It focusses primarily on the genre known as bubblegum or disco. The vast majority of this music was never digitized and remains largely inaccessible. Most of the labels that released the music have long since folded or been bought out by larger companies, while many of the artists themselves have passed on or are living in relative obscurity. Only a small amount of this music was ever available outside the country, due largely to South Africa’s international isolation during the apartheid era. Yet the local music industry thrived during the 1980s, with many local artists enjoying huge sales and enthusiastic support from fans throughout Southern and East Africa.
Beyond bubblegum, AFRO-SYNTH also covers other genres from the same time and place, such as soul, jazz, reggae, hip-hop, kwaito, traditional genres like mbaqanga and maskandi, as well as music from other Southern African countries, including Zimbabwe and DR Congo.
Curated from the collection of Johannesburg-based DJ OKAPI, the aim of the blog is to provide an online presence to the music and musicians of a hugely vibrant yet largely forgotten era - at least through words and images if not always sounds - before their legacy is lost forever.