The decision to host the inaugural Afropunk Johannesburg festival over New Year’s Eve — at a time when middle-class people evacuate the city — was a risk that paid off. Other than the challenges of many service providers being on holiday, the festival provided significant economic opportunity. Annual Afropunk festivals take place in Paris, London, New York and Atlanta. Johannesburg, in its first year, was the second-largest and pinnacle event. The festivals are built on an ethos of black empowerment through radical self-expression and a philosophy of "knowing why you are there", as founding director Matthew Morgan put it. After 16 years of Afropunk events all over the world, there has not been a single fight or arrest. And the event in Johannesburg was stunningly peaceful. When hail forced people to squeeze under the tarpaulins for a few hours, they sang the national anthem. Afropunk Johannesburg has captured the imagination of African Americans wanting to come to Africa. It was "al...

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