Michael Bhatch is a Bulawayo-born, Cape Town based academic and sound artist. He teaches academic and information literacy at the University of the Western Cape, and his doctoral scholarship focuses on Afrofuturism within the context of continental Africa.


His other areas of interest include Sociolinguistics, Black popular music and African Studies.  As an artist he wears the hat of a Crate digger, DJ and Beat maker, who works across genres and other boundaries. His work as an artist is an extension of his scholarly output.


Public colloquium on the Music Department Colloquium Series

 31 July 2019, 1 pm, Stellenbosch University

Crate digging as Social Archaeology


The premise of this lecture is to discuss how record collectors operate as social archaeologists that discover and uncover sonic texts that tell different stories about the past, present and future, from the fringes of society. This lecture will explore how crate diggers operate as ‘chrono-political’ agents (as defined by Kodwo Eshun) and ‘data thieves’ (as defined by John Akomfrah) via the process of negotiating and understanding history through fragments of cultural artifacts (sound) from below. These sonic fragments, in turn, serve as a sounding board for speculation and shaping of the future through the practice of sampling and interpolation.

My discussion will center on the Hip Hop and House Music communities, which use sonic traces from the past to create sonic fictions, in the form of sampled beats, and thereby reexamine and reconfigure the relationship between the past, present and future. These sonic experiments act as vehicles for the cultivation of retrospective and future oriented political agency by collapsing the perceived boundaries between the past, and the future within the present moment.

Michael Bhatch