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Hip-hop Brings Youth Back to the City


It’s Freedom Month and for young people in the city, a time to take to the stage to rap, to b-boy, paint graffiti on walls and to dance to the rhythms of hip hop music.

This Freedom Day, some 25 000 young people from across South Africa and abroad will gather at the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown for the Back to the City hip-hop festival, celebrating the country's 22 years of democracy. Now in its ninth year, the festival has become the biggest outlet and platform for the Hip Hop community.

Groups such as Prophets of the City (P.O.C) and Black-Noise were among the pioneers who used this art form to express resistance against the apartheid system.

The festival attracts the who’s who of the South African hip hop scene, and headlining acts include Cassper Nyovest, AKA, Squatter Camp and a surprise international act.

"This unique youth event has grown into the largest public display of both commercial and underground hip hop in South Africa, presenting a day of live music, street art, break-dancing, art installation, skateboarding, film, street fashion, gaming, speakers and panel discussions. From the daytime events to the nightly performances, this is one time that the inner city comes alive with true freedom of expression providing a destination for hip hop fans, artists and industry related individuals to converge and celebrate the experience of hip hop and youth culture," said event founder Osmic Menoe.

But it’s not all song and dance at the festival. Menoe says the festival has an educational component through which industry pioneers mentor and share experiences with other artists and industry role players.

The aim of these workshops, explains Menoe, is to empower the artists with knowledge to enable them to efficiently manage their career and brand growth. “We want to utilize the culture as a tool to encourage critical thinking, social change and unity while empowering communities through media, arts, education and independent initiatives.

"Topics such as Publishing, Distribution, Recording, Independent versus Mainstream, Funding, and Entrepreneurship were openly discussed allowing audience members the chance to actively engage speakers, facilitating access to resources as well as empowering the youth with valuable knowledge."

There will be food and clothing stalls, where local entrepreneurs will be displaying and selling their products.

Standard features include three stages, a surprise international act - Basketball Court - Hip Hop Summit - Street Fashion - Dance Crews - Game On: Fifa Challenge - Bmxers -10k Challenge: Upcoming rappers and producers - Skaters - Paid In Full- Rap Battles - Beatboxers - A bigger beer garden - A Trade Village - A Game Zone - A Chill Zone- Freestyle Tournament.

Tickets are available at Postnet outlets at R160 general tickets R300 Presidential Suites or online at