'They were healing the nation' - Oskido reflects on South Africa's musical heritage

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Oscar 'Oskido' Mdlongwa.
Oscar 'Oskido' Mdlongwa.
Gallo/ Oupa Bopape

From living up to the principles of the ancient African word of ubuntu through music to sharing how his career as a pioneer in Kwaito music began, Oscar Mdlongwa, better known as Oskido, spoke to News24 about the significance of heritage to him. 

Mdlongwa spoke to News24 as part of Apple Music's inaugural Amaqhawa campaign, featuring exclusively curated playlists from him and other iconic musicians, to pay tribute to South African music legends and heroes as the country celebrates Heritage Day and month. 

Heritage Day, for me, is when we get to celebrate our culture. It's living up to the true meaning of who we are as a nation.

He said he decided to participate in the campaign as it not only took him on a musical journey, which he experienced as he grew up but because music was important to the country's heritage. 

"When we make music, we always talk about what affects us at that moment. Look at the music from Dorothy Masuka and Miriam Makeba – they were healing the nation through music," the Kalawa Jazmee Records co-founder said. "They were not allowed to go into towns, but their music was celebrated." 

"When we started doing Kwaito, we said we're no longer doing these political but rather celebrating who we were as young people. You can see that happening again now with the lifestyle of Amapiano; it's become a global trend because the young people are saying this how we live in South Africa, our lifestyle is like this, and we live it through our music." 

Despite his extensive music catalogue, Mdlongwa said one of his favourite songs which paid tribute to South Africa's heritage was the Pata Pata remix, Makeba, which he worked on with Bongo Maffin. 

LISTEN TO MAKEBA HERE: 

"It stands out for me because the original song is from the 1960s, but we brought it back in the early 2000s as something else," he said. 

Collaborating with other artists, he added, was something he felt was important as it assisted artists who were still on the rise to "realise who they are". 

"Being part of the movement is just to help other young people realise who they are, and they have gone on to become a business," he said. "The highlight of helping is that you pass it on to someone else, then it multiples to something else." 

Artists who were living up to this, Mdlongwa said, included DJ Zinhle, DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small, among others. 

"We're seeing the evolution of the music industry." 

The DJ and producer said the evolution was also visible in South African artists being able to break into the international stage. 

"It's been very hard for South Africa to make it on the world stage," he said. "But through social media and music streaming platforms, local music is now more accessible." 

"Now that we've seen Amapiano has become the biggest export in terms of music, I think people are still going to be surprised."  



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