The Tweak of Oppi

Tweak playing on the main stage at Oppi Koppi. Photo: Valerie Robinson

Tweak playing on the main stage at Oppi Koppi. Photo: Valerie Robinson

This past weekend saw over 20 000 people rediscovering the true meaning of roughing it. Oppikoppi 2015 saw the rise of new bands, some have never even been heard of, and the return of old time favourites.
One that really stood out of course was Tweak. Many of us will remember this band from our teenage years for singing songs about Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears in a hot tub, which really rocked the festival.
Oppikoppi was the stage for their big 10 year reunion. “When we realised it had been 10 years since Tweak ended we started throwing around ideas. We chatted to the guys from Oppikoppi and they we’re super keen for us to play the festival. It really just snowballed from there and now we are doing a whole tour!” according to the guys.
They confessed that “To be honest, we were terrified no one would care. When Oppikoppi made the announcement on social media the response was crazy! Everyone was genuinely excited.”
They said that the acts they enjoyed watching most was Scottish band Twin Atlantic and Johnny Clegg.Their favourite part of Oppi was, “Showering the crowd with 100 000 confetti dicks! haha! And hearing everyone scream the lyrics of the tracks back at us.”
Tweak is one of those bands that don’t take themselves too seriously and even admit to making the biggest blunders live. “We’ve made them all. The great thing about Tweak is that we never pretended to be shredding, awesome musicians. It’s about having fun and connecting with the crowd.”
Looking to the future and present not many people know that Crash Car Burn found its origins in Tweak. “Tweak was us being teenagers. We were young and stupid and it was a shit load of fun. CrashCarBurn is Garth and I growing up” said drummer Brendan Barnes referring to his brother and the lead singer for both bands.

They will be performing in Joburg again tonight the 14th of August at Rumours Lounge, for those who could not make Oppi or even for those that just want to relive the experience.The band joked that people can expect “All the hits, a healthy dose of nostalgia and a hangover.”

GALLERY: Oppikoppi 2013

By Caro Malherbe, Pheladi Sethusa and Shandukani Mulaudzi

This year’s Bewilderbeast festival treated 20 000 fans to a wide range of local and international acts. Team Vuvu got to experience it and documented it with their lenses.

EDITORIAL: The real is on the rise

Last week we took a decision to change the colour of our masthead to a bright pink. This was done to celebrate Women’s Day. Just a small token on our part.

The public holiday was spent with some people attending high teas, getting breakfast in bed or perhaps a bunch of flowers. For Team Vuvu, however, it was spent in the Limpopo heat, deciding which band to listen to.


The only signs of Women’s Day at this year’s Oppikoppi Bewilderbeast festival were in the random shout-outs by artists and bands on stage.

CHILL OUT: Oppi goers taking time out on a couch on the last day of the festival. Photo: Pheladi Sethua

CHILL OUT: Oppi goers taking time out on a couch on the last day of the festival. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

Maybe the signs were all around us: women were drinking their livers dead, laden with dirt and screaming their lungs out, with no visible judgment against them. We saw a beautiful lesbian couple wrapped in each other’s arms, listening to Bongeziwe Mabandla’s set on the top of a hill.

They epitomised some of the freedom women enjoy today.

The Wits Vuvuzela team exercised their own kind of freedom. We pitched our tent where we wanted, showered when we could and got to pick and choose from some of the best performers the festival has ever seen.  [pullquote align=”right”]We left on a high note, having experienced something new and survived the wilderness.[/pullquote]

The experience was soured by a minor racist incident, something we had been waiting for. What we hadn’t anticipated was that it would come from a tiny hipster-looking girl. Looks can be deceiving like that.

Oppikoppi has a reputation for being an Afrikaans rock festival, but that in no way describes the entire festival. The programme was defined by diversity.

We watched a set done entirely in isiXhosa, swayed to the “indie-bele” sounds of ShortStraw and danced like we were on Jika Majika when Mi Casa and Zakes Bantwini performed. We didn’t even get to attend half the things on offer.

We left on a high note, having experienced something new and survived the wilderness.

Back to reality

On the way back, reality sent shivers down our spines when we drove past a sign marking the entrance to Marikana. Today marks the one-year anniversary of what is now called the Marikana massacre, in which 34 families lost fathers, brothers, sons and husbands.

Under apartheid, we had a police force that we believe was put in place to drive fear into the hearts of people. Post-1994, we expected a police service that would serve and protect its people. On August 16 2012, we started to question whether we don’t perhaps have a police force instead of a police service.

Driving past the place where so much blood was split and where people are still being killed brought us back to the “real” South Africa. The one beyond the 20 000 people choosing to slum it for the experience, and pretending to get along despite the drunken slurs.



OPPIKOPPI: Made it out alive

CHILL OUT: Oppi goers taking time out on a couch on the last day of the festival. Photo: Pheladi Sethua

CHILL OUT: Oppi goers taking time out on a couch on the last day of the festival. Photo: Pheladi Sethua

By Pheladi Sethusa and Shandukani Mulaudzi

While one of us sits with a heaving chest and the cough of death, the other found the cure to her cold at Oppikoppi.

The last day of the festival could not have come soon enough, we were exhausted, dirty, dehydrated and hungry – but we had survived.


We had the time of our lives and we screamed our lungs out for our favourite acts as the dust made its way into our ill-prepared bodies.

The first thing to remember for next year is that Oppi is also known as “Dustville”. Have something to cover your nasal cavities and mouth. It will save you rocky tastes in your mouth and sandy lip gloss.

Now that we are no longer Oppi virgins, we thought it fitting to provide a few survival tips for those looking to go next year.

BAKING: Fans braving the sun to watch a show. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

BAKING: Fans braving the sun to watch a show. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

 How to make it out alive

We had bought enough food and booze to sustain our little bodies for three days in the bush. But on the last day, dry hot dogs with no margarine on the bun or sauce on the Vienna no longer seemed appealing.

The second thing to remember, the festival runs on a cashless system. Those who wish to buy food and drink on the farm have to buy pre-loaded debit cards.

We opted not to do this, knowing it would lead to frivolous spending. We had packed enough food but the smell of boerie rolls and hot chips accosted our senses by the last day, we were dying for a hot meal.

We were also so dehydrated at that point that seeing people’s water bottles had us salivating. Pack enough water, even enough is not quite enough – pack more than enough just to be safe.

In addition energy drinks would have been beneficial. We could barely keep our eyes open by the third day, this would have been cured by a kick and wings from one of those special drinks.

Clothes and shoes

We were so scared of the cold that we only packed winter clothes, big mistake. During the daytime we wanted to cry as the hot Limpopo sun scorched our fully covered bodies. It was as if the devil himself was sitting on the hill by the stages letting his heat out on everybody.

RUINED: Three pairs of shoes that will probably never be clean again. Photo: Shandukani Mulaudzi

RUINED: Three pairs of shoes that will probably never be clean again. Photo: Shandukani Mulaudzi

Do not bring shoes you hope to wear ever again and only bring one pair. You are going to be filthy by the end of the festival, so rather go with the general theme and take scrappy clothing.

On your way in and out

On the way to and from Oppi try to choose the route with the toll gates, it will set you back R21 but big, open, un-potholed roads await you. This way you won’t have to battle it out with trucks that are struggling to stay on the narrow, windy lanes.

Most importantly though we had a of fun, we enjoyed all that Oppi had to offer and made memories to last a lifetime.



Same music, different people

By Pheladi Sethusa and Shandukani Mulaudzi

Pulling the short straw is something that happens a few times in your life. Sometimes you may be lucky and you won’t, this is life.



For the five man band ShortStraw, it was about the beginning of their career. They started out playing for no one then moved on to crowds of about 40 and now, they have two shows on the best Oppikoppi stages.

In an interview with the band, we told them of our sad racist encounter the night before.

“That’s fucking bullshit. It’s fucking 2013 you can only laugh at people who still think that way,” said Russel, bass player for ShortStraw.

Russel told Wits Vuvuzela that one of the first black bands to play at Oppi was Kwani Experience and that was what sparked a cultural change at Oppi.

“Black bands used to be apprehensive. But once they played and were received well they changed their minds about the fest.”

Tom added that music is an experience for everyone and something that should bring all people together.

After pulling the short straw on day one, we were on a mission to find some diversity at Oppikoppi.

Traditional music moves

FIRST OPPI: Bongeziwe Mabandla plays his first set at the festival. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

FIRST OPPI: Bongeziwe Mabandla plays his first set at the festival. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

The Ray-Ban stage, where the incident happened the night before was where we found a new enlightening Oppi experience.

The act was, Bongeziwe Mabandla, who enchanted the crowd with his sweet traditional melodies in isiXhosa. His sound was one we cannot put our finger on but it made us feel like we were watching a male Thandiswa Mazwai.

The crowd, representative of South Africa’s overrated rainbow nation, more than half of whom did not understand the lyrics, stood and danced along with him.

People lost their minds when he jumped off the stage into the crowd and beckoned him to jump onto the table, which he did without protest.

Oppi’s cultural shift

AO JIKA: Mi Casa's frontman, J Something setting the stage alight. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

AO JIKA: Mi Casa’s frontman, J Something setting the stage alight. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

Bittereinder, who are veterans to Oppi said the festival has gotten bigger and better with more variety in music than ever before.

Jaco van der Merwe, rapper in three man band used the Vusi Mahlasela tribute last year as an example of Oppi’s diversity.

Mi Casa is a great example of diversity, it’s just beautiful. They also have random black people at our show, who have no idea what we are saying, but they jam anyway,” Jaco chuckled.

Later that evening we jammed to crowd favourites Zakes Bantwini and MiCasa. At these performances, the crowds were just as diverse and responsive. As J’Something asked us to jika, we turned and saw different people jika along with him.



Op pad na Oppi (On the road to Oppi)


OPPI PAD: The long and windy road. Photo: Shandukani Mulaudzi

OPPI PAD: The long and windy road. Photo: Shandukani Mulaudzi

By Pheladi Sethusa and Shandukani Mulaudzi

Three camera bags, two spare batteries for each camera, sleeping bags, tent, camp chairs, bags and booze all squeezed into the back of a Polo hatchback.

Even though the day had been coming for a month, two Oppikoppi virgins were scrambling to get their things together at the last minute.

Rosebank Mall was full of people getting last minute supplies, mostly of the liquid variety.

The journey begins

Within the first 30 minutes of the drive, a wrong turn made it clear that it would be a long journey to Northam Farm, Thabazimbi.

The scenic route made up for the potholes and narrow roads which made for a bumpy ride and also provided plenty of photo opportunities.

After two hours of driving a toilet break was needed but no Engen, Shell or Totall garages were in sight – only kilometre after kilometre of dusty road and the odd bush. The only solution to this problem was found inbetween the two car doors of the little Polo.

We’re here!

A wrong turn gone right led directly to the Oppikoppi gates.

ENTER HERE: Oppikoppi 2013. Photo: Shandukani Mulaudzi

ENTER HERE: Oppikoppi 2013. Photo: Shandukani Mulaudzi

Thorn bushes and dust in the air welcomed the first-timers to what would be their home for the next three days. Setting up a tent and easing into the campsite took no longer than 30 minutes.

After settling in, it was time to explore the festival they didn’t know but had heard so much about. Having heard rumours about poor to non-existent sanitation, drunken mosh pits and rampant racism – only first-hand experiences could tell.

Rumours turned true-mours

A performance by band, CrashCarBurn proved the mosh pits true, leaving a rocky taste in our mouths.

A bird’s eye view of the ShortStraw performance from the shoulders of a strong man proved the racism claims.

While many sat on shoulders and waved their hands to the music, it was not a fun experience for one.

As soon as she was lifted to the gracious man’s shoulders, pushing and shoving came from the girls in the front. It could have been a matter of jealousy however, we learned differently.

The guy let our reporter down, and apologised for the failed experience.

His friend, known only to us as Francois, told Wits Vuvuzela journo Caro Malherbe: “I’m sorry. I really would like to talk to them (the black colleagues) but the girls won’t like it. They are of a different race classification.”

With shock and disappointment, the short straw was indeed pulled: by us. We went back to our tents feeling disheartened, but still hopeful.

That hope was quickly snuffed out by comments that came from a neighbouring tent. To our left was a tent with two black men who were very chatty, to our right were two white, Afrikaans men who were also very vocal.

We overheard the white campers saying “Ag, ek gaan nou iemand klap as hulle nie stil bly. Ons sal sommer die nuwe Waterkloof 2 wees”, this was followed by the two men laughing.

That was within a few hours of being on the farm, two more days to go.


Team Vuvu Oppi ball

By Pheladi Sethusa and Shandukani Mulaudzi

ALL ROADS lead to Limpopo in August, this time not for Moria celebrations or to return to one’s roots, but rather to rock out at Oppikoppi.


Bewilderbeast is the theme this year and it marks the 19th Oppikoppi festival since its inception in 1994.

Performers set to take the stage and entertain revellers include Mi Casa, Jeremy Loops, Jack Parow and the Deftones.

Two Wits Vuvuzela reporters will be attending Oppi this year and, in preparation for the festivities, they decided to find out how to prepare for their weekend in the bush.

What to expect

Most people approached for advice said to get a reliable tent, warm sleeping bags and a big cooler box to store food and booze.

A veteran who has attended numerous Oppikoppi festivals, Habrey Landman, from the University of Pretoria, told Wits Vuvuzela: “You need to take a boy, to help you make a fire and set up camp. There are no camp areas, it’s just bush.”

She added that hygiene is a major issue and the best way to stay clean is to bring along wet wipes and dry shampoo that can be bought at Clicks.

VoWFM DJ Max Motloung said he had been warned about the funky smelling festival.

“Just know that you guys are not going to bath, hey,” he said.

Motloung added that one should be prepared to wait in hours of traffic when leaving on the last day of the festival.

Landman said festival goers should keep hydrated: “a case of something, a bottle of something and dash” would suffice.

The festival starts next week Thursday, August 8 and runs for three days until Saturday, August 10.

Team Vuvu is ready, all that stands between reporters and bringing the festival to Witsies is a three-hour drive to a farm in Northam.

Unknown Brothers: I Salute You All!


Two musicians chilling at Oppikoppi

OPPIKOPPI Unknown Brother came and went last weekend and those who attended will look back on those magical days in the dry and barren wilderness and truly know that what they experienced was something special.

Oppikoppi-goers take on the dust and the dirt.


To try and explain what took place on that small farm near Northam would be like trying to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity to a high school chemistry student. He might get the gist of it, but he will never truly know.

Still standing...for now.

The first thing that needs to be said is that South African music is not merely on the right track, but is bundu-bashing an entirely new pathway, one that people from all over the world will be trekking down very soon.

Having a good ol' time.

We have immensely talented people in this country across an array of genres. From Tidal Waves’ reggae mellow vibes to Dan Patlansky’s monstrous electric blues guitar solos to Sibot’s mind-altering electro beats; we have all the bases covered with regards to musical talent.

One of the band's pimped ride.

The next thing and perhaps the element that elevates Oppi to something more than just a music festival is the love that was genuinely shared by everyone. There were smiles all around and the camaraderie in the air was a little more than heart-warming.

Harpdog Frost (Albert Frost and Rob Nagel) leave it all on the stage.

The booze and drugs certainly helped with the chemistry but who cares. Everyone was simply there to have a good time and what happened in the camping area and between acts was just as enjoyable as what happened while the musicians were rocking out.

Tiny bubbles...

There is so much more that could be spoken about in paragraphs that there is not enough space for here: the dust that got under everyone’s skin but didn’t seem to matter; the walking around aimlessly at night in a drunken state trying to find where your tent was; the bumping into random people and instantly becoming friends (Estelle from Pretoria you’re a goddess); the memories that were made and those that have to be made up, it was an absolutely wonderful experience and I loved it all.

All the Unknown brothers of Oppikoppi.

For those of you reading this who were there, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who weren’t, do yourself a favour; there are few things that are guaranteed to change your life for the better and come August next year, you will have the opportunity to experience one of them all over again.

Keeping warm...


Time to go home...