Updated: May 29, 2020
Afropunk is more than just a series of events — it’s a lifestyle embodying the African spirit and heritage and the black experience as being “other,” combined with a punk aesthetic that preaches nonconformity and individuality. Afropunk produces content on all things related to the Afropunk lifestyle, but also hosts a lineup of awesome festivals each year, taking place in top destinations like Atlanta, London, Brooklyn, Paris and Brasil.
The next Afropunk festival is coming up, Afropunk: Joburg, Dec. 30–31. If you’ve been looking for a unique way to celebrate New Year’s Eve, look no further. Afropunk festivals are a mix of music, art and political movement, and the upcoming festival in Johannesburg is the perfect way to start your 2020 in the right direction. Here’s everything you need to know.
Afropunk: Joburg takes place Dec. 30–31, at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, South Africa. Constitution Hill is a living museum that represents the story of South Africa’s fight for democracy, but is also a historical site as a previous prison and military fort that held notable South Africans such as Nelson Mandela. In other words, Constitution Hill is the perfect spot to host such a politically-charged celebration as Afropunk.
Getting directly to Afropunk from the United States will require you to fly with either South African Airways or Delta Air Lines from New York City (JFK) or Washington, D.C. (IAD). Otherwise, you can find many U.S. airlines that will connect you to Johannesburg via a layover in Europe and a transfer to a partner airline, like British Airways or Air France.
Once you’ve arrived at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport, you can either rent a car to get you around the city, or take public transportation to your hotel. Taxis, shuttle buses and even rail service provide transportation from the airport.
When to Start Planning
The end of December and New Year’s Eve will be upon us before we know it, so you’d do best to start planning your trip for Afropunk: Joburg now, especially if you want to get the best price possible on airfare.
Tickets are purchasable on the event’s website. You can purchase tickets as either a two-day pass, single-day ticket or VIP pass. Tickets start at $600 ZAR, which translates to just over $40 USD — definitely not a bad deal for a ticket to such an awesome event. VIP passes (which are just under $200 USD) include access to a VIP lounge, VIP hospitality service, a premium cash bar, preferential stage viewing areas, VIP restrooms, mobile charging stations, VIP entrances and VIP parking.
You can also choose to earn your ticket, through volunteer efforts. Festival-goers who volunteer their time to a Afropunk-approved cause, in an Afropunk-approved way, will receive a free, general admission weekend pass. A sign-up for this opportunity is available on the event website.
Where to Stay
Afropunk has partnered with three Johannesburg hotels that are offering special rates to festival attendees. Hotels include 12 Decades Art Hotel (a quirky, independent hotel with nice amenities like kitchenettes in each room and art-related activities for guests), Once in Joburg (a creative hub offering both private and hostel-style rooms, as well as tons of activities and events for guests) and Curiocity (a 4-star hostel with cozy and clean, modern accommodations). Each of the partnered hotels fits the Afropunk brand in its own way, meaning you can’t really go wrong with any of these options.
Additionally, Afropunk has partnered with Curiosity to offer travelers specially-priced tourism experiences before, during and after the festival. These include safari tours, walking city tours and more.
With big names like Vogue and Elle covering what’s worn at Afropunk each year, it’s safe for you to assume that you’ll want to roll out your best and trendiest attire for the festival. Additionally, attire “rules” generally follow the same vein as Afropunk’s overall message — this is a safe space, so you do you, to sum it up. In other words, expect to see fashion choices of all kinds, with plenty of gender fluidity and pride. If you ever wanted to take some fashion risks in a welcoming space, this is the place to do it.
What to Expect
Music, art and activism. The music lineup is impressive, with headliners including Solange and Miguel, followed by more than a dozen other black solo artists and groups. There are also eight DJs making appearances throughout the fest. A Battle of the Bands event takes place, giving you the chance to hear some of South Africa’s best up-and-coming musicians. Other activities include Solution Sessions, where speakers present and discuss political, social and racial issues. A makers’ market shows off hand-made items from talented craftspeople, from jewelry to accessories, housewares to art.