hip hop music

February 11, 2005

Scamto: South Africa's New Rap Language

By the time we're reading about it here I doubt it's all that new anymore, but still fascinating:

Word on the street is ... Scamto

A hip new language drawn from 11 others is uniting South Africa's urban young

Hey Bro, wanna ride in my g-string? Nah, gonna score ma regte some jewish.

Welcome to Scamto, the street slang of South Africa’s urban youth — a mix of the country’s 11 official languages, including English and Afrikaans.

Raw, confident and energetic, Scamto reflects the reality of modern life in the sprawling townships outside Johannesburg. Much of it focuses on sex, beer, music and weapons. There are several words for girl friends or sexual partners and at least two for Aids.

Lebo Motshegoa, 24, an advertising executive who is to publish the first Scamto dictionary next month, says it is now the language of choice for hip youth. “Language says a lot about who we are and how we live . . . this language is the essential us,” he said. “It is about the new South Africa. It tells of diversity. It is not just political — it is bigger than that.”

Mr Motshegoa, dressed all in black, is the epitome of cool. After primary school in Soweto he went to a mixed-race school in Johannesburg, where he first ran into a language barrier. He said: “One of my brothers was put in detention ’cause he just said ‘No, No’ to the teacher. In Scamto that simply means ‘OK’...”

Posted by jsmooth995 at February 11, 2005 9:59 PM

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