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by Erin Clark. Images by Roxzy Lok / 25.03.2010

Ree-Burth is an alternative rock band from Soweto that are getting some major support from Vice magazine, Sipho Hotstix Mabuse and the closet rockers of Pimville – their home town. They are a standard four piece suit: vocals, guitar, bass and drums. While on a whirlwind tour of Cape Town they got on the bill at Mercury Live and ended up opening for the people who opened for Hog Hoggidy Hog.

It was punk night at the Mercury. Scanning the room one would notice that there are not that many punks around anymore. Did they all die of tetanus? Do they prefer to pop in a CD from the good old days and mosh with their boeps, in front of their kids, in the comfort of their own living rooms? Did they finally realize that they can’t dress like that forever? We’ll never know, because spotting a converted punk is like finding Wally, innit? Doesn’t really matter though, there were enough misunderstood yoots, emo teens and people who haven’t seen the Hogs perform in a while to fill the joint.

The problem with Ree-Burth is that they’re half-baked. Not shit enough to write-off entirely. But also not good enough to rave about without being dishonest. If a band is terrible then at least I would have something real to say, even more if they are good, but what do you say when they are so perfectly in between?

There is nothing really unique about Ree-Burth’s style. Yes, we know they are black guys playing rock and roll, but what has that got to do with their music? Ree Burth plays a passable type of Alternative rock that leans heavily towards punk. Listening to them play you would never believe that these boys come from the kasi, because their sound is straight out of Edenvale. Sadly, they tend to sound like a lot of other rock bands. In their music there isn’t a single thread that leads back to the fact that they are black guys from Soweto making rock music. And there should be, because that’s all everyone seems to be harping on about. Maybe it’s too much to expect traditional African rhythms to intrude on their rock ‘n roll or to hear the sounds of mbaqanga or kwela creep in-between the riffs, but for goodness sake do something different, anything that’ll distinguish you from the rest. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

To their credit; the drummer is very talented, he was the driving force through their set, I like how he layed off on the cymbles: the artistic restraint of a true musician.

Harari, Blk Jks and the nameless others who came before them made a name with their music and skill, not their address.

Crowd shows love, Mahala journalist not so sure

All images © and courtesy Roxzy Lok.

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  1. G5K5 says:

    Oi, Editor or sub – what’s going on here? –

    “Listening to them play you would never believe that these boys come from the kasi, because their sound is straight out of Edenvale. in a citigolf to do so.”

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  2. tara says:

    sometimes you’re a bit rough in your descriptions, like you’re writing from the perspective of a musician who already understands the musical nuances…which you are….because you’re a damn fine one. but, i must say – you made the all time remark, that anyone will understand if they’re concentrating: “but for goodness sake do something different, anything that’ll distinguish you from the rest. Isn’t that what it’s all about?” nice. very nice.

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  3. Anonymous says:


    you a fag. seen worse typos in a dostoevsky novel

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  4. Dave says:

    “Harari, Blk Jks and the nameless others who came before them”…
    you haven’t even named these guys….
    For example, Ree-Burth’s guitarist Tshepo Mohapi is actually the son of Harari’s lead guitarist and singer ‘Funky’ Masike Mohapi, and neighbour of Harari leader Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse (no, not “Mabusa”).
    nice pics anyway

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  5. on the fence says:

    Yeah they were not very original… very good as individuals but as a band, nothing exciting.

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  6. Andy says:

    Thanks to all the commentators – you guys are the last line of subbing defence… I’ve fixed all they typos you’ve so kindly pointed out. Erin will answer your criticisms

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  7. RoxzyLok says:

    @Dave Thanks!

    I really loved these guys! also alot of the crowd were first time listerner and they all instant fans.

    I’d rather be a crowd pleaser than a ‘critic’ pleaser:)

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  8. tara says:

    id rather be pleasing my own musical integrity, the crowd and the critic.
    it is possibly you know.

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  9. Wooof says:

    These guys where great !!!!! CANT WAIT TO SEE THEM AGAIN! Is there an album in the pipeline?

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  10. Matthew says:

    I love how it’s taken as fact now that Blk Jks made a name with their “music and skill”. Until a year ago they had fucked around in Joburg for 8 years releasing one rubbish 5-track EP and being called the next big thing every week. To say they didn’t benefit from the same thing these guys are feeding off is ridiculous.

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  11. ms blaque says:

    for a music critique you sure are a one track minded and shallow opiniated ameteur…to have an opinion it needs to be backed up with facts and reference, which you so utterly lack…first of all your residence or place of origin is not a recipe for the type of music you produce-it will certainly not influence the sound…coming from soweto does not automatically mean you have to have the sounds of mbaqanga or a kasi flavour to it, music is music. secondly blk jks are not in any way related to ree-burth and so trying to compare the two is like trying to convince a biologist that a fruit is a vegetable……i think your lack of knowledge definitely adds no credibility to your article and the reason why ree-burth has been so hyped up because they are from soweto is not cause of the address but how they did not use soweto to determine their sound but rather their love for rock music.. mind you that it is not the band raving about where they come from, its their fans, simply because of their raw talent…this band rocks and they will be the next big thing regardless of where they reside….

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  12. ms blaque says:

    Listening to them play you would never believe that these boys come from the kasi, because their sound is straight out of Edenvale….you are right about the fact that tou wud never guess where they come from but to say that they are from edenvale further demonstrates the ignorance in your statements….so please elloborate yhe edenvale sound so we can all be in the same boat.

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  13. […] venues over the years. Here are some of my favorite images I’ve taken of Fokofpolisiekar, Ree-Burth and […]

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  14. crazy-pulse says:

    ree-burth rocks,it daznt mean if u 4rm natal ur rnb shud hv a lil bit of maskandi or mbaqanga,they jst doin it as it iz,they playin rock muzik

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  15. phatz says:

    I saw these guys for first time at X at the waterfront. Open air and not great equipment but boy did they get my attention. These okes are guys that need to be kept a close eye on. I love their stuff and the metal influence is great to see.

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  16. oskiedoh says:

    We should celebrate music as it come, embrace it to the core and especially if its South African artist, because music has no color to it. So fo Reeburth being a rock band and playing that kinda music and get hyped up with it says a a lot about them, introducing rock to a different community both ekasi and surbubs and which is black and white people. To merge them means also breaking the line that this a music that has color if you could listen to it very closely u could hear different influences from jimmy Hendrix, the drumming is also having a jazzy fill and hardness to it with a calypso rhythmic element in some of their songs. Well they still need to be brewed up in terms of growing their style to a certain peak that will give them a signature to their music. I can potential in them but they need to be cooked well, if so they will go places and amaze people…..

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  17. Andy says:

    what a load of shit oskiedoh. South African artists don’t need to be spoonfed and protected. They need to be critiqued honestly. If they’re kak, the critic should say so and not pussy foot around the subject and try to protect them from harsh criticism just because they’re south african and ag shame, they’re trying.

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  18. […] of apartheid, acts such as Bloodbeast, Junkyard Lipstick, Juggernaught, Facing The Gallows, Ree-Burth,Chromium, ING, Conqueror, and many more, have not only begun to carve and expand a niche in their […]

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