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  • Writer's pictureAngelo van Dyk

Yo El Rey Playlist // Sip & Fly

If you've never heard of Sophiatown, it's worth looking up. It was a suburb of Johannesburg that for many years during the Apartheid regime was a cultural hub of music, art and literature, and where white and black mingled without prejudice or judgement. There was bootlegging, late-night shebeens, gangsterism, and hedonism. It was home to a golden age, set against a backdrop that was tarnished by social injustice and human rights violations. It stood as a glimmer of hope and joy in the darkness that was then Apartheid South Africa. Sadly, the story of Sophiatown ends in the Nationalist government forcibly removing locals and bulldozing most of the area, replacing it with the suburb which they named Triomf (Afrikaans for 'triumph'), just to further rub salt in the wound. However, the music that was made during the 40s and 50s and performed in Sophiatown is iconic, and perhaps doesn't always get the recognition it deserves. It's African jazz at its finest, and it reminds me of home. 'Sip and Fly' is what locals would refer to as shebeens, as often these institutions were subject to unannounced police raids, and so people drank fast, and dashed. Here's another Yo El Rey playlist for you this weekend. May it bring you a little slice of South Africa this festive season. Enjoy.

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