Future ghetto funk is the sound of tomorrow
With her signature blue moon-mop of hair, brilliant nails and sparkling shades, Moonchild Sanelly’s look embodies her life philosophy. She is defining herself in her own way. But while her eclectic attire tends to steal the show, she’s about far more than a bold wardrobe. Sanelly is an enterprising musician with a vision for stirring humanitarian conversation. Foreshadowed by her fashion style, her approach to growing interest in serious topics through music is to dress thought-provoking lyrics with ear-opening beats.
Though her present work falls into a genre she calls future ghetto funk, Sanelly’s musical roots are traditional. Growing up in Port Elizabeth, her mother owned a jazz club and her brother was in hip-hop record production. Sanelly’s early attempts at breaking into the music scene were through jazz, but she later found that exploring her own sound was a better way of getting people to appreciate the discussion she hoped to arouse. Her solo journey took her beyond meddling with melodies to amalgamating languages – she now delivers her lyrics through a mixture of isiXhosa and English that she has coined Xhonglish.
Sanelly struggled with anorexia and bulimia as a teenager, an experience that has motivated her to dismantle the stereotype that black people don’t suffer from eating disorders. Through her edgy music the philosophical artist has also addressed broader issues like sexual health and the failings of South Africa’s police service. The success of her songs both locally and abroad is indicative of a generation that is willing to face social ills head on and make change a reality. And the recent political movements sparked by South Africa’s youth suggest that our country is ready to talk.