Renowned philosopher and writer, Victor Hugo, said life would be a mistake without music. And as a South African emigrant, we tend to agree – life simply holds more meaning with some song and dance in the mix, especially when those tunes remind us of home.

So in honour of those songs that make our hearts beat to an African drum, we’ve put together a list of 50 South African songs (in no particular order) which play on our heart strings.

Just like the colourful cultures and personalities of the rainbow nation, this mix is rather eclectic (to say the least), and we’ve tried to accommodate everyone. This means grannies and grandpas may want to skip over a few numbers, while our younger readers will necessitate a few eye-rolls at other entries. But no matter your taste; this music is ours, and makes us proud – proudly South African that is.

50 South African hits

  1. Master Jack – Four Jacks and a Jill
  2. Halala Afrika – Johannes Kerkorrel
  3. African Dream – Vicky Sampson
  4. Right Here In July – Al Bairre
  5. Kaptein – Kurt Darren
  6. The Warrior – Ipi Tombi (Bertha Egnos & Gail Lakier)
  7. Agter Elke Man – Steve Hofmeyr
  8. Our Heritage (braaiday song) – Die Heuwels Fantasties ft HHP, JR & the Soweto Gospel Choir
  9. I’d Like – Freshly Ground
  10. Sounds of Silence (cover) – the Awakening
  11. Gebed – Jannie du Toit
  12. If You Wanna Be Happy – Dr Victor and the Rasta Rebels
  13. Sprokie vir ‘n Stadskind – Koos du Plessis
  14. Midnight – 350ml
  15. Stof – Klopjag
  16. Paradise Road – Joy
  17. Born in a Taxi – Blk Sonshine
  18. Safe as Houses – aKing
  19. Toe vind ek jou – Karen Zoid en Francois van Coke
  20. Fine Again – Seether
  21. Click song (Qongqothwane) – Miriam Makeba
  22. Sonkring – Helena Hettema
  23. Take yours, I’ll take mine – Matthew Mole
  24. Blue Eyes – Springbok Nude Girls
  25. Jantjie – Sonja Heroldt
  26. Scatterlings of Africa – Johnny Clegg and Savuka
  27. Sarafina! – Hugh Masekela
  28. De la Rey – Bok van Blerk
  29. The Boy from Apricot Spells – the Led
  30. Donkey Rattle – Felix Laband
  31. Stuur Groete aan Mannetjies Roux – Laurika Rauch
  32. Substitute – Clout
  33. Shine – James Stewart
  34. Royal Hotel – David Kramer
  35. Cooler as Ekke – Jack Parrow
  36. Enter the Ninja – die Antwoord
  37. Man on the Moon – Ballyhoo
  38. Sproetjies – Sias Reynecke
  39. Special Star – Mango Groove
  40. Victoriabaai – Lucas Maree
  41. Oliver Tambourine – Wrestlerish
  42. Ek wil jou ken – Anneli van Rooyen
  43. Do you remember – Noa Noa
  44. The Banded – the Narrow
  45. Ten Years – Josie Field
  46. Ruiter van die Windjie – Bles Bridges
  47. Peter – Desmond and the Tutus
  48. Tussen Treine – Richard van der Westhuizen & Lochner de Kock
  49. Ou Ryperd – Dozi
  50. Gedagte vir die Dag – die Straatligkinders

Bonus entry: Africa – Toto

Although Toto doesn’t count as a South African group, few things bring us so close to tears as listening to this Californian band sing about our favourite continent, which is why we feel they deserve an honorary mention on our list.

And there you have it folks! An eclectic South African mix for all our fellow emigrants abroad. We’re sure you have a few personal favourites to add to this playlist. We say crank up the volume and sing along at the top of your voice.

All hail, mother Africa!

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