Definition of kwaito in English:



mass nounSouth African
  • A style of popular music similar to hip-hop, featuring vocals recited over an instrumental backing with strong bass lines.

    • ‘The film features rap, kwaito, hip-hop and traditional music from Zanzibar, Johannesburg and Cape Town.’
    • ‘He adds that it is not kwaito, not hip hop but rather different genres mixed up.’
    • ‘There is something for everyone at the third annual Soweto Arts Festival, from kwaito to hip-hop, from theatre to film and dance.’
    • ‘This brings us to the common claim that much kwaito is apolitical.’
    • ‘Unfortunately I do not have a car but I like jazz and kwaito.’


1990s: named after the Amakwaito, a group of 1950s gangsters in Sophiatown (a former quarter of Johannesburg), or from Afrikaans kwaai ‘angry, vicious’, slang ‘excellent, great’.