Scenes From South Africa: A Rooftop Braai

For the latest glimpse into South Africa’s burgeoning underground, we’re showing you an authentic South African braai on a rooftop in Jo’burg.

January 29, 2014

For Obey You Collective: South Africa, the FADER and Sprite are showcasing exciting scenes from South Africa’s eclectic, burgeoning underground. For the latest glimpse into this world, we’re showing you an authentic South African braai, which means "barbecue" or "grill" in Afrikaans. This particular braai was on the vast rooftop of a photo studio in the Maboneng Precinct on the east side of Johannesburg. Much like the nearby Braamfontein neighborhood, Maboneng is on the rise, slowly shedding its once scary, crime-riddled reputation with help from artistic transplants and other adventurous young go-getters. Maboneng — which means "place of light"— has become a warm oasis of urban residences, galleries, showrooms and cafés amidst a somewhat grim industrial sector of the CBD, or central business district.

The braai itself was was essentially an impromptu party amongst friends. Partygoers grilled traditional South African sausages called boerewors while mingling with like-minded city kids: visual artists, hip-hop heads, skaters, designers, street dancers, and more. It was also a great excuse to get all the Obey You Collective featured artists in the same place, including Jo'burg MC OkMalumKoolKat, who performed at the braai with his rap supergroup Boyzn Bucks. Set against the industrial backdrop of Maboneng, the braai provided a brief, joy-filled collision of three distinct versions of downtown Johannesburg: its gritty past, the dynamic present — and based on the level of young talent that turned up — a promising future. “Not to sound cheesy," says youth culture specialist Anthea Poulos, "but it's grown into this place we’ve always kind of dreamed that it could be.”

Watch the full video recap above, featuring the appropriately boisterous track "Papap! Papap!" by OkMalumKoolKat's electronic duo Dirty Paraffin. Keep tabs on all the Obey You Collective: South Africa coverage over at, and check back later this week for an interview with pastelheart, a 24-year-old graffiti artist from the South African seaside.

Scenes From South Africa: A Rooftop Braai