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Battle Of The Year At The African Hip-Hop Indaba
Words by Tasneen Fataar

The African Hip-Hop Indaba was hosted by Cape Town-based Hip-Hop group Black Noise. Each event had the common theme of the development of the Hip-Hop youth - an urgent need within the Hip-Hop community. The main event for this expo was the Battle of the Year (BOTY), which is effectively the South African Breakdance championships - where a search for the best and most innovative b-boy/b-girl to represent South Africa in the world championships took place. Black Noise members have been part of the teams that represented South Africa in 1997 and 2000 taking 3rd and 4th place respectively. The world finals will be happening in 2001 on November 17 at the Volkswagenhalle in Braunschweig, Germany.

The SA BOTY event was not as well attended as the organisers had hoped, but none the less the show did not fail to impress the eager audience who were entertained by the 25 crews who entered. The final results saw "Ballistic Rock" taking 4th place, in 3rd place were "Enemy Force", the 2nd place winners were "Style Skills", and the "Crazy Hip Squad" (who also won the award for the best show) took the number 1 spot. There were also 6 dancers selected for the South African Allstar team - Dwayne (Crazy Hip Squad), Benni (Style Skillz), Psycho (Enemy Force), Denzio (B-Boy Kingz), Tubby (Ballistic Rock) and Alvin (Universal Icons).

One of the competition's judges was Thomas Hergenröther, the founding member of the Battle of the Year. The first competition was held in Hannover (Germany) in 1990 with only 9 crews and 400 visitors in attendance. Over the years the figures have grown to the region of of up to 10 000 spectators. One of the goals of BOTY is to make the event as international as possible and also to have the event serve as a platform for B-Boys and Hip-Hop culture to be expressed in a peaceful and non-racist environment. We spoke to Thomas about BOTY, how it got started and where it is headed. Read on for the full interview...

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