PJ Powers, Nomzamo Mbatha and other Mzansi celebs curate ‘30 Years of Freedom’ playlists

PJ Powers. Picture: Instagram

PJ Powers. Picture: Instagram

Published Apr 9, 2024


South African icons in the sport, fashion, music, business and arts industries have come together in a campaign to celebrate our country’s three decades of freedom.

Put together by Apple Music, the “30 Years of Freedom” campaign sees legends such as PJ Powers, Nomzamo Mbatha, Benni McCarthy, Connie Chiume, Laduma Ngxokolo, Rich Mnisi, Melanie Bala, Arno Carstens, Sylvester Chauke, Brenda Mthambo, Musa Keys and Gregory Maqoma, create music playlists that they think have defined these last 30 years of freedom.

In true Mbatha style, the actress chose to curate songs that are “deeply nostalgic” to her.

Her playlist includes 38 songs from TKZee’s, “Dlala Mapantsula” to ”Fairytale“ by Liquideep, as well as songs from the late AKA and Zahara, Mafikizolo, Malaika and Thandiswa Mazwai.

She also included Grammy-award winning artists Tyla and Davido to her playlist.

The “Shaka Ilembe” actress and producer said: “These artists have given us a lifetime of memories. There are people who make music, and then there are artists. These folks … these folks are artists.

“The originality, the audacious ambition, the swag, the glorious grounding in the places they take us, it’s unmatched.

Award-winning actress Nomzamo Mbatha. Picture: Supplied

“It also reminds me of December summer days of gqom hitting the speakers, where I’m grateful for the chance to live in a new renaissance of this country.

“They remind me that South Africa has always and will always create music that unifies and solidifies lifetime memories,” shared Mbatha.

“Jabulani” hitmaker PJ Powers added 30 songs to her playlist. She went with songs that resonated with her, including the likes of Brenda Fassie, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba to her list.

“We have such a beautiful, culturally diverse country that if someone listened to this playlist they would think I was musically schizophrenic.

PJ Powers. Picture: Supplied

“The truth is all these artists have added to the fusion of sound that we are able to so proudly call South African music. I believe together with new emerging artists, these artists and their music will continue to shape South African culture.”

Meanwhile, South African football legend Benni McCarthy earmarked some of the biggest tracks from local artists, alongside his own music collaborators.

Artists include Mandoza, AKA, Brenda Fassie, Mi Casa and Trompies among others.

Benni McCarthy. Picture: Supplied

“These songs take me back to my childhood memories, growing up in the Cape Flats. These were the songs that gave you hope and aspirations of one day making a difference in people’s lives.

“It was all about making a success of your life and dreaming about becoming famous just like them. It was all about rising out of poverty and seemingly having no future or opportunity, to making a good life for yourself and your family.”

Celebrated designer Rich Mnisi shared that his playlist featured “multiple generations of home-grown creativity”.

Rich Mnisi. Picture: Supplied

“(It’s) represented by predominantly three genres born and developed here: kwaito, amapiano and gqom.

“It’s made up of voices that built South Africa’s musical legacy and birthed these descendant sounds, alongside the voices doing new things with the incredible legacy left to us.”