Book review: Slikour opens up about dumping Bonang on Facebook and Skwatta Kamp divisions
This is a book review of the musician's memoir 'Slikour: The Life Story Of A Hip-Hop Pioneer'
Siya ‘Slikour’ Metane has released a book detailing some of the highs and lows of his career and personal life. Picture: siyametane/Instagram
The book is not as captivating as Hugh Masekela’s Still Grazing nor does it leave you open-mouthed like Brenda Fassie’s I’m Not Your Weekend Special, but Siya ‘Slikour’ Metane’s memoir Slikour: The Life Story Of A Hip-Hop Pioneer shows that there’s more to Slikour than meets the eye.
With Hip Hop celebrating 50 years of existence this year – August being the actual month that the genre and culture was found – it makes sense to publish a review of a book by one of Mzansi’s pioneers in Hip Hop.
‘Slikour’ Metane is a musician and entrepreneur best known as one of the founding members of the record-breaking hip-hop group Skwatta Kamp. The seven-man group was the first Hip Hop group to receive a major artist recording deal in South Africa and were the first actual Hip Hop act to win a Sama award.
The 42 year-old wrote the book together with seasoned arts writer Helen Herimbi-Moremi. The book details Slikour’s highs and lows, in both his long career in the media space as well as his personal life.
The soft-cover opens with the Slikour stating that he wrote it so that people know where and how things started. “Whoever comes after me and goes on to be greater than me will carry on from where I leave off, they won’t be starting at chapter one,” writes Slikour.
Dumping Bonang on Facebook
Slikour opens up about his relationship with media personality Bonang Matheba, who he dated.
“There was a girl I wanted to date who lived just up the road from my family’s house. She rejected me. I didn’t take it personally; I just thought it was her loss. We became friends, and I’d often see her around with her little sister, Bonang,” jots Slikour as he introduces Bonang in the book in chapter 10.
The Skwatta Kamp man shares in the book that he never saw Bonang as a love interest until later. “She was 19 years old and completing her first year at university. To me, Bonang was a baby, and I told my friends I wasn’t interested in her like that. But, over time, I got to know her a little better. Honestly, I don’t know what it was that made me do it, but I thought, ‘Okay, maybe let’s date and see how it goes,’” writes the rapper.
The pair became the first South African celebrity couple to end their relationship on social media, but they got back together soon after to give it another try. “It felt like I was on an apology tour. Together, we booked interviews with shows like The Real Goboza,” Slikour says.
They eventually separated for good in 2009.
Outside of their dating, Slikour also notes how he saw Bonang as a future star that could inspire young girls. “When I saw Bonang, I saw someone who could exist in the sweet spot between conservative icons like Yvonne Chaka Chaka and eccentric stars like Brenda Fassie.”
Skwatta Kamp and its divisions
The memoir touches on the work Slikour put in, to make the group successful. Whether it was the backroom studio at his house that he set up while still at school or relentlessly selling the group to potential investors – you get a sense of his contribution. But sometimes his enthusiasm wasn’t met with a benign spirit by fellow group members.
“I know the group calls me an asshole, but I feel the guys always knew my heart was in the right place. My drive was relentless and probably ruthless at times, but I always put the group before me,” writes Slikour, who always seemed like the group’s leader, even in interviews they did.
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The book also highlights the cliques within the group.
“We worked in silos. In Bozza’s Kamp was Nemza and maybe Nish. Nish’s Kamp was him and Flabba. Shugasmakx was able to fit in everywhere and so was Infa. I didn’t have a Kamp. It was just me. I used to think Infa was with me, but found out later that I was wrong. I think Infa was inspired by me having a studio at my place and decided to build his own. But he didn’t feel that he was with me.”
The beauty of reading non-fiction is the seductive narration of actual events that happened and, in the first chapter, Slikour shares a story of how one of the members of Skwatta Kamp, Nemza, was nearly killed in Cape Town at the height of the group’s success.
“While we were chilling, a guy tried to park his car next to us and reversed onto Nemza’s foot. Nemza threw a fit, but the guy brushed him off. Nemza reached into the car, grabbed him by the collar and started punching him,” narrates Slikour.
After a few hours while the group was hanging in Nemza’s hotel room, two gun-wielding fellas interrupted their unwinding session to threaten Nemza’s life. “‘Shut up and hit the floor!’ the guy holding the gun shouted at us. ‘All we want is him’”
That unexpected altercation was resolved when one of the thugs recognised another Skwatta Kamp member, Lebogang ‘Shugasmakx’ Mothibe and knew his father.
Throughout the book, the bond Slikour and Shugasmakx have is palpable. From when the two met as kids when Slikour took Shugasmakx’s bike outside a spaza shop, to Slikour’s journey as an entrepreneur. Even at the book launch, Slikour sat on stage with Shugasmakx asking the questions.
“Everyone that reads the book, they say it’s a love story between me and Lebo (Shugasmakx),” said Slikour at the launch.
This story ties in with Slikour’s desire to create a better future for his kids.
“I want my connection to generations after me to mean something, so that they never lack because of the standard I set. That’s what I’m living for right now-that my kids will survive because I’m their father,” writes Slikour.
The book is published by Penguin Random House South African and available at leading books stores.