South Africa’s Hottest New Export is Amapiano

South African Tourism Hosts Panel Event Spotlighting the Genre Origins & Burgeoning Popularity on the Eve of Afro Nation Miami

South African Tourism Hosts Panel on the Genre of Amapiano in Miami

Amapiano to the World panelists shared their insights on the popularity of the new genre and its distinctly South African roots on Thursday, May 25 in Miami Beach, Fla. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/AP Images for South African Tourism)

MIAMI, May 26, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The distinctive sound of the log drum permeated the air as several musicians, producers and industry experts gathered in Miami to celebrate the burgeoning genre of Amapiano. With a sound best described as a hybrid of deep house and jazz with percussive loops reminiscent of lounge music coupled with soulful vocals, Amapiano is arguably South Africa’s hottest new export and its infectious sound continues to attract new audiences as the genre spreads like wildfire. South African Tourism presented an industry-focused panel discussion in collaboration with Maphike Attorneys Inc., providing an opportunity for creators of this musical style to speak about the cultural impact of Amapiano and discuss the genre’s future as it continues to gain popularity worldwide.

Taking place on the eve of the inaugural Afro Nation Miami, which boasts an Amapiano stage, the panel discussion included artists Pabi Cooper and DJ AYA who were joined by several industry executives including: Yoel Kenan, CEO of Africori, Devon Peterson, Creative Director of Africori, Manaileng Maphike, Attorney at Maphike Attorneys Inc. and Jerry Mpufane, President of South African Tourism North America. The discussion was moderated by Yolanda Sangweni, Vice President of Programming and New Content Development at NPR with opening remarks by Justin Barnette, Head of Marketing and Communications of South African Tourism North America. The conversation dove into a wide range of topics including the cultural significance of this new music genre, the impact of its growing popularity worldwide, and the spotlight it has cast on South Africa and its people, fueling industries such as tourism in growing source markets.

Amapiano was born out of the black townships of Gauteng province with a distinctive character that is rooted in another uniquely South African musical style, Kwaito. The South African youth who grew up on the sounds of Kwaito have led the creation of Amapiano, a musical style that is distinctly characterized by its use of the log drum which serves as the sound for the baseline. But while Kwaito reflected the struggles of apartheid, Amapiano boasts a more optimistic tone of a young generation that strives to be unapologetically South African. In fact, in South Africa Amapiano has become a culture with its own fashions and styles and its own speech and dance form gaining mainstream popularity during the global pandemic.

“As Amapiano makes its way around the world it’s another way in which South Africa’s history and culture demonstrates its global influence,” said Jerry Mpufane, President of South African Tourism North America. “Amapiano is born out of the soul of South Africa and they say one of the best ways to experience it to its fullest is to be where the music is. So as this genre continues to captivate global audiences, we hope it inspires them to visit South Africa and learn about the history and culture that influenced the creation of Amapiano.”

Today, Amapiano music can be found in clubs, bars and music venues across South Africa but there are certain places where one might come across the artists who have been instrumental in Amapiano’s rapid rise to the world stage. Travelers arriving in Johannesburg can head south to Soweto, the birthplace of Kwaito, and also the former home of Nelson Mandela. While there, visitors can also take the opportunity to visit the Mandela House Museum, located at his former residence in Soweto, and learn more about South African history and the era of apartheid. Several of the panelists emphasized that understanding South Africa’s history allows one to better understand how South Africa’s freedom became intertwined with the musical styles that gave the people a platform to express their experiences through sound, movement and lyrics. In Soweto there are plenty of venues to choose from where one can regularly hear the sounds, or even catch a performance by local Amapiano musicians, like Amapiano pioneer and record label owner, Kabza De Small, Njelic or Kamo Mphela, at venues such as Konka, Zone 6 or Disoufeng.

Roughly one hour north of Johannesburg the administrative capital city of Pretoria, known as the birthplace of Amapiano, is home to a number of influential Amapiano musicians such as Pabi Cooper, Focalistic, Chicco, Mellow and Sleazy (who make up a collective called Pitori Super League) and the likes of Vigro Deep. In Pretoria, one can enjoy the latest and most popular new hits at high-end lounge/restaurant Ayepyep which boasts two locations in the city (and a third now in Cape Town) and night club, ZanZou. Visitors can experience the authentic sounds at festivals including Straata Nation Address and Mamelodi’s outdoor music festival at Moretele Park that draws thousands of revelers annually.

While the best place to experience Amapiano is in its birthplace of South Africa, the genre has made its way to clubs, festivals and bars worldwide, a testament to how infectious the sounds truly are. As a relatively young underground genre, Amapiano could have easily been stifled by the onset of the pandemic but instead it flourished. The artists noted that Amapiano originated in home studios so it is faithfully poetic the genre would reach audiences at home through social platforms while millions of people were on lockdown. Its popularity was largely driven by viral dance challenges, building an appetite for the genre internationally.

Amapiano boasts a unique representation of women with many of the genre’s biggest names like Uncle Waffles, Pabi Cooper, TXC and Kamo Mphela, paving the way not only for South African women creators but creators from across the diaspora. It’s not enough to say the women are influencing Amapiano as they are in fact defining it through the connection of movement and energy in the dance styles performed. The future of Amapiano is one full of possibilities as the young artists and creators continue to put their unique stamp on the genre and bring it to the world.

Images are available via AP:

South African Tourism is the national agency responsible for marketing South Africa as a preferred leisure and business events destination. From breathtaking beauty and sun-soaked coasts to wildlife and adventure to vibrant urban energy and the incredible warmth and cultural diversity of its people – South Africa is a traveler’s dream! Destination South Africa offers a wide variety of experiences including safaris in 19 national parks, breathtaking diverse scenic outdoor spaces, vibrant modern designer cities, an amazing 2,500-kilometer coastline with Blue Flag beaches, inspiring heritage and cultural journeys as well as active adventure experiences and vacation offering impressive value for time and money at any budget.

Justin Barnette, Head: Marketing & Comms North America, South African Tourism

Margot Delville, Account Director, MMGY NJF

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

The photo is also available at Newscom,, and via AP PhotoExpress.

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8847534

New Zealand highly values potential for cooperation with Vietnam

Deputy Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand Vangelis Vitalis has expressed his belief in stronger trade ties between Vietnam and his country, saying that the two sides will expand their cooperation to other areas in the future.

During an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency, Vitalis spotlighted outcomes of the 8th meeting of the Vietnam-New Zealand Joint Trade and Economic Commission (JTEC) recently held in Hanoi, stressing that the two sides focused on practical issues that benefit their businesses and people.

According the Deputy Secretary, the two sides discussed customs procedures to make it easier for both sides’ businesses to export goods to each country, during which they underlined the need for electronic certification and the establishment of a process to check each other in the field of agriculture.

He emphasised the two sides’ commitment to realising the 2-billion- USD goal in two-way trade by 2024.

The completion of the market opening process for Vietnam’s lemons and grapefruits, and New Zealand’s squash and strawberries in late 2022 has demonstrated that effort, helping the two countries move closer to this goal, he said.

Vietnam and New Zealand are complementing each other in agriculture cooperation, he said, noting that the partnership has benefited both peooples because they can buy high-quality agricultural products at good prices.

He mentioned the possibility for New Zealand to export medical management software products to Vietnamese hospitals, adding that through the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), it is possible for Vietnamese engineers to work in New Zealand.

There will be many opportunities for the two nations to promote multifaceted cooperation in the near future, thus further strengthening the bilateral relations, he went on.

According to Vitalis, education the most important field in bilateral relations, and the two sides should consider speeding up cooperation in this area.

New Zealand can provide training courses for Vietnam, while Vietnam can benefit from the Oceania nation’s high-quality education, he said.

Regarding investment in Vietnam, Vitalis said his country prioritises investment in high-quality sectors that can bring about positive changes such as health and education, thus making great contributions to Vietnam and also benefiting New Zealand itself.

Trade between Vietnam and New Zealand has grown strongly since the two countries established the comprehensive partnership in 2009, with an annual average growth rate of 14.2%.

Vietnam is now New Zealand’s 13th largest trade partner. The two-way trade hit 1.2 billion USD in 2022, up 14% year-on-year.

The two sides set a goal to lift their two-way trade to 2 billion USD by 2024.

Established in 2006, JTEC is an important cooperation mechanism to promote economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.

During the 8th meeting, the two sides agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in trade, investment and economy, including multilateral trade negotiations, agriculture and agribusiness, clean technology, development of agricultural supply chain, education, aviation and tourism./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

French institute holds workshop on East Sea issue

A workshop was held at the headquarters of the French Senate in Paris on May 26 to discuss the East Sea as a multidimensional space in the face of global challenges.

The event, organised by the France-based Institute for Applied Geopolitical Studies (EGA), attracted more than 120 participants, including some senators, specialists from the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior of France, along with researchers of international relations, military strategies and defence policies.

They discussed the Indo-Pacific space in the light of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the East Sea as an epicentre of the security issue, climate change as a crisis factor in the Indo-Pacific region, along with the regional political stage and the role of France.

EGA President Alexandre Negrus said his institute held this workshop because the East Sea is a region always facing latent risks, pointing out that disputes and tensions in the waters are among complicated issues that can easily turn into a hotspot in the world.

Therefore, countries, including France, should be fully aware of the role and importance of this region, as well as emerging risks and challenges. The workshop did not intend to resolve the issue but hoped to provide more information about international law, especially the 1982 UNCLOS, to help ease risks of tensions, he noted.

At the event, speakers gave updated information and warnings about possible negative developments in the East Sea. They also emphasised the importance of ensuring peace, stability, security, and freedom of navigation in the East Sea, along with the necessity for respecting and implementing the 1982 UNCLOS and the regional countries’ commitments, including the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

They also called on France, the European Union, and the world to bring into play their roles in settling differences and disputes in the region on the basis of international law and the 1982 UNCLOS, and expanding cooperation frameworks in all fields for this region./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Malaysia Tourism launches Roadshow, B2B events in Laos

Malaysia Tourism launched on Friday a Roadshow, B2B and Networking seminar to tap tourism market potential in Vientiane, Savannakhet and Champassak of the Lao PDR.

Held in Vientiane, the launching event was attended by Deputy Director of International Promotion Division – Southeast Asia, Tourism Malaysia, Ms Zalina Ahmad, Malaysian Ambassador to the Lao PDR, Mr Edi Irwan Mahmud, representatives from Tourism Malaysia, travel agents, airline agencies, hotels, and product owners from Malaysia and Laos.

“Since the re-opening of Malaysia border on the 1st of April 2022, from January until December 2022, we have recorded 7,010 Lao tourist arrivals to Malaysia,” said Ms Zalina Ahmad.

As of now, Laos doesn’t have direct flights to Malaysia. Lao nationals wishing to visit Malaysia need to take Scoot Air flights from Vientiane to Singapore then cross the border to Malaysia through Johor Bahru border or take AirAsia or Thai Airways transit in Bangkok then fly to Kuala Lumpur.

Direct flights between Vientiane and Kuala Lumpur are expected to be effective from Aug 4, 2023 with 3 flights per week, Mon / Fri / Sun, according to the Air Asia.

Malaysia has set a target of receiving 16.1million international tourist arrivals with RM 49.2 billion tourism revenues.

“I want to assure that our Tourism Malaysia office in Vientiane will lend their hands anytime for you, to support any new travel package initiatives to bring in more Lao tourists to Malaysia,” said Ms Zalina Ahmad.

Source: Lao News Agency

“Light of Hope” – Continuing Public Welfare Activities

On May 26, employees of China Southern Power Grid and Lao volunteers went to the “Hand of Hope” Education Centre in the capital city of Vientiane, Laos to conduct a series of meaningful exchange activities together.

According to the principal of the education centre, Ms. Sophaphone Heuanglith, there are a total of 20 hearing-impaired children in the education centre, mostly aged between 6 and 12. These children face difficulties and challenges in their studies and lives. The employees of China Southern Power Grid and Lao volunteers had a friendly exchange with the children, understood their learning and living conditions, and brought them care and support

During the activity, the Chinese and Lao volunteers also gave art supplies to the children and encouraged them to bravely pursue their own dreams. The volunteers deeply realized that education is the key to changing the fate of these children.

Ms. Sophaphone Heuanglith said that the education centre has achieved good results in the cultivation of hearing-impaired children, but still needs more support from all walks of life. She sincerely thanked China Southern Power Grid for their support and contribution to the activities of the education centre.

This activity is the third stop of the “Light of Hope” Laos public welfare campaign. The series of activities were initiated by China Southern Power Grid Yunnan International Company, aiming to promote the development of public welfare in Laos and promote cultural exchanges between Laos and China. Since its launch on January 14, 2023, two activities have been carried out at the Sivilay Primary School and the Sikeut Special Education Vocational and Technical School, providing necessary materials and support for the schools. Follow-up efforts will continue to focus on the construction and development of the schools, helping them gradually improve and upgrade their teaching conditions.

One of the responsible persons for this activity, Ma Lin, a representative of China Southern Power Grid, said that he was very happy to carry out the activity with Lao volunteers. The campaign was named “Light of Hope”, hoping that this series of activities will become a meeting point for the transmission and convergence of love, unite all forces, and illuminate more people who need care and help.

It is reported that while carrying out cooperation projects in Laos, China Southern Power Grid focuses on serving the development of Laos’ society and improving people’s livelihoods. Through the implementation of projects such as the 230 kV Power Grid Project of Northern Laos and the External Power Supply Project of the Lao section of the China-Laos Railway, it has driven local employment, conducted skills training, and vigorously supported local education, donating teaching materials and making efforts for people’s livelihoods, reflecting the project spirit of “CSG Lights Up Every Household, Continues the friendship between China and Laos”. In the future, China Southern Power Grid is willing to deepen cooperation with Lao partners, inject power into Laos’ economic and social development through greener and more stable power supply, and jointly transmit love and serve the community with all sectors of society to light up the “thousands of households” in Laos with practical actions.

Source: Lao News Agency

PBBM reiterates urgency of national land use policy

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Saturday vowed to give “urgent attention” to the proposed measure institutionalizing a national land use policy that will ensure the country’s holistic development. In a speech during the grand launching of Pier 88 in Liloan, Cebu, Marcos said he would persuade Congress to immediately pass the proposed National Land Use Act, one of his priority bills. “Allow me to reiterate the urgency of enacting a [National] Land Use Policy for our country, which is a priority legislative agenda of this administration,” Marcos said. “This time, we will see to it that this measure shall be given [the] urgent attention that it deserves, cognizant of its fundamental importance to our holistic national development.” Marcos also thanked the House of Representatives for its “timely and significant” approval of House Bill (HB) 6128 or the proposed NLUA. On Monday, the House approved on final reading the proposed NLUA which seeks to provide the national framework for the development of the country’s land to ensure its optimum use, consistent with the principle of sustainable development. Marcos said he has personal knowledge of the significant impact of the bill, adding that worked on the measure as a senator and chair of the Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement Committee. “Through a [national] physical framework plan, all mandates and policies on land use shall be integrated — from watersheds to farmlands from cultural heritage sites to ancestral domains, from protected disaster-prone areas,’ Marcos said. The passage of the bill is “terribly important,” Marcos said, adding that local governments must ensure that their respective physical and land use plans “will conform to and will be consistent with the national plan.” “Hence, the whole-of-government approach. Moreover, national and local governments will tap the budding profession of environmental planners for its technical expertise in the crafting of accurate and well-aligned physical and land use plans,” he said. Marcos emphasized the importance of “holistic, systematic, and integrated” planning in the Philippines, as he lauded the coordinated efforts of the Liloan government and the whole province of Cebu in pursuing good urban planning and development practices. He said such strategic planning would further solidify the urban development foundation and consolidate the socio-economic strength not only of Cebu province but also of the entire country. “Let us imagine if these kinds of projects are replicated across the country, laterally and locally coordinated, and harmonized both on the provincial and national levels, then we could say that we are genuinely closer to our ambition of a prosperous, inclusive, and resilient society,” Marcos said. “We will be watching the success of all of these coordinated efforts that we are doing with Cebu and again we will use those examples around the country,” he added. Under HB 6128, the National Land Use Commission (NLUC) will be created under the Office of the President and will act as the highest policy-making body on land use and resolve land use policy conflicts between or among agencies, branches, or levels of the government. The NLUC will coordinate efforts towards the development of integrated land use plans at the national, regional, provincial, city and municipal levels, and monitor the implementation of all land use plans, including relevant policies. Several bills on the proposed land use policy have also been filed in the Senate.

Source: Philippines News Agency