Together, London musician, Arthur Collier, SLF and these talented township musicians have created a collaborative album, State of the Nation, which is due for release in June 2019.


Cape Town, South Africa – A Cape Town-based non-profit, Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation has embarked on a groundbreaking music project, Lively Hoods to Livelihoods, that is putting South Africa’s depth of township music talent on the map!

The project showcases South African township talent, presenting music as a viable livelihood activity and having a positive impact on the township economy. This project culminates in a live performance at AfrikaBurn 2019, followed by the release of a collaborative album called “State of the Nation”, and finally a documentary telling the artists’ stories and documenting the process of this project.

“Without support and exposure, I can’t promote my music beyond the township I live in” – Bongs, Thabong

The Lively Hoods to Livelihoods project emerged as a result of a 9,000km research trip throughout South Africa’s nine provinces, where researchers from SLF uncovered a considerable number of talented township musicians, who revealed the need to promote their music beyond the local context to bolster their success.

The team initially identified 50+ musicians, with whom they began strategising a project to build on their talents and positively impact South Africa’s township economy.

“Without the contacts, getting ahead is almost impossible” – Tremaine, Kimberley

SLF’s process of artist evaluation and recording, in collaboration with London musician Arthur Collier, has allowed the team to showcase this talent and co-produce an album.

The collaborative album, “State of the Nation” reflects on contemporary South Africa 25 years into democracy and includes a wide variety of musical influences and artistic impressions from poetry, Rap, R&B, ballads and breakbeats. Furthermore, in collaboration with Substance Films, we are making a documentary of this process, detailing the travel, encounters, artists’ stories, recording and release of the project.

“This is my chance for my music to reach a broader audience” – G Major, Langa

After many months of writing and recording, these artists are ready to go live – on stage at AfrikaBurn, a prominent week-long South African festival, in May 2019. This platform will not only give them the exposure they deserve but the opportunity to network and grow as artists.

For a taste of their talent, check out these sneak previews of “Old Shanty Town” and “Rand Theft Auto”- songs which will be on the upcoming album, “The State of The Nation”. To find out more about this project and to pledge your support, click here.

SLF works with marginalised urban communities across South Africa tackling complex development challenges and co-creating workable solutions to strengthen community safety, public health and economic livelihoods. This project brings together SLF’s research, engagement and innovation programs in a new and exciting way.

Sources: Lively Hoods to Livelihoods
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