Press: Hip Hop in true South African flava

‘HemelBesem Die Afrikaansvatter’ is one of two hip hop productions that kicks off the Youth Day celebrations at Artscape Theatre.  It present stories from Cape Town’s coloured population. The latter is considered a minority group in South Africa while it is the majority population in the Western Cape.


The second hip hop production is ‘Break’, a show that blends hip hop dance with traditional South African dance styles ranging from Zulu culture, Pantsula, Namastap, Gumboot, Cape Jazz and others. 


‘HemelBesem Die Afrikaansvatter’ in a colourful version of Afrikaans tells the story of a young man’s journey of self-discovery. It features Simon aka HemelBesem who is a writer, poet, artist, rapper, activist, leader, creator, performer, motivator, entertainer and TV presenter on Pasella, SABC2. As a performer, HemelBesem is considered to be breathing new life into Afrikaans in a way that only he can – without restriction or exclusion.


In ‘HemelBesem Die Afrikaansvatter’ he plays on the Afrikaans language and the people who use it in its various forms as part of different cultures daily.


This show zooms in on the variety of standard versions of Afrikaans and aims to highlight its humour through rap, music and poetry. It is up to the audience to decide whether rapper HemelBesem is an Afrikaansvatter – someone who uses the language eloquently – or an Afri-KANS-vatter – someone who takes chances with the language.  At its heart, ‘Afrikaansvatter’ is a one-man stand-up comedy show that leans towards satire.


HemelBesem will dig into his huge treasure chest containing loot collected over many years. It is a treasure he may have “stolen” or taken chances with, kind of like a pirate. His treasure is his vocabulary and during the show he tries to determine what he has “stolen”, while delivering commentary on his loot. He discusses different treasures and takes the audience on a journey through various accents, dialects and uses, as well as other cultural norms and so-called standard uses of Afrikaans in contemporary South Africa.


Topics explored include sport, religion, racial differences and relationships, holding everything together with humour. HemelBesem will be joined on stage by YOMA, Linkris, TAKE NOTE BAND, Babette Viljoen, Gareth Harvey, Mak1one, Kanasashi Tattoos, Handbreak Turn and Meli Grey.


‘Break’ is a partnership between Artscape Theatre and Heal the Hood, a community-based volunteer organisation by the youth for the youth on the Cape Flats. It is hip hop theatre that challenges the boxes we fit artistic expression genres into. It also tells the story of a young man’s journey of self-discovery and blends South African dance and music with hip hop culture.


Messages in the production’s song lyrics and storyline speak directly to issues of identity and heritage and anyone can relate to it, irrespective of race, creed or religion. The ‘Break’ cast includes internationally acclaimed street dancers who have represented South Africa at global dance competitions. This show is directed by Emile Jansen aka Emile YX?. He has written and produced ‘Break’ as he found a need to push for more original South African influences in the South African street dance community.


Heal the Hood provides an alternative cultural experience for historically marginalised youth through hip hop and its related elements. He believes that more often than not dancers are influenced by what they see on the international scene and at times directly copy these trends instead of celebrating the rich heritage they were born into. In response to this, his vision permeates throughout the production with the use of 100% locally produced music to give ‘Break’ a proudly South African flavour.


‘Hemelbesem Die Afrikaansvatter’ and is supported by the Stigting vir Bemagtiging deur Afrikaans (SBA) and will be opened by the Consul General of the Netherlands, Bonnie Horbach.


‘HemelBesem Die Afrikaansvatter’ will be staged at Artscape Theatre on May 29 at 20:15.‘Break’ will be staged at Artscape Theatre on May 30 at 2pm and 20:15. Tickets for each show costs R60 per person.


Booking through Computicket outlets and credit card telephone booking at Dial-a-seat 021 421 7695.


Please reload