Oppikoppi Unknown Brother 2011 Expectations…

Those South Africans living in the Western Cape swear lifestyle over money. It is well known that Johannesburg is the center of business in South Africa, but Cape Town is the city of the arts. Subcultures run deep and thrive in the ‘Mother City’ whilst industry is central in Johannesburg. With this in mind, the Western Cape plays host to many music festivals, usually 3 or more day parties set up on the wine farms and camping sites of the province. From the end of September to early April, the Western Cape has an outdoor psy-trance party every weekend. Commercial festivals like Rocking the Daisies, Earthdance, Ramfest and Resonance sprinkle the summer weekend calendar providing weekend after weekend of outdoor fun. Because of this full and varied line up, Cape Townians can tend to laugh at festivals held up country, such as H2O, one of Johannesburg’s biggest festivals…which happens from 10am – midnight…on the same day. This certainly doesn’t seem to encapsulate what Cape Townians want from a festival, namely being 1) outdoor lifestyle (rivers and fields), 2) camping = no drinking and driving, 3) 72 hours of non-stop music and partying.

With this in mind, the fact of the matter is that Oppikoppi (On the Hilltop) is South Africa’s most famous commercial festival, held not in the Cape but rather in Limpopo Province! Oppikoppi is in its 17th year, with this year’s festival being named Unknown Brother. Having always wanting to be a part of the festival, I am expecting a few factors (mostly learnt from others who have been before) These include:

1) Strange weather. Apparently boiling during the day, next level freezing at night. This is a far cry from the raining winter days in Cape Town, speaking of which, we don’t even have festivals in winter! 1 Point for Limpopo.

2) Lots of dust and no rivers. This is the bushvelt and if there is a river, you can’t swim in it. (Again completely opposite to the Cape where rivers and lakes are half the reason why being outdoors is so much fun!)

3) Quite pricey. We all know the kids in Jozi have all the cash, this is bound to hurt the Western Capetownian’s wallet but I believe it will be worth it.

4) Lots of bad accents. Let’s be honest, the South African accents up country aren’t the most eloquent.

There are also lots of GOOD EXPECTATIONS:

1) More than enough food. This is business people! Lots of money to be made here! At least this Cape Townian will have a few warm meals at Oppikoppi.

2) Friendly people. It’s a known fact that Cape Townians are snobby whilst Jozi people are super friendly (even if they are trying to use you as a business contact, it’s nice to all get along).

3) An enthusiastic crowd. These Jozi kids are starved for some good subculture music action! They will, no doubt, have a HUGE party this weekend with a strong Cape Townian saturated lineup, particularly on the electronic stage.

4) A timely festival. The more professional the organisers, the more smoothly the festival will run and considering this is coming from the business half of the country, I’m sure it’ll run like a well oiled machine – again completely opposite to the ‘hippie’ style of Cape Town organisation!!


1) Getting to Oppikoppi as a Cape Townian is a MISSION! To hire a car and drive off into the bushvelt as a female is a pretty tall order and dangerous.

2) The train to Oppikoppi. Great idea, except it takes 2 days to travel there, 2 days to travel back + 4 days at the festival. That’s 8 days in total! I’m surprised the hard workers of Jozi would even suggest this was an efficient thing to do considering most of us have day jobs!

3) Booking tickets through Standard Bank. Although I appreciate that up country is about making money and good business, I’m pretty annoyed that I had to register with Standard Bank (not my bank) and provide my personal details (obviously for marketing purposes) just to buy my tickets. My Standard Bank consumer e-mail has not provided any details on how to unsubscribe from their site, isn’t this against the new consumer act? Welcome to more banking spam mail.

4) The Kreef hotel took a month to reply to my mail about accommodation. It’s not exactly viable for Cape Townians to fly up country with tents, cooler boxes, clothes, etc for a festival. I thought the hotel would be a little more efficient in contacting their potential clients back. Not ayoba. Needless to say, I am not booked in at the Kreef hotel.

HOWEVER, after all the whining, I really am looking forward to traveling up country and letting the other half of the country give me a good run for my money. No matter how it works out, good or bad, I am happy to be making the journey. Hopefully Oppikoppi will shut my gob and convert me to their cause. Bring it on 🙂

P.S Expect more tales from the festival this weekend!


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