My dad the hero

South Africa is facing a lot of challenges, rising levels of abuse being one of them, specifically, woman and child abuse. How often do South African young men get to say  that their dads are their heroes and how many of those men are actually setting good standards for their sons through their actions. These questions are some of the hardest questions South Africans have to ask themselves because of the high rate of woman and child abuse. “A lot of young men lack the presence of a father and do not know how to treat a woman.” said Nkululeko Tshabalala, a young high school male student who faces the same challenge.

not in my name

Considering all the incidents that have been taking place around the country with women being abducted and murdered, a different approach should be considered in finding a solution, initiatives such as the not in my name movement that focus on young men and teaching them how to be responsible adults should be supported by the society.

Although there still is a long way to go, a lot has happened in trying to effect change. Religious affiliations, the government, NGOs and the likes have joint forces in trying to help men become better people and contribute positively to the society.

A Hidden Talent in The Ghetto

By Palesa Mlambo

The talents that take place in ghettos are often hidden, happening behind the corners of the streets. There is an insufficient exhibition to showcase the hidden talents in shady ghettos. In Kagiso, it is hard to find local artists’ talents getting exposure, but the birth of Art On Sundays (AOS) has revealed different kinds of talents on many unthinkable communities.

The AOS get a number of local artists to perform on a Sunday afternoon, have a good time and spend time together as locals. Artists such as Tebogo Serake and Sizwe Mashinini had once performed on AOS.

Encore performing one of their adulated hit. Photo credit: Instagram of the BrokenStool

We can all agree that our communities are full of undiscovered talent and overwhelming artistry. Artists such as Nhlanhla from the singing group Mafikizolo, comedians such as Skhumba and Tall Ass Mo are evidence of this hidden talent.  If we do not expose ourselves then we would be wasting away our God given talents.

One way to expose or unearth these gifts and talents is through initiatives such as the Arts On Sundays. Besides exposing talents, it also serves as an opportunity to know one another as members of the same community, an opportunity to encourage and inspire one another. It is an opportunity to unwind and enjoy good entertainment after a long week of hustling.

The AOS is a baby project from Brokenstool that started in February 2015. The idea was to get a community of creatives together and share their craft in the prospects to be discovered. AOS invites various industry names to share their time and talents every first Sunday of the month. AOS is a live and unplugged event, everything is nondigital. It creates an ambiance that is mellow and beautiful which allows people to be their true artistry with very little limitations.

“It is always so beautiful to see the numbers growing each month, people showcasing their work, and we bring the community together every once in a while,” said Lunga Duma one of the founders of Brokenstool events management.

Lunga Duma, last week Sunday in kagiso on Art On Sundays

The ultimate goal for the AOS is to infuse a little digital in order to grow the audience but also to keep the momentum going. The aim is to move into corporate and other sectors and put Kagiso on the entertainment map.

A local AOS supporter, Lindiwe Dhlomo said, “I find that the Art On Sundays is gradually growing each month and this is no surprise because our community needs events of this sort. People I’ve known for years go on stage and give great performances and I didn’t even know they could sing, that is what AOS is about, bringing everyone together.”

This article was first published by the Open Journal and it is republished with the permission of the Open Journal.

Abantu Book Festival coming this December — Word N Sound Live Literature Co.

By: Palesa Mlambo

Directed by Thando Mgqolozana and curated by Panashe Chigumadzi, the inaugural Abantu Book Festival will be held in Soweto from 6 – 10 December, and by the looks of the line up, this is an event not to be missed. Themed Our Stories, the literary festival lineup includes incredible storytellers across a number of disciplines […]

via Abantu Book Festival coming this December — Word N Sound Live Literature Co.

Success requires extraordinary effort – Athol Williams — Word N Sound Live Literature Co.

By: Palesa Mlambo

The year 2016 has been a memorable one for PEN South Africa Member, poet and social philosopher, Athol Williams. From scooping poetry writing prizes, the most recent being the Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Award, to publishing two books, one being a book of poetry called Bumper Cars, the other being his autobiography, Pushing Boulders. At […]

via Success requires extraordinary effort – Athol Williams — Word N Sound Live Literature Co.

my twitter experience

A week or two ago i started tweeting about art in general, i searched for things to do with writing, music and poetry. it was interesting because i wanted to inform and educate society about the developing art in our communities, i ended up learning a lot of things like the importance of developing writing skills at an early age, how music is connection to the soul. the articles that i came across made me realize how we have evolved in terms of expressing ourselves.  My tweets were responded to by other artists and this is evidence to me that the culture of art is still alive. people liked and re tweeted my tweets. this shows that even those that do not necessarily write or sing themselves enjoy reading and engaging in other people’s work. people use writing or words to either escape from their realities or find fresh perspectives on certain issues. i realized also that people respond better to a tweet that includes some sort of multimedia compared to a plain written tweet, therefore, in future i would most probably include more pictures, videos links etc. in order to create awareness. The second picture says what a lot of people feel, i know that i for one understand my thoughts better when i read them and that is how i cope. words are important for both the reader and the writer. words written simply give perspective.


friday poems

Let Them Eat Chaos
Kate Tempest

The squats we used to party in
            are flats we can’t afford
The dumps we did our dancing in
            have all been restored
Pints are up two quid
            the staff are beautiful and bored
You think it’s coming round here?
            It’s falling on its sword.
It don’t feel like home no more
            I don’t speak the lingo.
Since when was this a winery?
            It used to be the bingo.
I’ve walked these streets for all my life
            they know me like no other.
But the streets have changed.
            I no longer feel them
                                    Alright alright, I get the gist.
            Whose city is this?
It doesn’t want me no more.
I’ve had a glimpse
            into the future.
It stinks.
            London’s a walled fort,
            it’s all for the rich,
            if you fall short you fall.
You know where the door is.
            Board up the broken,
do it up,
            sell it back
make it bespoke.
                    It’s all out in the open.
            It’s fine, man,
            hike the price right up
and smile with your friends
            in the posh new nightclubs.
My streets have been dug up.
                    New routes for commuters.
           The landscape has changed
I’m looking for the old tags,
           the graffs that once meant
                    safe territory
but it seems
           every hieroglyph gets whitewashed

Ghetto Meets Art

By: Palesa Mlambo

The Poet Come Alive (PCA) talks to Lunga Duma, a founder of the brokenstool, founder of the Mthombeni photography and co-owner at the skhokho_mina_fashion&style. He studied hospitality at the South West Gauteng TVET College. He lives in Mogale city, Kagsio. The brokenstool gave birth to the art on Sunday initiative which takes place every 1st Sunday of the month around Kagiso.  The art on Sunday gets a number of local artists to perform on a Sunday afternoon and just have a good time and spend time together as locals.

Lunga Duma at his home in Kagiso.

Please share with us briefly what AOS is about?

 The arts on Sunday (AOS) is a baby project from Brokenstool that started in February 2015. The idea was to get a community of creatives to get together and share their craft in the prospects to be discovered. We invite various industry names to share their time with us every first Sunday of the month.

What made you decide to start this initiative?

Initially we wanted to have jam sessions but the idea was bigger than just that so we created a lifestyle movement for the Westrand

What impact does AOS have on the community, have you received any positive feedback?

It is always so beautiful to see the numbers every month, people show casing their work, and we bring the community together every once in a while…

What challenges have you encountered?

We usually have financial issues when it comes to execution after planning, because we pull from our own pockets which sometimes makes it hard to host consistently

What sets AOS apart from the other art related events that take place in kagiso?

Art on Sunday is live and unplugged, everything is non digital we create an ambiance that is mellow and beautiful that allows people to be their true artistry with very little limitations.

Any future plans for the art on Sunday?

We are looking to infuse a little digital into the mix to grow the audience but also to keep the momentum going. We want to go into corporate and other sectors, we are looking at putting kagiso on the #entertainment map.

khaya Dlanga speaks up

 Why I too am angry along with the young ones
2015-10-21 08:14

Khaya Dlanga

To be young means to be full of hope. To be young means to fight if you must keep that hope alive. Expensive fees will remove that hope from them after it had been given.

The worst thing you can do for someone is to give them hope and then take it away. That is what escalating university fees are doing. And so I want to urge the students to continue being angry.

It is especially difficult for black people. Most of those who go there with this hope are the first ones in their families to go tertiary, and some even then first to attain a degree.

Can you imagine being a parent, taking your child to an institution of higher learning and then halfway through it, you can no longer afford the escalating costs? It’s like being on one of the Apollo missions to the moon, and halfway, or even a third of the way there, you get told there is no more fuel. No amount of hard work is going fill that rocket with fuel. This is what many black students are faced with. Hope snatched away..

Our leaders say that they want to eradicate poverty, they want us to be a world leading nation. They want a fast growing economy.

Educate the nation

They want to raise millions of people out of poverty. Yet they make education, the one thing that is almost always guaranteed to lift people out of poverty, unattainable for millions of people. We cannot build this nation if we do not educate it.

When you make education inaccessible, you make prosperity only possible for the already prosperous. In South Africa, that is already a small portion. And we know what that means.

As Thabo Mbeki put it:

“South Africa is a country of two nations. One of these nations is white, relatively prosperous, regardless of gender or geographic dispersal. It has ready access to a developed economic, physical, educational, communication and other infrastructure.

“This enables it to argue that, except for the persistence of gender discrimination against women, all members of this nation have the possibility to exercise their right to equal opportunity, the development opportunities to which the Constitution of ’93 committed our country.

“The second and larger nation of South Africa is black and poor, with the worst affected being women in the rural areas, the black rural population in general and the disabled.

“This nation lives under conditions of a grossly underdeveloped economic, physical, educational, communication and other infrastructure.

“It has virtually no possibility to exercise what in reality amounts to a theoretical right to equal opportunity, with that right being equal within this black nation only to the extent that it is equally incapable of realisation.”

I remember when I was a little boy living in the rural Transkei. I would stand near the road to make sure that the livestock I looked after would not wander off to the road and be run over by a passing vehicle.

Something wasn’t right

One day while I was standing by the side of the road watching cars drive past, with some of them stopping to take pictures of us with our oversized clothing and stomachs and dry skins from swimming in the river. There was never any real plan to swim but we always ended up swimming and going back home with dry skins.

I started to notice that the people who were always in these fancy cars with boats trailing behind them with fishing rods sticking out the windows were always white. They always looked so happy. So carefree. So white. I knew that there was something wrong. Why didn’t black people have any of these things? I didn’t know what was wrong but I knew whatever was going on wasn’t right.

Some of the livestock I looked after would manage to pay for my first year of tertiary education, accommodation, food, transport, the expensive equipment that was needed for the course I was studying. New clothes were a luxury. Yes, I had plenty of underwear and socks with holes in them. They were not a priority.

When the money dried up. I was very aware. My studies began to suffer because of two things: at first, I became homeless because I didn’t have a place to stay. I had to choose between having food and having a place to stay or having food but no place to stay. The choice I made was to have food but no place to stay.

Struggling to survive

For a few months I stayed illegally in a flat that was being renovated, removing rubble every night and waking up early every morning because I didn’t want the workers finding me still asleep and then them having the bright idea of locking the door when they left in the late afternoons after working.

I even had to become a criminal in order to be able to go to college. I used to forge my monthly train ticket, I didn’t want to buy a train ticket because that would take away from the little money I had for food and supplies for my college projects. I would put my ticket in a milky transparency I had inserted inside my wallet to ensure that the conductors would not see that the ticket was a forgery. I despised the fact that I had been reduced to this.

After some time, the workers arrived too early and I had to run away, never to return. I ended up sleeping on the desks at the college I was studying at in the evenings. Unfortunately, some nights, which happened frequently, students worked late into the nights and I would pretend I too was working late like them.

When in reality, not only did I have nowhere else to sleep, I wasn’t working late because I had run out of money for supplies to complete projects. It was a snowball effect. You appear to be performing poorly because of other circumstances that no one wants to consider because privilege only knows privilege. It cannot understand that which does not come from whence it comes.

The white kids would work late and leave in their cars or would be picked up by a brother, a sister or a parent in the middle of the night. There were no more than five black students.

In my case, I went to a private college, the students I stand in solidarity with are not in private colleges, but I know that there are many who don’t want to have the story that I have. In fact they shouldn’t. Yet there are some who have the story that I have. In 2015. 20 bloody freakin’ 15. And yet we still have people who want to glamourise poverty.

At the time, my level of thinking was not as advanced as today’s students who trace back the fact that they struggle financially because their parents and grandparents were handcuffed and prevented from improving their lives by apartheid policies. For me, it was simply because my mother was not educated and did not have a job.

That was that. I had no thought of the sinister plot that had been hundreds of years in the making to reduce people like me to nothing more than second-class citizens.

History stalks our present

We have people out here asking why students aren’t applying for loans. What they don’t think about is the fact that some of the parent’s don’t have well paying jobs that will allow banks to provide those loans. And still others have parents who do not work. So tell me, how a bank will take surety from a person who does not work? And all of this is a legacy of our history which still stalks the present. Apartheid was designed to trap the black person in a cycle of poverty and white people would be propelled into a perpetual gift of prosperity. How? Let me simplify as I did in a blog, We Are Not The Same,

“For a start, being white meant that you had access to better schools, as the government spent at least eight times more on the education of a white person than it did on a black person. What is the result of this? Generations of white people received a superior education and this meant that they had access to better jobs (not forgetting that the best jobs and universities were reserved for white people anyway). Naturally, white people would end up with more money than black people.

“This also meant that for generations white people were able to accumulate wealth, knowledge and know-how while black people were left behind. As a result, white children who were born after the end of apartheid still benefit from what their parents benefited from. A nice house in the suburbs, better health care, access to good schools because their parents were able to have a better job because they were able to go to university and receive superior qualifications.

“That is then transferred to their children, who start off from a better position than their parents.”

This was followed by numerous privileges.

Because blacks do not have these privileges, expensive university fees shut blacks out – the end result, no transformation in the work place – no economic freedom. We end up being second class citizens in our own country.

Let the kids liberate us from our own blindness. Viva youth of 2015 viva!