How Afrogrunge started and the inspiration behind it
Afrogrunge started when I [Anita Hlazo] was around 13 to 14 years old. When you’re a teenager you usually have your odd traits. Mood swings, identity crisis, you want to explore and come out of your shell. You go through a lot and most times it feels like you’re the only person on this Earth going through it. My case was worse since I was surrounded by older people. My mom gave birth to me when she turned 30 so imagine my cousins were much older and the ‘kids’ I grew up with were in their late teens, early 20’s. This meant I didn’t have much relation to kids my age including the common trend within my community amongst the youth during those years [2011/2012]
I subscribed to studs, piercings, thrifting, individuality, skateboarding, uniqueness. I openly loved hip hop and I secretly enjoyed rock music. I would save up money and buy music magazines, second hand books at Mabu Vynil, then it was on Kloof Street.
‘Floor markets’ in different hoods were the best for second hand clothing. I have done a lot of bending and arm-working through a bunch of clothes in that era. My biggest buy ever was a skateboard in a store situated in Long Street. I also collected spray cans but it became an expensive curiosity that I was not even skilled for.
Leo Dube, who I would chat to almost everyday on Mxit led me to a my first designer store experience. i went to a shop in upper Cape Town, now near DAF, where I got my first ever designer piece. The designer rented a garage, I could see the garage door which had a side entry way, the store was vintage inspired, with vintage furniture, a mix of vintage clothing, designer pieces and lots of accessories up for sale. I picked out a few items [I just remembers them – a white cropped top with a wide neckline , that when I wore would fall off one shoulder, it had a black heart shaped made from lace and stitched on to the center front of the top. I also picked up a lepard print high waisted, staight leg pants, i think by now you can imagine my bold and weird style – anyway I asked if I could try them on. I will never foret this. The lady stood up and pulled a floor to ceiling curtain one end of the space to the middle, went on the pther far end and pulled it to the middle, and thats it, that was the changing room. Litteraly has of the store was my changing room, i was so shocked and excited at the same time. I heard her voice saying i could try anything else I liked.
After that experience I modelled my first imaginary store with this designer store as the blueprint and that’s where the need for a unique name accelerated. I long for such a space and experience again. I hope I can create something similar. I need to in this life time.
To sum it up, Afrogrunge’s inspiration ad its aesthetic was me, my experiences, and curiosity. The drive to fashion my body how I wanted to and exploration. Exploration outside the hood and in online spaces. Afrogrunge was actually Afro Grunge some people still write it like that. Afro described me, black, from elokishini. Grunge was everything else, sound, style, mood, feeling different from everyone else – eGugulethu- again, my expiriences. Afro and Grunge best described who I was. 14 January 2023