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Going back to my roots

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Going back to my roots

by Esther Lewis
29 Aug 2007
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

After a few years absence, like a prodigal child, I revisited my hip hop roots. I'm sure those of you who have met me would never believe once upon a time I was quite a breakdance enthusiast.

Well, that was until two classes later they told me I should try spinning on my head, leaping into somersaults from the ground and flaring through the air.

Needless to say gravity was against me from the start and my less than aerodynamic shape didn't help much either.

After getting through a few of the very basic fancy footwork steps, I decided it would better serve me - and everyone watching - to try something else.

I remember going to the first Battle of the Year in 2000.

It was well supported, but since then the event has gotten bigger, better and more competitive each year.

In fact, it's possibly the biggest event on the hip hop calendar.

The prize up for grabs? The winners get to go to Germany to represent South Africa in the world championship.

When I entered the Good Hope Centre on Saturday night, it was like stepping back into a time warp - sort of.

There were familiar faces all around. Some had gotten grey over the years, others rounder, others had gained a few wrinkles.

Some of my personal favourites were still there, but they were not competing this year. They had since made way for the new generation.

It was encouraging to see how the event has grown; how much new blood had come onto the scene.

But one thing remained the same: It was one of the most ruthless, yet bloodless, battles.

It was also a testament to the talent we have in our city. The battle ground is the great equaliser, I think, because when it comes to expressing your talent, creativity and commitment - three things you would get nowhere without - race, money, age and class don't determine the end result.

As the organiser said, this was not about the Hollywood portrayal of hip hop. There were no drugs, alcohol, gangsterism or cheap women.

Because there is more to this place - particularly the Cape Flats - than superficial images and endless problems.

It was about the culture,deeply seated in respect for each other and ourselves.

It wasn't about fake accents, bling bling or status. It was about showcasing what skills the city was overflowing with.

And while I may never take that stage myself - unless maybe to enter the gatsby eating competition - I'll definitely be back next year, and the year after that, and the year after that...

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