sexual violence
  • Sexuality
  • South africa
  • Youth


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