Formed in Johannesburg in 1983 by Rene Veldsman (bass and vocals), Spider Wider (vocals and percussion), Lukas Luislang (keyboards) and Michele Rowe (percussion). Prior to forming Via Afrika Rene Veldsman had already had a successful musical career as a session musician and with studio groups, most prominently Disco Dance Machine (with Trevor Rabin).
Via Afrika burst onto the South African music scene in 1983 with their debut album Via Afrika and the single “Hey Boy”. They followed this with the less successful Scent of Scandal album in 1984.
Also in 1984 the band went over to the United States for a lengthy stay, with the hopes of launching an international career there. They mixed in celebrity music circles (including with Lou Reed) and were invited to perform on Little Steven van Zandt’s “(Ain’t gonna play) Sun City” song. However, when they tried to secure the release of their music in the United States all doors were closed to them because of the cultural boycott.
When they returned to South Africa they broke up. Rene Veldsman then went on to run her own recording studio in Johannesburg.