Categorized | Kasi Diaries

The Case of The Artist

I’m an artist. Not the drawing type – I can’t draw to save my own life! Still, I’m an artist. And I don’t mean I’m one of those who write poetry that only makes sense to me and my boyfriend (only because he cares about me). I’m not one of those artists who like to hang out in Newtown smelling of armpits and hustling my way through life while wearing brown and khaki second-hand clothing. No, not that type of artist!

My thinking is… I’m free-spirited and I’m game for that “freedom of expression” blah blah warra warra. You can write what you like, I’ll buy you a pen and notepad, and say what you like… I’ll give you the mic and you can pretty much do whatever on earth you like. I am with you! But here in Africa my artist-ness will only go as far as these African boarders of respect and culture go. So basically, I’m only free to a certain extend. In my books, it completely makes sense and is not a contradiction at all.

Let me explain. With the backbone of the fact that I am African and have been raised in an African way, I will say and do anything I want, but with that Africanism as my guide. I’m not primitive in my thinking. I wouldn’t want my boyfriend to get into a Zulu stick fight in an attempt to win me over or anything like that; a good movie and conversation will pretty much do the trick. I have evolved with the times sure, but the basic things that a black mother or grandmother will teach a child still remain facts to me. Things like greeting your elders when you enter a room even if you have no idea who the hell they are, or you don’t back-chat when spoken to by someone senior. That will not change no matter how good my English accent will ever be. This simply means that I know to respect my elders no matter how stupid I think their choices are. I’ll keep my opinion of how whack my granny’s choice to walk instead of taking a bus to town all to myself – yes. Let’s not pretend our leaders and elders are all geniuses, but as an African child, I know not to do a painting of a man old enough to be my dad’s dad, no matter how creative – naked – and put it up in a gallery.

If I were to live in… let’s say… Europe I’d act like the Europeans do in terms of the way in which things are done to show appreciation, dignity and honour towards their governors, presidents, mayors and other leaders. I could never go to England and diss “Liz” (Queen Elizabeth)! If their ways conflict with what I believe in so much, perhaps leaving to stay in a place more accommodating to my thinking is more ideal, don’t you think? With that said, when in Africa do as the Africans do! Perhaps it is okay and somewhat “cool” in the Western world to disrespect the people who have been elected by the majority of the country as leaders. But in Mzansi…nah!

Pic Source: www.timeslive.co.za

If Zuma was white, and let’s say, maybe his name was John err… Mitchell, and he was from a white majority political party called the Freedom Front, would we seriously think so little of him that we’d plaster a shot of his genitalia for the world to see? I think not. Would we seriously hold debates on whether or not it’s okay to have such pictures up? No. Would a whole country come to a standstill over a picture? No. In Africa we have a certain way of doing things, and we as black people will stand our ground at keeping the theme of Respect standing. And if it means we get Kung Fu-d and head-butted while white people sit back and watch on the telly, so be it!


Poppy ‘Pops’ Vilakazi

This post was written by:

- who has written 70 posts on Kasi Times.

Twitter: @popsvila I am Poppy “Pops” Vilakazi, a 24 year old black and proud woman. I am shaped and defined but not limited to the ghetto lifestyle, culture and lingo. A Yahweh chaser by faith, a production manager by profession and a Kasi Times Editor by passion. Inspired by writers like Alan Paton, Fred Khumalo, Mongane Wally Serote, JM Coetzee, Ndumiso Ngcobo, Chinua Achebe, Karen Kingsbury and of course Zakes Mda. I only hope that through this publication you see that we are more than a stack of magazines put together and more than just words on a computer screen. May you see in us all that we’ve geared up and set out to do for you. I hope and pray that through my God given gifts and skills I am able to live up to our KasiTimes vision to “Empower, Motivate and Inspire” you to do and be more. Follow me as @popsvila on Twitter, Poppy “Pops” Vilakazi on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, and let me bless you with “A Piece Of my Mind” on my blog at www.popsvila.blogspot.com Blessings, Poppy “Pops” Vilakazi

Contact the author

  • http://twitter.com/Popsvila/status/205189291796733952/ Poppy Pops Vilakazi (@Popsvila)
  • kudly

    Wow!!wat a beautiful way to create a strong opionion.loved this article so inspired. Uyour a great writer Pops.

  • http://twitter.com/ahah5/status/205200581407682560/ nhlakanipho (@ahah5)
  • Pops

    Thank you so so so so so much Kudly!

  • Knmathe

    Point well made.

  • Olim234

    ”When in Africa do as the Africans do”? what?! , that kind of mentality is extremely dangerous.What is Africa? Its time we as African’s start waking up.The artwork is brilliant, its a metaphor. Zuma has many wives and children, that is why his genitals are sticking out. We ALL talk about Zuma and all the things his doing to the country, we curse and even vow never to vote for him.  This artist captured what WE have been saying for YEARS in the comfort of our homes, WHY are we crucifying him?. 
    In every country that has citizens that are dissatisfied with their presidents, you are bound to find artworks that are provocative, they are intentionally designed to get people talking. In USA they have hundreds of pictures that portray Bush as an iniquitous imbecile, even the great Obama is being mocked for being a puppet. 
    If people, African people , still want to hold on to ”themselves” and respect someone who openly pisses on OUR grandparents(who are older than him) by frivolously spending every dime on epicurean items then good for them! I REFUSE TO SIT BACK AND WATCH MY COUNTRY CRUMBLE. We are falling behind in the progressive world because we don’t READ!!!! and we hella hypocritical. Zapiro, from the star newspaper, has been expressing the views of the citizens for many years in same manner as this artist. He now even does it in animation, and his program has a following because WE share his views.  
    We ask for change in our bedrooms, but when someone SPEAKS on our behalf, we want to hang him, WHYYYYYYYY?

  • Pops

    Olim234 thank you for sharing your opinion just as I have shared mine. Yes you should have an opinion and should express it, great stuff, he can draw and get his message across yes. He has been doing art pieces during apartheid for decades. And has been able to do justice to a worthy cause through his art. This one, I found highly disrespectful and I feel he could have still captured his audience and got the message across differently. We have become so focused on getting our points across that we’ve forgotten how to speak to each other like humans. Zuma as odd as his ways are and at time WRONG he is still a man who deserves to be corrected with respect.  

  • Balls to the Walls

    The only thing I want to say about this whole thing is that being someone who appreciates art, I personally think this was a bad piece, scratch that…exhibition.  There’s nothing though-provoking about bad art.  And if we focused more on the actual art piece and exhibition that Brett Murray showed at Goodman Gallery than Zuma’s own ‘piece’ we’d be moving one step in the right direction.  

  • Pops

    Balls to the walls…LOL!

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