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Black Diamonds

Black Diamonds

(p.161) Six Black Diamonds
Kwaito's Promise
Gavin Steingo
University of Chicago Press

Within Soweto, musicians are largely immobile and the music that they produce is seldom heard beyond the borders of the township. But kwaito is simultaneously a mass mediated popular music. What are the mechanisms through which kwaito is distributed widely? What are the routes that kwaito travels? In order to answer these questions, this chapter shifts the analytical lens to another social stratum: the black middle-class. Members of this class, known locally as “black diamonds,” move comfortably between township and suburb, and between various social strata. Largely responsible for the production of music qua commodity, black diamonds co-ordinate the institutional and organizational networks through which kwaito circulates. By linking or connecting groups of musicians throughout the country, these culture brokers generate a plenum of aesthetic sensory experience that cuts across linguistic, ethnic, and class divisions.

Keywords:   black diamond, middle-class, mobility, circulation, aesthetic experience

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