Punk Rock in Soweto: Photography by Karabo Mooki
Punk Rock: Soweto
In 2016, I devoted months shooting the rise of counterculture in Soweto, South Africa, and documenting TCYIF, a punk band largely responsible for spearheading the movement. Our shared mornings would begin at a small residential house infamously known as “The Dogg Pound” in Dube, Soweto. The hours that passed would take us on meaningless adventures from the garage (where jam sessions were held) into the nooks and crannies of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest township. TCIYF’s relationship with the pulse of the township is tightly tethered to their belief in celebrating black counterculture. TCIYF continue to demonstrate their dedication to cultivating a scene that is typically taboo, breaking the mold for what is expected from black youth that are born and raised in townships.
Punk rock and skateboarding are keeping the youth inspired and unafraid of pursuing their dreams in an environment that is not receptive to “white music and white sports” — without public scrutiny or fear of being stereotyped. This movement is something that I have documented through the lives of the gatekeepers of the punk movement in Soweto. The unlikely role models of The Cum in Your Face (TCIYF) have influenced their community and outsiders, bridging borders through what many may deem as anti-establishment and noncon-formative forms of self-expression, similar to the rebellious nature of great South African artists — such as Brenda Fassie, Hugh Masekela, and Lucky Dube — who rebelled against the apartheid regime through their music.
This group of punk rockers continue to inspire young black children and adults from the townships to the suburbs, debunking stereotypes and the misconceived identity the world has of punk rock, and the one-dimensional perception that the genre is only white accessible. —Karabo Mooki