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Mbaqanga is a style of South African music that is usually sung by people from rural areas. Many South African musicians sing and enjoy this type of music. These musicians receive little money, but do it out of enjoyment. Mahlathini, a legend in this music, died poor. The reason for this is that this type of music is mostly listened to by the peoples from the rural areas who do not have access to CDs, records or cassette players, so they do not buy the music to support these musicians.

By the middle of the 1950s, the evolving indigenous South African music exploded in popularity given its increased reach to a massively growing urban population. A typical area was the township of Sophiatown near Johannesburg, which had grown since the 1930s into an area of new urban lifestyles for black city dwellers. Its unsure legal status as a "freehold" area, and its proximity to the urban centre of Johannesburg, Sophiatown attracted adventurous performers of new music and became a seed-bed for the rapidly developing black musical culture.

Thus marabi and kwela have started to come together into what is broadly thought of as mbaqanga. Singing stars such as Miriam Makeba, Dolly Rathebe and Letta Mbulu created a large base of fans. Famous mbaqanga players included Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens and the Soul Brothers.

The cyclic structure of marabi met with traditional dance styles such as the Zulu indlamu, with influences of big band swing. The indlamu input developed into the "African stomp" style, giving a notably African rhythmic impulse to the music and making it quite irresistible to its new audiences.

Such is the power of music that it created a common arena where black people could mingle with adventurous and liberal whites attracted by its vibrancy, becoming an icon for the first real cultural and social interchange between the races to take place in 20th century South Africa.

Eventually the apartheid drive of the white Nationalist government brought this vital era to an end, forcibly removing the inhabitants of Sophiatown to townships such as Soweto, outside Johannesburg, in 1960. Sophiatown was razed and the white suburb of Triomf built in its place; in 2006, the name Sophiatown was restored to the area.

Genres of African popular music
Afrobeat | Apala | Benga | Bikutsi | Highlife | Isicathamiya | Jj | Kwaito | Kwela | Makossa | Mbalax | Mbaqanga | Mbube | Morna | Palm-wine | Ra | Rumba | Soukous/Congo/Lingala | Taarab

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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