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Rapper RAFAELO on His "Kwaifro" Sound and Upcoming EP

Raphael Tambwe, known by his artist name RAFAELO is an South African rapper, songwriter, record producer, model,dancer and actor. RAFAELO is well known for his fashion taste and music sound which he calls “Kwaifro”. The sound is highly influenced by Afro-beat and mixture of popular local South African sound Kwaito. RAFAELO recently released his long anticipated first single ‘WEWE’ featuring USA singer,song-writer Konkrete. The single is off his debut EP project Baecation. The single dropped on the 14th February 2019, the song is inspired by love. "The world needs love and especially African love", says RAFAELO.

Please share your journey in music and how you started out

I’ve always had the love for music and entertainment. Main reason is Michael Jackson, when I was young I used to watch him and imitate him. I won almost every talent show in primary and high school. Also growing my mom and dad always played music and my dad had a collection of vinyls, he would play music and ask me to dance for him and his friends. So growing up I always knew I would pursue a career in the entertainment industry, because I am a born entertainer.

Tell us about the "Kwaifro" sound and what drew you to merging Afro Beat sounds and Kwaito

Well I wanted a new fresh sound, a unique sound which will be easily relatable. Seeing I grew up listening to a lot of Kwaito music because back then Kwaito was our own Hip Hop and the genre had a huge influence on culture. I grew up listening to Mandoza, Mdu, Brown Dash etc. So myself and one of Africa’s elite producer Kiddominant were in studio working on my project so we wanted to merge South African sound (Kwaito) and Nigerian sound (Afro Beat),that’s how we came up with Kwaifro.

Tell us about your debut EP, when are you releasing it and what can we expect?

My debut EP will be dropping sometime this year, we haven’t finalised the exact release date yet, but in the process leading to the release of the EP I’ll be dropping singles and my brand new single “Wewe” featuring USA singer,song write Konkrete is the first single off the EP.

You have collaborated with a number of musicians very early in your career, what does collaboration mean to you and how has it impacted your career so far?

Collaboration is everything reason being you get to put two different worlds together. As an artist you also get to tap into a different market seeing that every artist has their own fan base. Also the main thing for me being blessed with the opportunity to work with all these big names has been nothing but a humble experience for me to learn and grow as an artist.

Other than the titles rapper, musician, producer, model, actor and dancer, can you briefly tell us who is Rafaelo?

Rafaelo is a loving ,caring, passionate, dedicated, hardworking kid who just wants to bring creative art to life. Live life to the fullest and spread positivity.

As a musician at the beginning of your journey, what have been the highlights of pursuing music and what have been the biggest lessons so far?

My biggest highlight thus far has to be going on my first European tour, that was really a great experience. Meeting new people and seeing how quick and fast music can travel to places you’ve never thought you would go.

The biggest lessons for me thus far has to be, always stay true to yourself and always try keep the same circle of people around you. And family is very important, because this industry can make one lose their identity easily trying to fit in.


Photographer: Gabriella Achadinha

Stylist: Donna Lee


Look 1: Shirt - Vintage Armani,Pants - Zara

Look 2: Suit: Giorgio Armani

Look 3: Shirts - David Jones, Scarf and pants- Zara

Look 4: Hat - Cyrstal Birch, Jacket - Levis, Pants & Skirt - Mentoue, Shoes - Reebok

Look 5: Inner Jacket - Burberry, Red Jacket - Burberry, Camel Jacket - Native Youth, Pants - David Jones

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