News & events


Rhythms of Life: Youth and popular culture in a changing South Africa

18 March 2016
13:00 - 15:30

Date:     18 March 2016
Time:     13:00 to 15:30

Venues in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town


Dr Quentin Williams (University of the Western Cape):
The Localization of “Beef” as Genre and Youth Multilingualism in Cape Town Hip-Hop”
Ms. Shanleigh Roux (University of the Western Cape):
The localization of global tattoo culture as a form of youth culture among female university students in Cape Town
Dr Daniela Goeller (University of Johannesburg):
Black masculinity in South Africa: Pantsula, swenking, isbhujwa, and isikothane
Dr Andrew Babson (University of Pennsylvania): House Nation:
Learning about Black youth (and myself) as a house DJ in South Africa, 2005-2008

Chair: Dr Benita Moolman (Human Sciences Research Council)

Download presentations below:

South African youth are in a unique and challenging transitory space that presents continuities with the past, yet simultaneously offering a moment in which new and different ways of being and doing are possible. How do young people engage this new, transitory space with all its contradictions? What are the tools that they use and the channels that they navigate to create alternatives? What are the contemporary cultural and linguistic practices that signify the ‘breaks from the past’ yet encourage social solidarities and create alternative imaginings of being South African? 

In the age of neo-liberalism, technology and social media, there are spaces for new and different cultural practices to emerge. Cultural practices are now shaped through an engagement with technology and virtual identities. These cultural practices include disruptive performances of the ‘self’ and creates new meanings and shape new cultural horizons. These popular shifts in the production of the self, emphasises notions of performance, an increased hyper-visualisation of the body, new multilingual practice, and seductive consumerism. What does the opening up of new technological and commercial spheres mean in practical, social, political, symbolic, and economic terms for the makers of popular youth cultures? What are these spheres and are their rewards accessible and who are excluded?

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein  as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.


Cape Town : HSRC, 12th Floor, Plein Park Building (Opposite Revenue Office), Plein Street, Cape Town. Contact Jean Witten, Tel (021) 4668004,
Fax (021) 461 0299, or or Estelle Krishnan or Tel: 021 4668070

Durban :  The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001 , Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or or Hlengiwe Zulu at e-mail;

Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail: