UP CLOSE & PERSONAL: LINDLEY HEYNES – LINKRIS THE GENIUS

Born and raised in Elsies River and Belhar, Linkris is inspired by his upbringing and he concretes his identity in both the hardships and the positive lessons that comes along with growing up on the Cape Flats. He is an artist of various strengths and talents, however he has a single-minded focus in the content that he writes and performs and that focus is the upliftment and glorification of his people, the Coloured community of Southern Africa through Hip hop music. Read his interview below.

1.     Who is Linkris?

Interesting question. I never know how to answer these but let me try: Linkris is the rapper that was sent from the future to remind Coloured people of their greatness via his music. Linkris is making it ok again to be Coloured without cooning or being anybody’s cultural prostitute.

2.     When did you first start rapping?

At age 5, rapping other people’s numbers (songs) off course 🙂

3.     Was rapping always something you wanted to do?

Yes, no doubt. I always wanted to be an emcee, but I was never comfortable with fame. I’m generally not a shy person, in fact, I speak easily in front of a crowd. But the fame/popularity thing is different. You appear on T.V or radio and all of a sudden random idiots on social media feel like they can have an opinion on you. So rapping yes, fame no as I am a very private person. But after many years of being O.K with being an “underground” rapper I’ve decided that I cannot let my blessing stay there, people need to hear the stuff that’s bleeding out of my pen. Hence, people are seeing my name pop-up everywhere now.

4.     Where do you get your inspiration from for your music?

I am inspired by my surroundings, by my family, our political heroes and our cultural icons. The Benni McCarthy’s of this world, the Alan Boesak’s and many more. Our people are extremely resilient and also very beautiful inside and out. So inspiration for my music is all around me.

5.     Have you ever performed with other local or international artists?

Yes to both local and international. From various genres of music too.

6.     What was your biggest highlight of your rapping career thus far?

I toured Holland (The Netherlands) last year and we did 5 shows across the 3 major cities. That was definitely a great experience as it was my first time overseas. However, highlights are all about perspective. I once did a very small-intimate acapella performance for the big shots of the W.A.T (Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal). There were about 50 people in attendance and my set was 40 minutes. I performed my song ‘Omdat Ek Kullid is’ and I had those people chanting that chorus word by word in an encore fashion. Remember, these are old white people and I and my team were the only Coloureds there. Can you picture these old-grey haired, extremely conservative white people chanting ‘Ek Survive Elke Dag Omdat ek Coloured is!’ on the top of their lungs?! When I performed last year at the KKNK I had 7000+ young people and adults shouting and chanting the exact same lines. I’ve done many shows and performances but moments like these 2 made me realise that I am living my dream.

Oh and being nominated for a Ghoema is next level. This is the first time that Afrikaans Hip hop is being recognised by award events such as the Ghoemas and I’m nominated, so this is kinda’ huge. This is also a big victory for the entire Afrikaans Hip hop community and for Coloured people in the broader sense.

 

 

7.     Do you think your environment has had an impact on your career choice or what you would now call your passion?

Yes definitely, growing up in the ghetto made me appreciate life and relationships so much more because in the hood life is fast. Poverty can break you or in can inspire you to become great. Violence can make you a victim or it can give you a sense of purpose in life. My rugged upbringing ensures that I stay humble even now that I have my own house and being married with an established career in Information Technology, I stay humble, but I don’t take shit. The ghetto gave me a spine and made me street smart. Also, Linkris’ artist profile is growing but remembering my roots ensures that I never get caught in all this celeb nonsense. I still have a very long way to go but I don’t see myself ever thinking of myself as more important than others. That’s a trap that many of my peers have been swallowed into.

8.     Is there a difference between Lindley the individual and Linkris the artist?

We do different things in terms of jobs etc. But no, we are the same person. I obviously have to separate certain characteristics here and there but we are the same. I honestly don’t have time to manage multiple personas.

9.     Do you think racial segregation still has a major impact in our country, especially the negative portrayal of Coloured people in the media?

Yes off course, Coloureds are still stuck in the middle and forced into a position where we have to choose sides between black and white, not just in the media but in most aspects of South African life. Until we become one and start building our own businesses and employing our own this situation will never change.

Until we build our own media houses and talent management agencies we will always be dictated to. We are okay with mediocrity, our people who are in powerful positions have grown content and comfortable. Too afraid to rock the boat, too busy kissing ass.

I know the challenges. I work two jobs on top of doing music and being a husband. I know it’s hard but I also know that many of my people are lazy when it comes to doing things for ourselves and for our own mense (people). We easily jump through hoops for white people but for ourselves and our own…nah (no). We are lack lustre and we have a culture of putting things off. We spew too much philosophy and quotes on social media but we take little to zero action. We also have a ‘haters complex’ we hate on Coloureds who are doing amazing things with their lives…the scars are deep.

I mean, ask yourself, with all these Coloureds in powerful positions in various industries in South Africa, why are we still where we at, economically? The government sucks but not everything is the government’s fault.

10.  Do you feel that you are an inspiration to Coloured people through what you are doing? Do you think your art has given Coloured people, especially the young ones the confidence to believe in themselves and go out to get what they want?

I’m not trying to be Ghandi or anything like that, in fact the thought of being a ‘cultural leader’ is scary. I certainly don’t want people to follow me but I definitely do believe that my music and moves has an impact on the youth yes. I’ve been rapping unapologetically about Coloured culture and Coloured pride for many years and I see many rappers are taking up the task now too, which is great! I’d like to believe that I somehow contributed to that movement.

 

11. Besides being Linkris, what else does Lindley do?

Lindley works as the Head of the Applications Administration department for Africa’s leading Oncology service provider and he is the Managing Director of Katalis Productions; an Artist Management and Digital Marketing company that is 100% Coloured owned. (YAY!)

12. What’s next for Lindley/Linkris?

Lindley – continue building Katalis Productions and continue to invest in our artists who are currently managed by Katalis. Lindley would like to do an MBA or mini-MBA in the near future, I believe this will help me to add more value to my current employers and grow my I.T career even further. Lindley would like to be a better husband to his beautiful wife and also become a better contributor to his community.

Linkris – for 2017, appear more on your T.V screens. Release more impactful music and Linkris is also bringing out a film this year titled ‘Bloed Optel’. There are some crazy collaborations lined-up and many other opportunities which I am not at liberty to speak about yet.

Photography Credit(s): Dillon Brown | Lindsey Appolis | Ronald Berwers | Madelein Andrews

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

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