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021 B-Boys interview Part 1


23 April 2003 No Comment

Levitation, in a frantic fit to document SA’s fly-kids on the B-Boy scene caught a couple of moments in time (a day before their appearance at the Oppikoppi Festival) with a slightly sleepy Cape Flats representing, 021 B-Boys! Armed with fistfuls of elegant B-Boy finesse, charm and Kaap smarts, the boys shed some light on their place in the whirlwind of international Hip-Hop and how they are holding it down for the mother continent…making moves for the people by any means necessary!

Could you please introduce yourselves, gentlemen?

Shortie: Shortie Blitz, 021 B-Boys
Woukes: Mr Woukes No Jokes, 021 B-Boys
Speedo: Speedo, 021 B-Boys

Could you give us a bit of history on the crew and how it came about?

Shortie: We were(and still are) all dancers for BVK and Ramone was for POC, before even forming 021 B-Boys. So from dancing with BVK and trying to work things out we decided to form the crew. We all came from different crews before forming 021 and since we were already all down with BVK it was just easier for us to hook up. There were some difficulties in working for BVK and then going to the different crews who were splitting up…so by forming 021 it was just to show that unity! 
Woukes: Being together most of the time, we just decided that we should just form our own crew! While the other crews(our previous crews) were like, “Ahh guys, you’ve got to make up your minds”, not realising that it was a benefit for them also because we were promoting the other crews’ names, we just decided that because they didn’t appreciate it we would just form our own crew to uplift our own name! 

What was your first exposure to breaking in Cape Town?

Woukes: The first time? I heard about Ramone years ago, but I wasn’t into it yet and then one day I was chilling at home and saw some b-boys on the TV and a bunch of us, just friends, decided that we were gonna go into this! It went on and on, at school and so on, then I just opened my eyes and it had become a job and I was hooked! 
Shortie: The time when I started to dance it was the in thing in Cape Town and everybody was dancing. If you weren’t a dancer or doing your thing you had to stand outside of the circle, because everybody was jamming on the streets, on the fields, at the schools. So basically seeing all the b-boying, inspired me to dance. 

When was this?

Shortie: Back in ’96!
Woukes: It’s kind of funny how I met Speedo! We had just started, maybe a month or some thing and he would come every time to just chill. We would be like, “Go away, you kids!” and even though he lived far away from us, he would be there everyday! So we thought that we should give him a chance to dance{laughs}. 
Speedo: That is why and how I am here today breaking {laughs}!

In what ways would you say hip-hop has influenced or contributed Cape Town as a city, since it first got there in the 80s?

Shortie: For real, if I wasn’t a B-Boy I would probably be in some gang or something! Through Hip-Hop and B- Boying I was given a positive influence in my life. It kept me away from either becoming crackhead or gangster or any negative elements that are out there in the world and Cape Flats. So I think that it has definitely had a positive impact in my life and Cape Town itself. There are so many B-Boys, where it is like, if they weren’t B-Boys what could they have become?
Woukes: Most gangsters even, have a great respect for the B-Boys for what we have made out of our lives! From my side personally, I was not in the gang…but almost! Those were my school days and it was very difficult to dodge that! 
That is where it all comes from…us using our energies positively!
Shortie: Ja, it’s the alternative to doing negative things, it keeps you busy almost 24/7! You are using you energies positively!

With your experience in the Cape, have you come across many females breaking or generally in Hip-Hop? Are they representing themselves?

Shortie: Well, back in the day there were but times change and so do people’s mind states! I think they tend to grow up and they just don’t feel! 
But they still come through to the jams?
Woukes: Ja, they do! I know that there are a couple of girls from my side of town that are still doing their things and still coming through! Sometimes they get into the breaking but they then get into relationships with other breakers and when things fall apart they get heartbroken and decide to leave the whole thing behind them!
Shortie: Yeah, but for instance Speedo’s sister is a dancer and she’s getting really good!
Speedo: Yeah, I taught her and she’s been dancing for 2 years or something like that! She’s coming along nicely!

You guys have gotten opportunities to travel and tour quite a bit! Can you tell us where you’ve been and what the scenes were like!

Shortie: We were in Germany(Battle of the Year), Belgium, France, Norway… all over Europe!
How was the experience!
Woukes: It was quite different! The guys were like, “Woww, you are from Africa” and they just really want to know about Africa. What they have in their mind is stuff like, “Are you guys living in the jungle?”, “How did you get hooked into B-Boying”… they see it in a whole different way. Over there, they are way ahead of us generally but we can still sometimes beat them! They have a lot of facilities and practice spaces… they practice the whole day, it’s amazing!

Is it set up in such a way that dancers can make a living out of it there?

Woukes: Ja, they do…
Shortie: I suppose they have the financial backing because a lot of the dancers come from well off families! Also, they have the advantages of coming from 1st world countries! We definitely don’t have the luxuries that they do and in that way it is more difficult for us, in the way that we are forced to work much harder than they do! So taking all of that into consideration, it all contributes to where we are(our level) and where they are! 

What places did you enjoy touring most?
Woukes: I would say Belgium and Norway! In Belgium, we performed in front of 15 000 people and were on TV like every hour{laughs} and that was our first time there! The people were very cool and those places were really peaceful! 

What has been your favourite battle so far?

Woukes: For me it was when he(Speedo) was in Azanian Flames and we were in Azanian B-Boys in 1998! That was a tight battle and we didn’t like each other and every time we saw each other there would be a battle! It was like we were the juniors and they were the seniors{laughs}, and every time we saw each other we would try take them out! 
Shortie: My tightest was in ’99 against Black Noise for the Battle of The Year! It was tightest and we took them{laughs}!
Speedo: Mine was Battle 2000 with the Azanian B-Boys!

Interview by Nthato of Levitation Magazine

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