How an Afrikaans woman from Knysna is turning hip-hop on its head


Matching Kay Faith’s sound to her person takes a moment. A hip-hop and trap music enthusiast, the sound engineer, whose birth certificate reads Karien Barnard, grew up in an Afrikaans family in Knysna.

She was exposed to a wide array of music in those early years and came to appreciate the lot, but it was hip-hop that captured her heart. So, when her fine art portfolio got lost in the mail on its way to the UCT applications office, she took a chance on a sound engineering course at the Cape Audio College. The programme resonated with Barnard and she returned the following year to complete an Advanced Diploma. The next few chapters of her life flew by, as she created for herself the opportunity to collaborate with the industry’s best, including Kwesta, AKA and Mos Def from the U.S.

Now well established, not only is Barnard showing that where you come from doesn’t determine who you are, she’s soaring beyond the stereotype that women can’t handle the hip-hop industry. As she puts it, being an Afrikaans woman isn’t the norm in her field. She’s had to make her way against the flow. Barnard’s success is proof that wherever we are, regardless of industry, we can all be more open-minded.