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Durban’s viral dance videos highlight the prescience of social media and the mobile phone in youth culture

In Durban, almost everyone dances, it is a part of the city’s cultural identity, exemplary of its status as a hub of house and gqom. Dance is a language Durbanites are fluent in, a tenet of their cultural socialisation. However, the way in which this cultural meme is proliferated is expanding. Double step is a dance that has reached the masses through popularity on social media. Emanating from the youth of the East Coast, the dance style has gone viral online and offers a glimpse into African youth culture and how cellphones along with social media are shifting the nexus of pop culture on the continent. In providing alternate streams of entertainment from radio and televised broadcasting, social media offers millenials an instrument of expression to share their art, opinions and speak truth to power. The cellphone is now a part of the artillery used to gain access and create content, subverting barriers to communication and offering an immediate alternative to the Eurocentric and American programming dominating South African radio and television.

Double Step is an astonishing performance of fluidity and frenetic footwork. The schoolchild featured in the video here is a Double Stepping dream, her moves have been making waves worldwide. A testament to the performance but also to the power of social media as a platform for youth, particularly African youth, so often objectified and marginalised in traditional media.

 

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