Ekasi Through the Lens – Photographic Journey

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and for Lebogang Lekwae, better known as Azania Lab Tafari, telling stories through the good eye of a camera lens is a way for him to communicate with the universe and share stories that affect society.

His passion for photography started out when his father used to take him with to weddings and community events to take pictures. Starting off, Lebogang wasn’t so keen on taking pictures but saw it as an opportunity to earn extra pocket money and he took over from his father. He soon realised that there was a lot more he could do with a camera. His works on social documentary started out eKasi in Vosloorus where he captured pictures that showed another side to the township. He took pictures that were thought-provoking, showing the day to day lives of people from informal settlements that surround the township.

Lebogang’s work is influenced by his love for people and conversing with them to find out how they keep up with conditions they live under.

Lebogang’s first exhibition was alongside South Africa’s living legend in photography Mr. Alph Khumalo, the man behind the famous pictures on the historic event of the Soweto uprising in 1976. The exhibition, based at Roots Gallery in Soweto, captured the modern day scholar. The response was great. Lebogang is now currently studying at the Market Photo Workshop in Newtown, Johannesburg. He vows that he will soon be running his own photo studio, where people will be able get pieces of his work on request.

Lebogang would like to freelance with mainstream newspapers and magazines. He also promises that there’s a lot to look out for in the near future from the Azania Lab Photography. Here are a few pieces of his work:

  

 

You can check out more of his work on Flicker.com or FaceBook: Azania Photo Lab

Nobaba signing out!

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Me, Music and the Lyrics

One of the most unappreciated gifts is that of talent. When it is taken away from you, what you substitute it with, will not give you the same fulfilment. My journey in the music industry has been challenging to say the least. My name is Noban2 and I am the lead vocalist for a band named Passport.

Like many music die-hards, my journey has brought me such joy and pride, and yet as much heartache and pain. When I’m on stage I am strong and confident… It’s about the music and the lyrics as I bellow out a tune with the band in a musical trance.

We live in a society where our families and communities view our forms of expression as hobbies and insist that we redirect our passion to finding a job… any job! Am I rebel for going against the norm… the status quo? Am I a rebel for believing that I can pursue this dream and make a career out of being a vocalist? How many creatives, be it singers, dancers, poets or musicians, can relate?

I was never really interested in becoming a musician. I only ever saw myself as an actress or a teacher. But a jazz, funk, hip hop, soul singer? Nah! That was just not it! When I was younger, I quickly came to the realisation that when I sang, people would pay attention; they listened! My first experience performing on stage in front of an audience was at preschool. I remember that day so clearly. I was in a white frock with heavily padded shoulders and my hair was in pigtails. I had a microphone and singing on top of the backing track of ‘Daddy’ by Ricardo. I didn’t know it then, but I was talented! I loved reading and writing my own stories and that’s where my passion for writing started.

High school is a place where you discover yourself. You try to fit in with the cool kidz but only end up with the bunch that never gets invites to the coolest parties or hang outs. Well, I ended up in something like that. Nevertheless I plucked up enough courage to enter a school talent show in the dramatized poetry category. In the history of Germiston High, I was the first Grade 8 learner to win in that category. It was my small singing group’s victory the following year as the overall winners of the same talent show that made me realise there was something in me that was more than the writing… more than the acting. I had a great talent that I had been taking for granted… my voice.

My family’s move to Vosloorus introduced me to a life where art was respected and embraced. I began singing at jam sessions and I finally felt I had found my place. This was short-lived. My mother was against my new-found passion and this started our sometimes turbulent relationship. She kicked me out of home. All I wanted to do was sing. I stayed at a friend’s house for a while and eventually returned home after she’d asked me to return. Shortly after that, my band let me go because my mother had paid them a visit. I broke down and was depressed for a while. With guilt, my mother took me to a school where I could study music the following year and that brought ease to my soul.

It was difficult moving from a normal school to one where people were free to express themselves. I had to adjust to a new life that thankfully turned me into the Noban2 that I am. I met people with the same dream of becoming successful musicians. In my first year I took part in a cultural exchange program named Umoja Cultural Flying Carpet, which allowed me to travel to Mozambique and Zimbabwe. This opportunity opened up my eyes and I learnt to be appreciative of what I have.

As an ambitious vocalist – yes that is the right term… vocalist, not singer or any other name – I started putting up adverts to market myself, but that didn’t go too well! I once received a meeting request when all I had was just money to get to town! Intrigued and eager for a successful outcome, I also hoped that the person I was meeting would help me out with my taxi fare. His music was dreadful and I could tell that he knew nothing about music. In my disappointment after the meeting, I modestly told him about my taxi fare problem. He said he’d walked from where he stayed and didn’t have any money on him. I had to walk to the taxi rank and wait with the hope of bumping into someone I knew. At some point an old man kindly approached me and offered me taxi money. I couldn’t say accept his offer. Eventually, a friend who lived a short distance from my home came to my rescue. This incident made me I realise that wanting to be a musician and wanting to be a successful performer had its own drama.

On a night out in 2008 I was approached by a guy who was starting a band and needed a vocalist. I went to the first rehearsal with his band with my bass guitar and amplifier. They knew very little about music and were preparing for a show a couple of days later. We came up with the name for the band… and so ‘Passport Featuring the Republik of the Universe’ was born. Since then we have grown, enduring the hardships of life in the music industry and searching for deals and any gig that could make us successful.

I believe that God does not bless you with something you cannot use. There is a purpose to all of life’s experiences. Occasionally I meet someone who will say, “Hey, are not you that girl who sings for the band?” That always humbles me. There is so much to accomplish. I can touch people with just a song.

My wish is to stay on top of my game and make the best of my abilities to inspire those who, like me, have an interest in being great performers and motivators. Keep shining.

Noban2

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Hansa Pilsener launches new bottle at Thesis Social Jams, Soweto

Nobaba

Yesterday Kasi Times attended the launch of the new Hansa Pilsner bottle at Thesis Social Jams ko Soweto. The event was filled with fun and anticipation to experience the new look of the bottle. The launch was graced with people from different areas around Jozi and Soweto amongst them were the regular Hansa drinkers who thought the the look of the new bottle changed the taste of the beverage into a more sophisticated yet easy-to-down drink. Nobantu spoke to some of the people attending the launch. Some were having Hansa for the first time and thought it was a unique tasting beer and that with the new look, they would change from their preferred choice of liquor to HAnsa!

thesis concept store, Soweto

Checking out the merchandise at the Thesis store

Get your copy of Kasi Times and you’ll get to read more on this exciting topic…… or keep checking into www.kasitimes.co.za

 

Nobaba signing out ” for now”

Hansa Pilsener

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Spyral Teknic: Believing in Infinite Possibility

As Kasi Times, we’re on a search for Mzansi’s freshest upcoming fashion designers to profile in our publication. We’d like to feature the best creative talent in the cut throat fashion industry because we recognise that there aren’t many platforms that support and celebrate the work of designers who are still trying to establish their brands.

Spyral Teknic is a label that pushes the boundaries of urban Johannesburg street style. The faces behind the brand, Zimasa Gxoyiya, Anthony Kobane and Siyanda Makhathini, are ambitious individuals whose interpretation of style and their signature touch make their work funky, experimental and authentic. Spyral Teknic was established in January 2007. The founding trio prides itself in presenting casual street wear in a fresh manner reflective of urban youth culture.

“We are inspired by art in all its broadness, from photography to painting, music, filming and theatre. We pride ourselves in being able to assist people to inject their personality into their appearance, as we believe one’s image is an extension of oneself. Our fashion aims to parallel the characteristics presented by one’s finger prints, unique to every individual yet possessed by all. Our slogan is ‘infinite like possibilities’ – the unlimited inspiration and passion we implement into our garments.”

Spyral boasts a diverse clientele which includes performing artists, fashion junkies and those who are in touch with their fashion identity. The Spyral trio has shared the runway with some of South Africa’s biggest names in fashion and showcased their work at the SA Fashion Week, MTV Fashion Show and the 2010 Mpumalanga Fashion Week. They are currently working on a new label. I tried to squeeze out the name but that’s still under wraps. The boys though, were proud to announce that they will be going retail this year; which means we can all get a piece of the Spyral magic in our closets and be part of their revolutionary trendy style.

To contact the boys you can visit their Facebook page Spyral Teknic or call them up on: 0788283207 or 0739054015.

Nobaba signing out

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Dancing with the Universe

Dancing with the Universe

Sitting down to have a conversation with Thabiso is like chilling with an old friend. He has a warm inviting energy that is filled with the kind of excitement that makes you want to get up and shake off your two left feet. I had the opportunity to have a chat with this amazing Being after watching him doing what he does so well… teaching dance.

Thabiso is a motivational dance instructor who uses spiritual exercises to channel his students into a trance that encourages and motivates them into believing that they too can be super-dancers. Had I brought my dancing shoes and attire, I would have joined in!

Born and raised in Meadowlands, Soweto, Thabiso was a shy boy who loved playing soccer, like most young boys. However, an introduction to dance lessons by his English teacher at the time intrigued him. Although he was the only boy who signed up for classes, he was immediately hooked to the world of dance.

“Growing up I had a tough time communicating with people, so I took up drama lessons. This helped me improve my speech and that’s how I gained my confidence,” said the dynamic Thabiso. After matriculating, Thabiso participated in several dance activities in the industry and in 1998 he won the FNB Dance Umbrella Award for Most Promising Dancer in Contemporary Dance.

“As a young male dancer, I was inspired by a woman who coached me and she taught me a lot about the craft of dance. I looked up to her. She was as close to me as my own mother; that’s the kind of connection we had. My other mentor was David April. He is still my dance instructor. He introduced me to a dance programme called Edu-Dance. Our relationship has always been solid because he’s known me from an early age.”

He adds, “Dance has given me so many opportunities which I have cherished. One of them was travelling. I have been to so many countries and learned so much about people. Some of my dance has been influenced by what I have learned in my travels.”

Thabiso views his first major career breakthrough as his participation in African Footprint, which was a character-building and talent-enhancing experience. Another career highlight was being first runner-up on the popular reality TV dance competition So You Think You Can Dance. “My experience there was amazing. It gave me the opportunity to educate young men and women that dance is not a gender-based art, but a God-given talent and a creative form of expression.”

Currently, Thabiso is working on a solo project to establish himself as a brand. He also conducts dance lessons at Ipelegeng Art Centre in Soweto and every Saturday morning at the Dance Space in Newtown. In addition, he is a Brand Ambassador for Converse All Star.

“Dance is my calling and I intend to spread my knowledge to the young people of Mzansi. I tell stories with dance and I study people’s actions to create new moves; that’s just how I get inspired to dance with the universe.”

Nobantu ‘Nobaba’ Baba signing out.

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Tholi B: The Man Behind the Mic

By Nobantu ‘Nobaba’ Baba

There’s a wild, loud, funny and entertaining radio show that airs every week day at 6pm called Room 69, on the station that keeps the Gauteng youth moving, YFM. The man behind the Read the full story

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SoundGround

Every last Sunday of the month there is an excitement that fills the air in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni. The hyped up youth make their way to the bus stop at Basothong section, to indulge in another SoundGround session – an event hosted by Ishmael Sojane and his partners. SoundGround began in 2009 with the idea of bringing hip hop to one space, Read the full story

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The Empowered Lunch with Lebo Gunguluza

The Empowered Lunch

Kasi Times attended The Empowered Lunch With Lebo Gunguluza at the Da Vinci Hotel on the 1st of November. The session was a powerful motivational talk with guest speakers Bonnke Shipalana, Simphiwe Masiza and of course the man behind the Empowered Lunch, Lebo Gunguluza. Read the full story

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