but without the floral shirts and bell-bottom pants
While the current wave of music dominating nightlife and event dance floors ranges from amapiano to afro house, local disc jockeys styled ‘Shaft People’ are sticking to what they know best – funk music. The duo continues to carve their own groove with what they consider timeless music.
They are keen on generating a vibe that feels different because when they were growing up, their parents always enjoyed such tunes. “Funk is jazz, funk is soul, and it is music that is era-defining. We grew up on it and when we die, we will still leave it behind as beautiful as ever. It does not change. It speaks to you. It makes you dance. We love that underground lifestyle because that is what we live. So we wanted to play music that makes us feel good,” the duo stated.
Inclining to this genre did not come by coincidence but through years of observing how Botswana’s deejaying landscape lacked these sounds. “Everyone playlists what is popular, so we decided to be unique in our approach, says the duo. “It took some time for people to warm up to us. But when we finally cracked the ice, it was all love. Some people are still surprised that we choose to play this kind of music but there’s nothing like it.”
Often bringing a nostalgic feel the moment they press Play on the decks, there’s a bit of disconnect because the two do not dress in accordance with their music of choice. When you would expect wide afros, floral shits and bell-bottom pants from the 1970s and ’80s, they are in Dickies khaki pants, print shirts and the occasional bucket hat. They call it street swag. “Just like the music we play, our style of dress is simple,” Shaft People stated . “The impression we want to make comes from what people see and say.”
To-date, they have played in Mbabane and Johannesburg and have featured at GIMC’s Jazz Festival, playing alongside outstanding musicians like the late Tshepo Tshola. In their quest to revive funk in where it is not common, they have met a few stumbling blocks on the way. “Like many artists, we encounter problems,” the DJ tag team explained. “Sometimes we meet bad promoters who don’t pay. At times the shows do not have great sound. Another challenge is that people think funk is not for Saturdays. They liken the music we play to laid back Sunday afternoons. But this is everyday music for every occasion.”
Their upcoming projects include going into music production: “We have merchandise in the pipeline. We are producing our own songs. People have much to look out for if our plans go well. We are excited about the future in this genre that we believe is broad and doesn’t become dull.”
Shaft People currently issue out “Shaft People Mix Sessions” on their podcast on the platform www.hearthis.at.