I just watched the documentary Searching for Sugar Man, a movie about Rodriguez. In this documentary they said that his music was a big influencer in fighting with music against the apartheid.

But when he did his first six concerts in South Africa, you can see parts of it in the documentary, there was (almost) not a single black one. And Wikipedia says that there are over 80% blacks (ethnic group).

So was his music only listened by the white population of South Africa or weren't they allowed to go to this concert in, I believe, '98? I doubt this, because apartheid was already ended at this time.


1 Answer 1


The documentary itself depicts his music as popular only among progressive white youth in South Africa. The fact that they linked his music with their opposition to apartheid does not mean that their affection for him was automatically shared by their black counterparts. It's worth noting that Rodriguez's music wasn't directly about apartheid, and doesn't have a strong African influence, which may have limited his appeal to the black South African population. (The anti-apartheid connection seems to have been loosely based on the American-style rebellious progressivism in the lyrics rather than any explicit content about race.)

With all the enforced legal separations, it was very difficult, as well as politically provocative for young black and white South Africans to socialize together or otherwise commune prior to the fall of apartheid. There were a few groups --notably Juluka --that were popular across racial lines in the resistance, but those were unusual. Being a fan of those groups was a direct and explicit political statement of specific resistance to apartheid.

See this for more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_in_the_movement_against_apartheid

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.