BMW’s ode to Gusheshe accused of piracy

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The 1990 BMW 325i Sport is endearingly referred to as a Gusheshe in South Africa. (Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
The 1990 BMW 325i Sport is endearingly referred to as a Gusheshe in South Africa. (Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
  • Piracy refers to the unauthorised use or reproduction of another person's work.
  • To celebrate 30 years of iGusheshe, BMW South Africa has used Heritage month to roll out a campaign for its new car: the BMW 330is. 
  • Heard in the ad’s background is a song with a drum pattern that many are likening to Kwesta’s Spirit
  • The artists confirmed the ad’s backtrack similarity to his song and says the automobile company made use of it without his permission.


In 1990, German automobile giant BMW released its e30 325iS into the global market. Soon after making its way to South Africa, the car earned its new and forever name: Gusheshe. Known for their popularity as a getaway car for many-a heist, cameos in Yizo Yizo, as well as their spinning, racing and drifting capabilities, Gusheshes remain synonymous with invincibility in the country’s collective psyche. 

To celebrate the car’s  30 year, BMW South Africa has used Heritage month to roll out advertising about its new car: the BMW 330is. 

In the advertisement released on 20 September 2020 on social media, the narrator likens the cult classic to a community leader saying the following: 

iGushshe. iGrootman la maBM(W). It never gets tired unless the owner is careless. The wise one. The one that everyone tips their hats for. From Soweto to Umlazi, it’s know as ithemba la magomosha. Whether spinning or ushay’iround iGusheshe fits right in. thirty years later, we still respect you. You’re still charming the young and the old.

Heard in the ad’s background is a song with a drum pattern that many are likening to Kwesta’s Spirit

Released in 2017, Spirit blends Kwaito and hip-hop cues to proclaim life in the eastern Johannesburg township of Katlehong where Kwesta group up. As it stands the Tebogo Malope directed Spirit music video has had over 6.5 million views on YouTube and almost 2 million streams on Spotify.

To make the song’s Kwaito influenced beat, its producer Makwa 6eats samples house music duo Spiritchaser’s popular 2010 house anthem These Tears. To make this happen Kwesta and his team sought and received permission from Spiritchaser. 

Upon hearing the similarities between Spirit and the BMW ad’s backtrack, Kwesta took to Twitter on 22 September 2020 to air his grievance saying

Do the right thing!!! It took so much effort from so many people to get the rights to sample that song. We did the right thing because we understood the value of the art! This ad cheapens all of those efforts. DO THE RIGHT THING FOR 'The Grootmans' @BMW_SA

BMW is yet to respond to the allegations.             

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