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The Afrikaaps performing artist shares the process behind is upcoming locally inspired album

Written by Themba Kriger

What led you to work on this project?

Every project has a rationale. For me, it starts with a problem statement. Over the years I’ve been looking for beats to rap to. I’m obviously not going to do something that’s generic, because my rhymes are not generic, there’s always a story to tell.

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Jitsvinger is an established Cape Flats-born conceptual writer, composer, guitarist, educator, musician, poet and performing artist. After the success of his debut album, Skeletsleutel, Jitsvinger has collaborated with classical musicians, jazz nominees, pioneers and legends, and has performed on stages and in festivals both locally in his home country of South Africa and internationally including Taiwan, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Chile. He has composed and written music for theatre productions and film. Jitsvinger is a social commentator on issues concerning heritage, culture, and especially the Afrikaans language.

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Jitsvinger is a keen collaborator and since entering the music landscape has collaborated with jazz musicians and singers, an opera singer, classical performers, rock bands and many more.

Jitsvinger is part of the Swiss/South Africa inter-continental exchange project, Rogue State, which produced two recorded albums and included a tour through Switzerland.

Celebrating their musical heritage and culture, Jitsvinger and beatmaker and Hip Hop producer Arsenic (Gary Erfort) make up the duo Jitsenic. The collaboration sees the amalgamation of traditional South African jazz brought together with a Hip Hop twist.

Afrikaaps, an award-winning hip-hopera, is a theatre production that traces the Creole history of the Afrikaans language revealing the dynamics and constant evolution of this language. Jitsvinger forms part of the multi-talented musical cast of rappers, singers, B-boys, poets and musicians. Afrikaaps has toured the Netherlands and has had a successful theatre run in Cape Town. The production continues to educate through a specially-produced DVD and soundtrack.

Jitsvinger and Cape Town legendary jazz composer and pianist, Mervyn Africa, joined forces to create Smoortjies and Smoothies, an inter-generational dialogue between two artists of different generations sharing their proudly homegrown musical recipes in a blend of Hip Hop and African piano mixed with Goema, Cape jazz, West-African and choral music.

Described as “a festive exuberance interspersed with intimate songs,” Jitsvinger, who also wears the hat of composer, collaborates with the Khayelitsha Mambazo Unite Choir and Ancient Voices bringing together a fusion of choral music with Goema, African chants, Hip Hop, jazz and funk.

Jitsvinger’s art of spoken word and poetry, along with his unique music style, became the catalyst for his ongoing work in education and social programmes. Rooted in social awareness, Jitsvinger has facilitated music, creative writing and poetry workshops with youth in high school and tertiary institutions, prisons, museums and non-governmental organisations.

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