The online South African Rock Encyclopedia covers the history of South African rock music from the 1950s up to the early 2000s. All this information is made freely available to the public.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, various experimental and innovative styles of rock music were developing worldwide. "Psychedelic", "progressive", "heavy metal", "hard rock" were just some of the terms used to describe this incredibly inventive music. The term I like the most, which encompassed all these genres (and more), was "underground".
This very general term was what my father used to describe any music which he didn't like! So most of my record collection and almost all the songs on the late, great LM Radio were considered "underground". Anything from Focus to Wizzard, Deep Purple to Jethro Tull, was considered "underground"; often used in the same sentence as the phrase "turn it down".
In South Africa a number of wonderful "underground" groups formed, performed, recorded and disappeared, but their legacy of great music remains. For whatever reason, be it South Africa's pariah status at the time or just lack of record industry and media interest, this music failed to achieve overseas (and sometimes even local) recognition.
This website was established on the 1st of January 1999 to remember and archive these "forgotten" classics of South African rock. These archives has been compiled with the help of various SA Rock Digest subscribers, in particular Stephen "Sugar" Segerman, John Samson, Kurt Shoemaker, Tertius Louw and René Mullenders. A number of other people have also contributed.
Since late 2000 more and more of these "forgotten" albums have now become available on CD (mostly on Benjy Mudie's RetroFresh label) and since early 2001 I have also been trying to archive information on the early pioneers of South African pop and rock from the 1950s and 1960s, thanks mainly to the efforts of vinyl collector, Tertius Louw.
If your favourite South African album isn't listed here, our apologies. Unfortunately we are no longer able to dedicate the time and energy to updating this website as we would like, so it will need to remain as a time capsule for the foreseeable future.