The first amapiano song you heard. The music that first introduced you to the genre most likely does not sound like the most recent tune you’ve heard from it. Perhaps one of amapiano’s biggest qualities, or what distinguishes it from other music genres, is its continual mutation and evolution, particularly over short periods of time. While the genre’s controversial birthplace is frequently pointed to Johannesburg townships, many admirers think that Pretoria townships should be mentioned instead. However, before these contradictory observations, a sound was unmistakably born in the city now known as Tshwane.

With songs like “Township Funk,” “Tobetsa,” “Casablanca,” and “Mugwanti,” performers and DJs/producers including DJ Mujava, DJ Spoko, House Station, Mzo Bullet, and others pioneered Bacardi house and what was generally known as “sgubhu saPitori” during the 2000s. Because of these era-defining songs, many prominent amapiano performers, notably those from Pretoria, have hailed Mujava as an inspiration. “We are the children of Mujava,” Focalistic, who is constantly vocal about the influence of Bacardi house on his music, claimed in an interview with French journal Pan African Music.

The once popular bacardi house vibe is having a revival thanks to amapiano. This second coming and merger of the two genres first appeared in mid-2021 on tracks like the newly officially released (but leaked) smash single “Trust Fund” by DJ Maphorisa (& Madumane), Kabza De Small, Focalistic, and the late Mpura, produced by Mellow & Sleazy.

Pretorian producers have combined the two sounds, employing characteristic Bacardi snares and hi-hats,” says the super-producer.

Reporter: Palesa Maneli

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