Emile "YX" Jansen is keeping Cape Town’s ancient origins alive with his practical school of hip-hop that draws on indigenous music. At an early age Jansen took a leadership role in his Grassy Park community when he initiated a roller-skating club, creating a space for youth to be active in a positive way. After school he qualified as a teacher. When the global hip-hop explosion hit Cape Town in the early 1980s, he took to the streets as a break-dancer (B-boy). "My first experience with hip-hop when I stepped into the circle was that this was somehow familiar; I had been there before. The whole circle idea is embedded in the Bushman trance dance," he says. It is said that if you take one step towards your ancestors, they will take three steps towards you. Well, Jansen found new, expansive techniques for teaching through hip-hop. In 1988 he started the performance group Black Noise, which focused on school workshops. These successes led to the launch of the outreach programme Heal the...

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