SA’s 50 best videos of the decade - the first 10

Our film, production and creative industries have grown in leaps and bounds, and one place where real visual magic happens is in the format of the music video. It’s the perfect form of accessible art - a two to five minute product that conveys a creative vision in the most aesthetically pleasing, surprising, challenging, or emotive way.

#Trending has been working for weeks deciding on 50 music videos we think deserve to be mentioned among South Africa’s 50 best music videos of this decade. It's all about celebrating the industry and recognising the music video as a legitimate form of art. We asked the public, other publications, as well as industry practitioners which videos they thought should be included. The picks are across all genres, and the only criteria was that the video should have been released between 2007 and now, and that the artist should be South African, or that their creative career was shaped in South Africa (for instance musician Tresor).

We have decided to release our 50 picks in batches of 10 every week. Please note that the videos here are not ranked, but that our top 10 will be chosen out of the 50 listed and appear in ranked order in the final week.

So, without further ado, the first 10 videos on the list:

Nakhane: Fog
Director: Mark Middlewick
A simple concept used to emotive effect, stark lighting and the dramatic use of black and white is why Nakhane’s Fog makes it on the list. His video for The Plague also deserves a special mention.

Cassper Nyovest feat Goapele: Destiny
Director: Kyle Lewis
Though not especially conceptual, Nyovest’s latest video Destiny is on the list due to its production. As slick as any mega-budget video you’d see in the US, it takes local music video quality to another level. Note: Kyle Lewis is a director we predict will appear more than once on this list.

Toya Delazy: Heart
Director: Jeana Theron
Though many local artists have used stop motion to great effect in their videos, we think Toya does it the best in this video for Heart. Its cheery aesthetic can't help but make us smile.

Thor Rixon: Fuk Bread
Director: David East
Electronic artist Thor Rixon brings us this deliciously weird single-shot video that features muted tones and an avant-garde aesthetic. Rixon has several visually superb videos, all which deserve praise.

Spoek Mathambo: Control
Director: Pieter Hugo
It's slightly lost its jaw-dropping potency since its release in 2011, but Spoek Mathambo ushered in an era of Afrocentric grit with the dark and provocative Control. Thanks to director Pieter Hugo’s masterful use of contrast and stark visuals, it’s a piece of art that dwells with the viewer.

Fantasma: Damn!
Director: Paul Speirs
Damn! is an example of how creatives in the industry manage to create great work on small budgets. Telling the story of inter-generational violence, it’s a piece of work that packs a punch. If we see music videos as reflecting issues within our society, then Damn! does a damn good job.

Elo Zar: Be It
Director: Tebogo Malope
Stylised, avant-garde, and deliciously pink, Be It deserves praise for its modern art aesthetic and fashion photography feel.

Riky Rick feat Frank Casino: Family
Director: Adriaan Louw
Family makes the list for its pure embrace of the hip-hop aesthetic and the energy of the streets. With its grainy visuals and retro feel, it’s a video that acts as a tribute to a genre, and its fans. Adriaan Louw’s output of work, especially for hip-hop artists, deserves the highest praise.

Dookoom: Larney Jou Poes
Director: Dane Dodds
A controversial pick, Larney Jou Poes bristled viewers and was even threatened with legal action by AfriForum. If the music video’s job is to provoke, then no one did it better than Dookom. Controversial subject matter aside, its unconstrained rage and in-your-face cinematography make it a visual feat that deserves recognition.

Nonku Phiri: Branko
Director: Francisco Neffe
Out-of-the-box dance sequences and lovely, sun-saturated shots puts Nonku Phiri’s Branko on the list. It’s a dreamy, surreal ode to city living and an example of how to show African cities without dipping into stereotypes.

  • Remember to check the City Press website next week when the next 10 videos in the top 50 will be revealed
  • If you have a music video that you simply love and think should be on this list, please email us at Please include a link of the video as well as a sentence or two on why you think it deserves praise
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