Exhibition showcases SA hip hop history

Grand Master Ready D, formerly from Lentegeur, with his niece’s daughter Isabella Jean.

A Mitchell’s Plain collaboration has brought hip hop and its South African founders back to their home town in an artwork celebration.

Social re-engineering group RLabs and Great Cape Ambassadors Program (G–CAP), a non-profit organisation, have over the last two months showcased “The Music Beyond The Flames” art exhibition at RLabs House in Westridge.

The last exhibition was at the First Thursday open RLabs House on Thursday April 6.

Their hard work pieces together the remnants of vinyl collection, history and iconic clothing, newspaper clippings and relics of hip hop belonging to Deon Daniels, better known as Grandmaster Ready D.

Parts of the grandmaster’s and his neighbours’ houses, in Southfield, burned after his faulty garage motor caught alight on October 16 as concluded by a forensic investigation team.

The exhibition showcases burned items, which holds special significance with the introduction and cultivation of hip hop culture in South African since the 1980s.

A plaque in the RLabs House, adjacent to artefacts, reads: “Each piece had a powerful story attached to it, moving people physically and deep within their souls. One in particular – Prophets of Da City and their international pressings also fell victim to the fire”.

The fire claimed many miscellaneous items, including two motorsport cars, a lifetime collection of DJ Ready D’s vinyls, approximately 5 000s LPs.

Mr Daniels and his wife Malikah founded G-Cap projects, which drives home road safety principles through edutainment, via their SR4A (Safer Roads for All) programme.

“We use information and communication technology to address social development. We use technology to capture the hearts and minds of all participants and drive our message of road safety and security on our roads in a fun way thus, getting the message of SR4A ingrained into our participants daily life. Giving young talent a chance to showcase their talent on radio,” said Mr Daniels.

Last week the Grandmaster said he was optimistic and excited about where hip hop was about now.

“Its bigger than what we could have imagined a lot of young people.

“We just need to have a bit of patience with performers and artists, who weren’t introduced to hip hop in the same way we were,” he said.

He said from business stand point a lot of work had to be done to help artists make a living from their talent.

Grandmaster Ready D said it was his family’s blessings, the people he met on his life journey and his never-stop-learning attitude which has kept him grounded and motivated him in the world of hip hop.

Break and street dancer Brandon Petersen, better known as BBoy the Curse, said he has been working alongside Ready D since the early 2000s.

“Myself and Dmitri are also dancers for the Hip Hop collective, Brasse Vannie Kaap which was formed by DJ Ready D, including the late Mr Fat, DJ Hamma, DJ E20, DJ Azuhl and Ramone,” he said.

Concrete Apostles break and street dance crew. Pictured at the back, from left, are Toufeeq Baatjies, from Eastridge, and Alfred Burges, from Kuils River. In front are Dimitri Nell and Brandon Petersen, both from Eerste River.

Last week’s First Thursday also coincided with its first market with local vendors and entrepreneurs.

Local vendor Nur Amien, who sold savouries, said it was huge success.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to share our treats with the community,” he said.

RLabs Champions Kuselwa Ntantiso, from Gugulethu, and Chenique Jacobs, from Eerste River.