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Word Up – A Hip Hop Documentary – Exclusive Preview – By Rush


27 December 2003 No Comment

Word Up is a local hip hop documentary crafted by some students from Rhodes University in Grahamstown. I just got word that it won the finals of a short story documentary in Dubai. I was honored to get a copy of the video and view it within the comfort of my room.  Read more and download video snippets.

The documentary should be aired on our local t.v. channel soon. Shot in Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth respectively it takes a look at hip hop’s influence on kids in South Africa and more precisely kids in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The video is a beautiful look into how the art of hip hop is influencing people on the most southern tip of Africa it features local breaking crews Bionic Breakers (Grahamstown) and Execution Style (Port Elizabeth) taking us through some steps on what dedication is needed to respect not only the wooden floor but the art of b-boyin.

Narrated by Africasgateway forum crooner known to us as Sunchild renamed Kamma (check khoisan literature meaning reflection) he walks down the streets of dusty Grahamstown taking us into a hip hop paradigm talking about the elements of hip hop and how it transcended from dances and readings of our ancestors to modern day poetry glorified intensely through media conglomerates.

The documentary focuses on six individuals and their praises of what hip hop means to them and how they use it in there daily lives.  It’s a truthful look at some words that came right out of the horses mouths. Hip hop deejay extraordinaire Ready D even features in the documentary and delivers a motivational speech showing us what hip hop has done for him and how he would like to give back some education that is not provided by our school system. What makes the documentary so beautiful is that it was shot on location in Grahamstown showing us that hip hop is even living in the most unlikely place, guess Eugene Tereblanche and his AWB members are hearing the sounds of Aesop, P.O.C and all these new age hip hoppers.

The documentary shows the dedication by its producers to get the real insight into this “new” genre that has exploded this year we can see by the amount of business minded fuckers trying to commercialize the art.  Sensei Tate (Rhodes Music Radio Dj) drops an epic about Ready D and the part the dj plays for the mcee and keeping the crowd alive inbetween set changes, every element basically plays a role in keeping the art intact. Lindiwe Matshikaza brings the female touch needed so badly within this art with some insightful discussion on a topic that always seems to surface when it comes to females in hip hop, if you don’t know what we talking about check ya Foxy Brown and Lil Kim cd’s.

Word up should definitely be shown in schools across the country a good look at hip hop in South Africa, running at just about 20 minutes it packs a lot of information for a short storied documentary.


J-Bux performing on stage
Download Here (Right Click & Save) Real Media Video File 152KB

Eastern Cape B-Boys
Download Here (Right Click & Save) Real Media Video File 297KB


Bionic Breakers
Execution Style
Ian Keulder (Kamma)
Ready D
Sensei Tate
Lindiwe Matshikazi
Abantu Plaatjies
Denver Swanepoel aka Flip
Rob Boffard


Alishia Naidoo

Camera :

Sean Mackenzie
Cyrus Rogers

Producer :

Antoinette Arde


Gregg Watt


Andrew D’ercole

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