South African Kwaito Hit maker and Superstar is our February ICON, one of South Africa’s prominent name in the Kwaito music Genre history.
Arthur’s style and controversial stories in the media is what makes his fans even celebrate him more. Arthur Mafokate is the son of Olympic equestrian and entrepreneur Enos Mafokate, born in Lebowakgom, Limpopo Province and his family later moved to nearby Chiawelo, in Soweto. He became a backing dancer for artists including Brenda Fassie, Son of Monwa and Son and Johnny Makholi.
Mafokate is particularly significant for breaking economic barriers that hampered South African artists of previous generations. By becoming owner of 999 Records, Mafokate broke economic barriers and helped bring kwaito into a new era. “‘ The presence of independent companies is a hallmark of kwaito’s evolution, signifying, in the case of people like Mafokate… a growing Black economic empowerment within the music industry.”‘
In addition to his economic success he is also unique for helping to broaden kwaito’s appeal internationally. “Arthur impact on the overseas marker is relevant, with a promotional performance in Spain, knocking the socks off the sometimes jaded international music.”
Mafokate, credited as the King of Kwaito, was recognised for his contribution to this new generation of music at the 2007 FNB South African Music Awards. His victory in the ‘Song of the Year’ category, depicts the peculiar popularity of a music genre which does not analyse the historical black struggle like traditional South African music has often done.
The genre of Kwaito music resulted from “the lifting of sanctions in South Africa which provided musicians with easier access to international music tracks and a radical revision of censorship, while the easing political situation allowed for greater freedom of expression. Freedom of expression meant that for the first time, the youth of South Africa could make their voices heard”. Making his voice heard through the song Oyi Oyi, Mafokate hit a particular note with South African audiences “in a year when the competition was strong, indicating his enduring appeal for his hundreds of thousands of fans”. Unlike the often apolitical characteristics of kwaito music,
Mafokate does address the lower class black experience in South Africa in much of his music as is revealed in the lyrics of “Kaffir”. Mafokate describes his success in these words:
“I commit myself in everything that I do. Give me a script now to portray a character, for example, and you’ll see my dedication. I’d never claim my looks have anything to do with my success. It’s entirely what comes from within me”.