Kulani Nkuna
2 minute read
6 Feb 2014
7:00 am

Structure for sub-culture

Kulani Nkuna

Hipsters of South Africa finally have a voice. Often too edgy or "misunderstood" by the mainstream, the interests and indifference of those in this subculture can finally be aired on the newly launched, Web-based Jameson Indie Channel.

EXPRESSIVE. The Jameson Indie Channel caters for a colourful generation of
creatives. Pictures: Anthony Bila.

The operating mantra for the channel states that, “there’s a lot of boring stuff on TV, which is why we created The Indie Channel. It’s fresh and independent, with brand new shows and the coolest things from around South Africa. The Indie Channel is a monthly broadcast made up of some original Indie Channel shows and the best content from around the country – music videos, films and many more”.

Clad in their sneakers and flat caps, South Africa’s young creatives, designers, fashionistas, musicians and small business owners are the audience that the channel aims to attract the Johannesburg launch. The first official screening of the new content was an interesting affair, with fluid hip-hop sounds being used as the soundtrack. It is said that this crowd are the “early adopters” marketers so covet and are at the forefront of what is about to happen (before the rest of us know it. After the screening, a self-styled “trend forcaster” even suggested that this channel was what Vuzu tried to be.

The shows currently featured on the channel can be quite uncomfortable for those not in the know, and the “cool” people whose dialogue provides some of the content can be best described as the empty ramblings of an attention-seeking generation. Every sentence is peppered with the word “like”, suggesting that clear expression of ideas is still some way off. Given all the Model C accents, there must be parents who are disappointed at the level of education their children received.

This is a crowd that describes itself as a “creative generation” and rebukes all sense of order and conventional reasoning, which might explain their indifference to the education system. There is immense technical ability on display in terms of how some of the shows are shot, but the content really is for a niche market, and artistically it may fail to capture the imagination of the mainstream.

Created by Native VML for the brand, the channel, aims to curate works by independent filmmakers so that they can reach their audience from all corners of the country and internationally as well.

“Until now, this remarkable content has mainly been sporadically placed on personal Facebook pages, blogs, YouTube and even offline,” remarks Sibusiso Shangase, Jameson brand manager.

PERSONAL. Indie Channel celebrates individual expression.

PERSONAL. Indie Channel celebrates individual expression.

“Apart from the best independently curated content including music videos and short films submitted from around South Africa, this channel will also feature six additional independent shows filmed by the Native VML crew. After the regular live screenings, shorter snippets of the show will be placed on the website, Facebook and YouTube.”

The channel does afford filmmakers the opportunity to make their work available for everyone to see free of charge on the Internet. It remains to be seen whether or not those tasked with maintaining the quality standards will accept material outside of the underground.