Archive | Kasi Diaries

Skwatta Kamp – Mkhukhu Funkshen,10th Anniversary


There’s a tendency here in South Africa of not celebrating our music, but I don’t blame it much on us the consumers, I blame it on the record companies. I was looking at Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album, the album was released in 1982, after that the album has been reissued/re-released several times into different editions, containing remastered songs, alternate versions of the songs, previously unreleased songs. The album is celebrated, it’s heritage to the Americans. So this got me thinking, why there isn’t something like that here in Mzansi? There are so many local albums that I consider classics and I would love to see them being remastered and reissued. I had most of these albums on cassettes but they are nowhere to be found on CDs! Especially the 90’s kwaito, and mid-tempo house era.

So this year I want to celebrate an album that I think it’s significant, ‎”Mkhukhu Funkshen” by Skwatta Kamp. The album was released in 2003 in the era that local Hip Hop was on the rise. For me ‎”Mkhukhu Funkshen” was one of the first local Hip Hop albums to do well commercially. The first single “Umoya” was such a smash hit, everybody loved it – even my O’lady loved it. “Umoya” was one of those songs that hit you instantly weather you’re into Hip Hop or not. The album was well made, well produced and I just couldn’t skip a track! I remember Lira sang the chorus for “Eskhaleni” and honestly back then I never thought she would be this far (Not in a bad way though). Listening to “Eskhaleni” now just made me realise how far she has come. ‎When ”Mkhukhu Funkshen” came out, everybody wanted to be a rapper, even I wanted to be a rapper. The album became a land mark for Mzansi Hip Hop from 2003 to now, it kind of opened doors for other Hip Hop cats because they wanted to compete with Skwatta Kamp. A lot of underground Hip Hop cats came out on the surface, cats like H20, Zulu Mobb, Cashless Society and others. I am not that clued up about Hip Hop but I think Skwatta Kamp made people appreciate local Hip Hop more, after ‎”Mkhukhu Funkshen” people began to appreciate movements like Motswako. Unfortunately I had this album on cassette when it came out, now I can’t seem to find it anywhere and I know if there are people who still have it on CD, chances are it might be super scratched.

It’s been a decade since the release of this great classic album and I know Skwatta Kamp released several albums before ‎”Mkhukhu Funkshen” and after. Bozza, Flabba, Shuga Smaks, Nemza and Slikour have done some solo albums, but I wonder what happened to Infa and Nish? So this year I commemorate this album and I wish it could be reissued as a 10th anniversary deluxe edition, and if there was a way, it would be gold plated. Big Up, I Salute Ma’gents.

By Peter “P.Mash” Mashabane

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The end of the world…my prediction


I’m frankly tired of waiting for the world to end and I know I’m not the only one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy here. I don’t want the world to end but there have been so many end-of-the-world prophesies that it’s now getting quite exhausting. The worst part about it is that they keep us on edge. We stock up on tuna and sell our belongings and then come the date, nothing happens. Do you know how hard it is to go through 12,653 cans of tuna before their sell by date? I’m not wasteful so it all has to go, somehow.

It was while I was eating the tuna desert after the tuna dinner which had been preceded by the tuna starter that I had had a thought. It seems to me that anyone just postulates their own end-of-the-world date. The silly part about it is that they put it so close, that they can be proven wrong. Maybe I should give it a go. Why not? Here is mine.

I predict that the world will end in the year 2,000,000,000. Yep, the year 2,000,000,000. Now, you are probably going to read that twice or thrice to make sure. Yes, it is a year and not a currency, not a typographical error nor is it a random number. I will write it again. The world will end in the year 2,000,000,000. That year is 1,999,997,987 years away from now.

I will hasten to say that my prediction was arrived at not through zealous religious fanaticism, because that has let many apocalyptic prophets down but through science and a deep sense of self preservation. I’ll come to that later but allow me to give you some background. My tuna-inspired enlightenment led me to read on as many end-of –the-world predictions as I could. Would you believe that I found over 200 highly publicised ones, the first one coming in 634BC. They were way off (poor buggers). The bulk of these were driven by religion. For instance, in 793 AD, a Spanish Monk named Beatus of Liébana prophecied the coming of Christ to be April 6 in that year. In 1000AD Pope Sylvester II predicted the end of the world that year but alas. Europe rioted and the world travelled to Jerusalem only to be back home by the end of the week. Pope Innocent III had his punt in 1284, Marin Luther predicted 1600, and it goes on, right up to the Mayans at the end of December last year. What have we learned from this? Well, simply that religious dating of the end of the world is very unreliable.

Let’s now explore my scientific methods and my sense of self-preservation. You see, I am tired of packing my bags and buying tuna every couple of years. If I have my own prediction, I can now sit comfortably and chuckle at anyone else’s predictions. How’s that for wisdom? Now to my science. My reason for predicting that the world will end in 2,000,000,000 is because it will be the end of our Sun’s current phase of development, after which it will swell into a red giant, either swallowing the Earth or at least completely scorching it. That’s as far as I will go. I’ll let the Theologians work out how that merges with Revelations in the bible.

I guess my overall message is quite simple. We are so often overwrought with fears of an impending end; we forget to live our lives. I hope that by giving you my prediction, you will be calmer and focus on the things that matter while you are here. Enjoy this trip and do the best you can for those you can and eat less tuna. So often we have been frightened by so many people into giving up only having to rebuild later. I say don’t worry; the year 2,000,000,000 is very very far away.

- By Garikai Nhongo

Twitter: @GarikaiNhongo

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Low budget dating guide for amajita in 2013

For those brothers who are about to go into a relationship but think ‘Oh snap it’s cheaper to be single” I am not about to mislead you, it is true. Let’s face it, the initial dating phase is any man/hustlers life is a nightmare to the wallet. Chocolate and cellphone companies don’t see it that way though.p2

The likes of Forrero Rocher, Cadbury and Lindt don’t care about your debits bouncing. Cell C, MTN, Vodacom and Heita are making a killing from love birds who spend their day smsing sweet nothings all day or practise the words of Stevie Wonder when he “Just called to say I love you”. Do not get me started on the fast food joints filled with couples snogging each other in corners in front of shocked pikinini’s. Businesses thrive from couples who are head over heels in love with each other. I love love so I have come up with cost effective ways to keep that love booming/growing/flourishing without growing broke in 2013.


  1. When you hook up with your “sweerut” or “Sugar dibeng beng” for a lunch date, to avoid a large bill I suggest you eat a minimum of 6 slices of bread with either jam or peanut butter (filing I tell you) at least an hour before the date and take that down with tea as that fills you up more than a glass of warm Oros ever would.
  1. As a man, don’t think she will think any less of you if you suggest to meet up at a cost effective fast food joint like Hungry Lion, KFC, Chicken Licken, Maki’s Kota’s. Humility is sexy. I’m serious.
  1. Why go to the movies and spend R150 on a movie (popcorn and coke excluded) when our broadcaster SABC and E-tv have such a great line up of films this year? Fine, they all star Chuck Norris and Van Damme but the whole point is bonding is it not?
  1. Avoid going to malls with your woman, meet in a park, a taxi rank, ekoneni or something financially safe like that.
  1. Valentine’s day, I advise you make it clear from the 1st of February this year that you think it is a commercialised day sucking the money out of perfectly healthy relationships. Also give her the gory and depressing history of how Valentines day actually came about. When the 14th arrives, trust me, she won’t be interested. Thank me later. My email address is valentines
  1. We love perfume and fancy things. But tell her how her natural odour is more than good enough as it is. Why dilute perfection? Why buy a Brazilian weave for thousands when her kinky fro makes her a Nubian queen? We appreciate being told how awesome we are, even when we really aren’t on that day. Do it.
  1. Do activities that don’t require you to take out instant loans with your grandmother in order to keep the fire burning. Like paint her toenails, write her poetry, go for long walks. Talk. Cook for her. Get to know her.
  1. Get creative, make her a gift for her birthday. Don’t buy mfwetu. Trust me it has more weight *wink*.
  1. Communicate via Whatsapp, BBM, Twitter or Facebook. So reliable, so affordable it’s almost free, may God bless whoever invented the internet.


  1. Visit her when she least expects it, call her when she doesn’t know you will. Pick a rose from your (white) neighbours garden. The way to a woman’s heart is through an unexpected gesture of love.

With that said, we ladies don’t really need that much from a man. Sure, you can spoil her every now and then, but it’s not the price of an item that makes us blush like little white girls and draw maps with our feet on the ground. It’s the thought that goes into each and every word a man says that has meaning. Like saying how beautiful you think she is, telling her you love her. Rubbing her feet after a long day at work. Asking if everything is fine with her family and caring about her feelings these are things that makes us tick. When you spend your time listening to a woman and know her shoe size or what her favourite show her is, you are a man indeed. Get that right and 2013 will be heaven on earth for you and yours.

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Sabelo Mthembu -The next big thang to hit the music world!

Unfortunately due to the rapid pace life seems to travel at, I never have time to ever listen to music, but when I do get time it has to be have been worth that precious minute. So because I never have time for things like fun or social activities I was invited/forced to a performance by a good friend of mine and the opening act was a young man who for once in my life made me shut up and give him my undivided attention the minute he opened his mouth to sing.

SabeloThere is just something about Sabelo Mthembu’s voice that has me believing and knowing for a fact that this young man will become the next big thing to hit SA’s music scene in 2013.

His voice is husky yet also like silk. Rough and rugged, but also perfectly smooth and pure.  I’m so happy that when he gets nominated at the SAMA’s  or Metro’s this year in the Best New Comer category I will be one of those people who will sit back from my couch and say “Kasi Times told you so”. His music speaks to the heart in that he sings about love, life and brotherly affection in a cheerful yet soulful manner with a sprinkle of quality jazz elements in it. Rare for someone his age. I’m no Simon Cowell or Randal Abrahams but “Songs of Brotherhood” is an album I would buy any day and rock in my car, phone, ipod, stereo or hi-fi.


The former SA idols contestant sings about things I can relate to, things I aspire to feel and his beats are simply …beautiful. I love each and every track because I can tell he did not rush himself in creating songs like “Ungumfowetu”, “Phola nhliziyo” or “Ofana nawe” which by the way is the title track to Thami Ngubeni’s SABC talk show “Life with Thami”. I can tell through tracks like “Dreaming in Cairo” that this brother is serious about his talent. I am a sucker for anything related to love so the song “Angiphili mawungekho” is my favourite/national anthem.


_JCA1930 copyHe sings both in vernac and English and has a voice so unique you would have to hear it for yourself in order to get what I am going on about. But if I would try to compare his vocal quality to anyone famous I would drop names like Anthony Hamilton, John Legend and Lemar except the difference is that he is unique in that he does it in a proudly Mzansi way. “Songs of brotherhood” drops at the end of February 2013. It’s a must have.

View his profile on

Download his single on


Poppy Pops Vilakazi

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You aren’t getting any younger

Remember how as kids we couldn’t wait to be “grown-ups”? We couldn’t wait to leave the nest and go out into the world with anticipation of adventure, fame and fortune? As children our world view was rather rosy, multi-coloured and held great promise. As inspiring as these ideals were, it seemed like it would take forever to get there. Then one day you woke up to the reality that you’ve become an adult and time seemed to have played a trick on you.  It’s scary how time has crept up on us isn’t it? Well, time waits for no man or child for that matter. So let’s leverage our most important resource and make the most of ourselves in the process.

wandile nyunduI recently had a conversation with a good friend the other day, and she was telling me how disappointed she was that, at her age, things hadn’t turned out as she thought they would. I’m sure we’ve all gone through this at some point haven’t we? We let our dreams and ambition go unattended and then beat ourselves up for not having followed through on our intentions when we had the opportunity. We then come up with stories about why we couldn’t do the things we set out to do. You may have at some point of your life said “Life happened and I just couldn’t get around to doing it” or “I don’t have to worry, I’m still young”, but holding onto these stories won’t do you any good.   This may be hard to reflect upon, but procrastination and laziness are the primary culprits in this regard. And everyone is guilty of this.

Reason being is that we tend to think that time is on our side, so we put off our most important tasks to some undetermined date then let urgency consume our attention.  Truth is, you aren’t getting any younger. If you’re between the age of 18 and 35, these are possibly your best years in terms of performance energy, creative output and risk tolerance. So take advantage of your youthful capacity and start getting things done. Don’t wait till some future date for your life to take off. Consider the pain and remorse if, let’s say ten years from now,you were to look back at how you squandered your valuable time and energy on things that didn’t get you closer to any of your desires. If you and I are to avoid this situation, we’ll need to commit to consistent, immediate and bold actions towards our life visions.

Remember, successful people have a bias for action. But that doesn’t mean they always take successful actions. Truth is you’ll make mistakes, but you’re better off making mistakes of ambition at an early age. It’s easier for a twenty five year old to bounce back from a career or business failure than it is for a forty five year old. That said; don’t let your age be a reason for you to hold yourself back from doing the things you want to do either. Let it not be said that change was happening all around you, that the signs of times were readily apparent but still you slept. We all have the same number of hours in a day, everyone from a millionaire to a hobo and what you do with those hours makes all the difference. As the old saying goes, “Youth is wasted on the young”.Don’t let that be said about you, make each day of your life count.


Live on purpose

Wandile Nyundu


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The extinction of men

men 10My morning routine during the week is fairly standard. I’m up early to beat the morning traffic then I hit the gym to pretend to exercise before I go to work. My time at the gym is mainly spent on the treadmill. Not because I’m a running junky, far from it, but simply because the treadmills have TV screens. It sounds lazy, I know, but this allows me to catch up on the news as I exercise. A stroke of genius, I keep telling myself. Who can resist a healthy and knowledgeable guy? My reason for writing this article stems from my watching the news in the gym on one fateful morning.

Fade to a chilly winter morning about six months ago. As I ran on the treadmill, an interesting story came up where scientists were now able to create sperm cells using skin cells. I immediately fell off my treadmill! Shock and horror! In the article they heralded this as fertility treatment for men who would have survived cancer and chemotherapy that would render them sterile. Now, they could still have children thus changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of families. After hearing this you must be at a loss as to why I fell off the treadmill. Allow me to explain. This is a good sounding tale, but I wasn’t buying what they were selling.  men 1

As many men were excited about this, I could see the reality behind the smoke screen. The wood for the trees, so to speak. This was the beginning of the end. Our slow…very slow Armageddon.  In order to understand my logic, we must go back to pre-historic times. When humanity started, men were valuable. Initially, our value was because of our superior strength, we could and would protect our women and provide for them. Women needed us. Then things progressed. Some form of economics developed and whether the currency was in the form of sea shells or rocks, it was economics. There with it, came the sale of weapons which could mitigate the perils of physical weakness. But, we were still on top of this because men controlled the economics and the purchase of weapons etc. Therefore, women still needed us. men 2

This persisted until the early 20th century when women now began to take part in economics. Slowly but surely, men’s value as protectors and providers started to lose its shine. A woman could simply hire her own bodyguards or buy her own gun. All was not lost though because as we began to lose our prehistoric and economic advantages, we still had a benefit that they did not. We had the means to pleasure our women through our God-given phalluses. Our saving grace! In essence, women still needed us.

But then, the hedonistic world of sexual depravity reared its ugly head and commercially women could now buy manufactured penises. Some which would make any man feel inadequate. Moreover, the women now had the choice to have several of these “objects” and hence satisfy numerous fantasies  without us. But wait! No matter how these were made, women could not sire children without us. No matter what they tried to do, they needed men to sire children. Therefore, women still needed us.

sad man

I’m sure by now you can see where I’m going with this because this news story hit me where it hurts (literally). In no time, this will go commercial and all women will need to do is go for skin grafting and boom, she’s pregnant…by herself! If evolution is anything to go by, the uselessness and redundancy of the Y chromosome won’t be hard to pick up and after Lord-knows-how-many years, production of it will cease entirely and poof…no more men. We will become extinct. Oh…I can see the last days, when unshaved and unkempt men are staring from within cages in zoos at women as they walk around and take pictures. We won’t be able to talk now because no one would have talked to us in thousands of years so our grunts will seem to them to be proof of our animalistic and pre historic nature. I can even hear the conversations. “These are called “men”. Yes, just “men”. They used to be better than us, and then we were equal. Then…well…here they are.” Dark days indeed! I know my conclusion may seem a little far fetched but isn’t that the course of evolution? My hope is that in the future, women may discover this article and then they will know that men once had ideas and thoughts and perhaps I could be the Mayan who predicted the very distant future.

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Watch your back!

While electronic transactions are on the rise, many of us still regularly go to the ATM to withdraw cash for smaller transactions. It’s a routine that many take for granted and that’s what fraudsters love to prey on. Fraudsters will use any opportunity to commit crimes, from looking over your shoulder, pretending to be security guards who “lend a hand”, to elaborate set ups such as installing a CCTV and skimmer on an ATM machine to steal information about your Visa card.  By stealing your card information, it will enable them to potentially create fake credit cards for fraudulent spending – all on your account. Here are three potentially tricky scenarios that you may face while withdrawing cash at an ATM and how to better protect yourself from fraud. 

1. ATMs in suspicious locations

Always be aware of your surroundings. If an ATM is poorly lit in a concealed location, or if you’re just not feeling comfortable, use another machine. Also avoid counting cash or rummaging through personal items while standing at the ATM.

2. Watch for ‘shoulder surfing’

You should have your PIN memorised and never, ever write it down. Cancel your transaction immediately if you notice suspicious activity such as someone lingering over your shoulder or suspicious equipment on the ATM itself. Also, choose a PIN that is not connected to your personal information, such as your date of birth or phone number.

Secondly, you should always take your ATM receipts with you. Keep your ATM receipts to compare against your bank statements as this is one of the best ways to help guard against fraud. Furthermore, you can also sign up for email or text ‘transaction alerts’ from your bank so you can be alerted to any transactions occurring from any of your accounts in real-time. 

3. Cash trapped

You should always examine the ATM carefully for devices. Card or cash trapping devices are usually glued or taped to the card reader or cash dispenser. Also, look for ‘extra’ cameras beyond the basic and generally obvious ATM security camera. If you run into any problems mid-transaction, don’t leave the machine. Instead call the bank from the ATM where your card was taken.

Visa works around the clock to ensure that your card transactions are protected worldwide but you can still take simple steps to ensure that you (and your Visa card) are not victims. These scenarios above are meant to make you aware that, although rare, crimes can happen anywhere, anytime.

For more tips and information on how to protect your account information, avoid payment card scams and resolve unauthorised card use visit

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Blessing in the curse

I am a representation of broken dreams, a lost hope shattered with what was draft behind; all I see is that which was embedded in my thoughts to control my future’s story. I come from a place where dreams are a sweet escape from reality, where hope lies in the next plan to normality, where success is defined in an exemption to loxion management and counterfeit lifestyles.

I am a young black woman, raised in a community that expected nothing of me, in fact like the rest, I was meant to collect dust and add to statistics latest facts on how underdeveloped the place I call home is. How underdeveloped I am. I saw men and women whose vision was stolen, rise in the morning to come back late in the night to nothing, a lifeless world that promised decomposition.

How unfortunate it is that the majority of us young people follow in those very same footsteps, footsteps that offer nothing but a dead end, nothing but failure. I was fortunate enough to catch a very interesting and informative discussion on SAfm by Kasi Times’ very own Motheo “Movutta” Khoaripe and The Muffinz’s Sfiso Atomza all about “Living in the Ghetto”, though different aspects of eKasi were tackled, one thing that stuck was the dreams that Kasi life managed to snatch away from young souls.

On one end, Kasi life implied living in a place where broken dreams, tainted thoughts and hopeless souls were the order of the day, safe to call it a curse, and on the other end it laid a community filled with laughter, early morning noise of neighbours out for the next talk of the town. Ubuntu…is said to be a blessing, but was it really? This is a place where infrastructure remains underdeveloped, school education is dismal, and not to mention the quality of living, mom, dad, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings all living in that one house we all call home. Could this truly be a blessing?

I stood there glued to the radio wondering, bemused at the thought of the great depression this place I call home seems to produce, have we fallen so deep in the past’s conducts that the pit we fell in makes it impossible for us to recover?

“Lied to us, blinded us, slaved us, misplaced us, strengthen us, hardened us then they replaced us now we got to learn from pain, it is up to us to gain some recognition, if we stop blaming, we could get a better condition” Nneka – Africans
The struggles implementation caused nothing but pain and destruction, I can never fully comprehend the damage it continues to birth, but one thing I am sure of is change is inevitable, it remains constant. As a young black girl living in the ghetto I was expected to fail, my situation offered a solution I witnessed painted before my eyes each day of my structured life, but I refused to settle.
Every stolen dream, every painted portrait of who you were meant to be, every uttered word of discouragement, of sloppy tales on how your future lies on your current circumstance depending completely on your response to the matter. I have often wondered how a young person constantly wakes up to plead for an education that can only be offered under a tree and yet is able to make something of such a senseless situation.
Many may conclude that living eKasi has been a curse but I choose to see the blessing within the curse, I choose to live an untailored life with the future unwritten, a life not projected by circumstance but strengthened by every misfortune disposed. My past no longer writes my future, statistics will no longer impose its opinionated facts of who I am supposed to become. I stand tall with a blank page dying to be scribbled on, I refuse to stop dreaming because I am the blessing in the curse.

“But they stole our dreams in the ghetto, we were doomed from the get go, we were dreaming in the ghetto to get from the ghetto (continue to dream)” – The Muffinz – Ghetto
“Call it a curse, call it paradise but make something of it” – Motheo

God Bless,
Fhatu Mphaphuli

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I dare you to make 2013 happen!

It has been an interesting year sho case!I hope you have achieved your goals, yes, the ones you wrote down at the beginning of 2012 on a piece of paper which is now probably at the bottom of your bag scrunched up and mixed with your old ATM slips somewhere…in your bedroom. If you have not, get a new book write those down and let’s try it again.

Mzansi has seen quite a bit of drama, comedy and horror this year. Instead of dwelling on the negative events that this country has seen like the Jub-Jub case, the Dewani battle, the fall of Julius Malema, the rise of taxi fare, and the war of the E-tolls I wish to challenge your thinking.


I want to move away from Zuma and his mansions, wives, kids and paintings and would like to rather motivate, inspire and empower you into looking forward to what could be the best year of your life. You can’t change the events that have happened to-date, both in the country and in your life, but you can change your outlook towards it all.

Your mindset, dear reader, is the most powerful tool that you own. Your thinking has the potential to mold Mzansi into greatness. So I encourage you to surround yourself with people who think ahead. Read articles and books that move you to act better, do more and dream bigger. Look for jobs that motivate you to wake up everyday. Challenge yourself into reaching your full potential.

Snap! Start a business, write a book, go to school and change your attitude to one where hope and positivity live.  I dare you to dream in 2013 but even more so, I dare you to believe in your dreams and strive to make them happen.

You have a God given talent, use it! And besides what’s the worst that could happen…Success?  Achievement? Prosperity? Accomplishment?

Let’s do!


Poppy Pops Vilakazi

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Ke Dezember Boss!

A rather interesting picture around June 16th of 2011 circulated the world of social networks, this comical interpretation of what was meant to be a depiction of the state in which our current youth stands left me gasping for air in hysterics of laughter, in fact I could barely manage to hit the share button without crawling up in silly little sobs but I eventually got to do so, this genius of a piece had to be shared. . .

In light of “ke Dezember boss” this particular picture came to mind, though I understood the thought behind such an image, I must admit that all it did was leave me with a big chuckle and something to talk about with my friends on our next gathering. But truth be told such festivities tend to leave us reckless and in all soughts of ambitious goals, we live in the moment with no care of what tomorrow holds, we throw in the towel to our future for a “spur of the moment” type thing.

Though I am well aware of the season we’re in, a few seconds to reflect, June 16 was meant to be a commemoration of young people who decided to take fate into their own hands and fought for what they strongly believed in, what they believed they deserved, they fought through the system not for shorter class hours, extracurricular activities and longer P.E classes but they fought for education, one that would be conveyed in a manner they could understand, education that was unrestricted to what the system saw fit, they fought for a better future, a future they rightfully deserved no matter the cost.
It is truly a shame that such an internationally recognized image which has so much history and identity attached to it could be part of public mockery. This was South Africa, a country as the world knew it; there we stood disclosed in the eyes of this very heartfelt photograph. What happened?
Plato wrote, “Excess of liberty, whether it lies in state or individuals seems only to pass into excess of slavery.”
We have been fortunate enough as young people in this generation to live in a time where we can be the change we want to see, unlike the class of 76’ we have the “right” and freedom to achieve, plot and remodel ideas that will impact this nation and not be scrutinized for doing so.We are the future leaders of this world as we know it, in our blood runs bravery and courage of a past never to be forgotten, a past that moulds us but never defines us, a past that should always be remembered but never be relived.
In this season of festivities and relaxation let’s remember to not take the freedom given for granted, or relapse to total oblivion to what life really holds and remember though with all the year-end exams, school holidays, Christmas parties, year-end bonuses let’s be responsible, accountable and dependable oh and remember “Jan-worry” soon approaches
“Freedom is the basic condition for you to touch life, to touch the blue sky, the trees, the birds, the tea, and the other person. “ – ThichNhatHanh

God Bless
Fhatu Mphaphuli

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You need to hustle hard!

You need to hustle hard!

Never in my 24 (going on 16) years of existence in God’s green earth did I ever think that I would one day quote a commercial rapper such as that Rick Ross guy. That big-boned bear got it very right when he said you need to “Hustle…hard” because in 2012 in this country – especially if you are brown in complexion – the hill of job opportunities and fortune will somehow turn itself into a mountain if you let it.

So, if you’re one of those laid back, cool, forever thinking/procrastinating chikitas and jitas, I hate to say this but you will never see or smell the land of milk and honey if that’s your attitude towards making your dreams real. Life will pass you by as you sit on that demo, it will rush past you while you plan to send that CV, it will swing past your lazy self if you let that show reel sit and collect dust. You will slowly watch who you could have been achieve success and bling because you were too lazy to wake up for that audition.

I had to hustle to gather funds to get an education because I wanted to know more than the little I knew after high school. I hustled my way into learning how to read and write well so that I could one day write for a powerful publication such as this one. I knew that I didn’t have the financial support to do most of the things I wanted to do in order to empower myself, like going to university, but my hunger for knowledge and thirst to be someone drove me to work at Woolworths as a cashier while in high school from the age of 16. I knew that I wasn’t a trust fund baby and knew my father’s name wasn’t Cyril Ramaphosa. I was aware from the get-go that the tarred walk to success might just be done without shoes but that didn’t stop me from travelling it! So, kindly refrain from giving me that “…but my mom and dad struggled because apartheid…” You need to stop making excuses about what you don’t have and set your eyes on all you can achieve hawu! Most millionaires grew up dirt poor; most successful artists had humble beginnings. Did that limit them? No, it motivated them.

Could I afford to go to varsity? No. Did it leave me broke? Yes. Would I do it again? Hell yes!

My first job in the media industry left me almost hating television collectively, not because the work was hard and I got spoken to like I was a retarded monkey… Heavens no! I almost quit because of all the rejection I got. I didn’t just wake up to being a Production Manager today or an Editor at Kasi Times because I’m pretty and have great boobs. No… I got rejected by almost every production company that exists in South Africa!

I used to send my CV and a motivation letter to the same companies every day 5 times a day for a good 11 months without fail while at varsity. They all said No every day; some even begged me to stop emailing them! I ignored their threats at blocking all my e-mails for harassing them; I persevered because I believed I’d one day make it. I would use some of the peanuts I earned working part time at a music shop to go to these production companies telling them I didn’t mind starting at the very bottom at no cost to the company. I was willing to learn, I asked a lot of questions, didn’t mind being corrected, I was always on time, went the extra mile and never ever complained (well, not out loud). I knew what I wanted because I did research on how to get there. It was flipping hard work, still is, but the Promised Land screams louder to me than not having medical aid, not getting paid for overtime or never getting leave days. The 20 hour days, the angry directors and presenters who never pitch for shoots make the thought and pursuit of success worth it.

Do I think I’ve made it in life? No way, I’m still right at bottom of the food chain but my mindset is in heavenly places. So really, taking a taxi to get to a meeting or sending Please Call Me’s or going to internet café’s in Hillbrow to e-mail articles for Kasi Times in order to push my passion… were all just steps towards a far greater dream than my present reality… Let’s do it in the name of being more than what we are today!

Poppy Pops Vilakazi

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You’re a Coconut

I am black, but by the looks of things, and based on street research, it seems I’m not black enough. The tools which are used to determine, or rather establish, my true blackness are based on things like, my accent, skin colour, hair texture, pronunciation of words, my bum, my attitude and general outlook on life.

Society says that knowing your mother tongue fluently and knowing your culture well is what defines how black you are, but that would mean people like Rosie Motene or Pamela Nomvete are not black because they don’t meet that criteria. Motene was adopted by white folk, so she’s out. Pamela Nomvete lived overseas, so she’s also not black. This also means that having an accent that sounds like that of Pabi Moloi, Khanyi Dhlomo, William Lehong and Naledi Pandor disqualifies you from the black movement too.

If having a voluptuous booty a.k.a African Trade Mark (ATM) that turns the heads of taxi drivers and construction workers is the measuring tool for my blackness, then unfortunately, I’m out too. If I am what society calls a coconut because I went to a high school with textbooks, white teachers, a tuck shop and know who Macbeth is, then I’m not black. Does the fact that I didn’t find Lesilo scary as a child make me white? Or am I un-African because I don’t recall watching shows like Ubambo Lwami, Kwakhala Nyonini and Sgudis’ Nays? Am I un-black because I found all Gibson Kente’s drama’s a bit lame and over-acted ?

If such petty tools and attributes are what make us black, then there are many of us brown people with white souls I guess. Previously, when Apartheid told us who was who and what was what, it was the texture of our hair and skin colour that got us classified as darkies or non-darkies. If this still existed today, then I’m afraid that people with mixed parents still don’t meet the cut. People like Trevor Noah, Eda Rose, Phumeza are not one of us. Yep, society and its rules say so!

One of the high-tech devices created to figure out degrees of blackness was previously referred to by Apartheid police as the “pencil test.” If you were light-skinned enough and could almost pass for white, then an HB pencil – yes, a pencil – was put in your hair to check if you’re indeed telling the truth about the origins of your roots (excuse the pun). If it glided through your hair like a hot knife through butter, then you were classified as white; you’d have endless opportunities in your life. But, if you had steel wool for hair, like me, and the pencil did not make it out due to traffic from your blackness, then it was back to the township, no questions asked.

Today one of the various “high tech” tools used to measuring your blackness are more broad and vague, such as what car you drive, where you live, what school you went to, and your accent. So, if you pronounce “No” as “Noy” or say Durban instead of Deben… if you don’t like eating pap a few times a week, or if you’ve never taken a taxi in your life or don’t know the difference between Noord taxi rank and Bree taxi rank, then you’re a fake black. If you don’t know that Madluphutu is a hit in Mzansi and is extremely hilarious to black folk (only), then you aren’t black. You are what’s called a “coconut.” Synonyms for this word include Top Deck and Oreo. These are clever and offensive words used by black people towards other back people who apparently think they are better than them. I’m not sure how one measures another person’s thought process based on the way they speak… but yes, it’s done.

But before I finally dress myself in the garments that society has woven for me to wear based on the aforementioned traits that I need to have in order to belong to the now exclusive black people’s nation, I have just a few questions for society. What if I went to a white school but know my mother tongue, or what if I speak English fluently but live in the township and do so proudly. Am I still classified as a coconut? And by the way who are the individuals from this school of thought who have come up with these rules and laws that govern degrees of blackness? Is it a panel of men from ekasi sitting at a street corner wearing All-star sneakers with overalls, who decide who is what, based on whether they pronounce the number 11 as Leven or eleven?

Is it ghetto fabulous divas in patterned leggings and morning slippers who gather at a salon and decide one’s fate?

I’m black and care less about what is said about my blackness. I know where I’m from, know where I’m going and also know who I’d like to become. Mzansi is mine, and while I’m in it, I’ll be myself and I change, learn and grow each and every day. So with that said, society must either keep up with that change or simply stop defining it by shallow definitions on what being black is all about.

Poppy Pops Vilakazi

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More than one kind of love

As I take a drive on a Saturday afternoon, I find myself humming to a melody of a song that’s very familiar, yet I can’t quite remember what it is, until another song sparks my memory; that melody playing in my head was of a song by the incredible Joan Armatrading. To my dismay, I find that I do not have that song in my collection, and so I begin my quest to find it.

It’s really incredible how the power of music shifts one’s emotions, and puts things into perspective. As I listen to the remarkable lyrics, I recognise their meaning in my life. The opening of the song goes “there’s a lot of things you should hold dear, keep in your heart, never let go.” I quickly understand what this means; I see what I should be holding in my heart. The song continues “pride and dignity, a sense of self, hold on” and these are the things I strongly believe as young people, we are quick to forget. We compromise them to gain acceptance from others. Quite often we lose a sense of self, so we can be seen in a light that pleases others, yet we should be seen for who we are, because ultimately that is what matters and that is the essence of us.

Joan Armatrading

With her authentic voice, Joan continues with the melody, and she repeats, “There is more than one kind of love.” Yes, it’s important to have love from a partner, but remember that self-love should take precedence. The love of friends, family – that is what makes us. Because when you feel lost, when you have no one to turn to, family and friends will be there for you. She says when you are alone, you will know you are not alone, and if you’ve been true to all who are true to you, you’ll make it.

The melody and the lyrics continue to put me at ease, as I enjoy this timeless classic of note. I remember that I ‘am’ because someone else is; it’s imperative to remain cognisant of the fact that, we are, because our family and our friends are. Love is really the thread that carries all of us through, it gives us acceptance, it draws strength from others, and though it can be painful, it is a gift that towers above every adversity.

“If you remember your friends, just remember you can call; just remember that passion fades, good friendships seldom die. Go ahead have your fun, but don’t turn your back on everyone. Though the body needs love, there is more than one, more than one kind of love.”

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Will Education in South Africa ever speak to the African Child?

Let us all begin by agreeing that our past was bad, racist, anti-progressive and has killed much of our potential as a country. Only one race benefited from education then, the whites.

It will not help us at all looking at Bantu education today, since no one who studied Bantu education is still at school. It has been almost twenty years now, and when we discuss education, our discussion will be focused on education in the new dispensation of democracy. By so saying, I am not suggesting that the effects of Bantu education can still be seen today, but that is a topic for another day.

I am finding it hard to understand why Basic Education and Higher Education are separate ministries? Higher Education exists because of Basic Education, and what one does invariably affects the other, so I would have expected a sound single Education department to deal with the state of education. But we have two.

Politics aside, when will education in this country become relevant to the needs and aspirations of an African child?

Some of you might swear and make statistical arguments why an African-centred education is not desirable in a global economy, and the likes, but all these arguments are nonsense.

Starting with Basic Education, what are the subjects that pupils can take? Languages, Economics, Business Economics, Accounting, Maths, History, Geography, and the like. Since some quarters of our society see red every time it is said science and technology should be taught in our languages, for now let us exclude science from the discussion. Is there any other reason why the rest of these subjects are not taught in our languages?

Let me make two examples to stress my point. Let us take Economics as an example. Is there any reason at all why Economics content is not based on the African economies? Even today pupils still learn economic histories of European and American societies. What is wrong with providing an economic history of Africa when learning Economics? Wouldn’t that provide pupils a better chance to be good in the subject since what is being taught is what they know and can identify with? Wouldn’t that allow them to further develop economic theories when they reach varsity level since all these would be part of their everyday lives?

On History. Can anyone tell me what is significance of teaching our children the history of Europe and America? While none about Africa is provided? Are you telling me that twenty years into democracy we have failed to make changes even in small matters like these? When a Mosotho child is taught History at school and is told about all the European figures and states, none of which they know, how alienated is that child? Do Africans lack a history that we do not teach African History in our schools?

I must say that our government has let me down on education. Instead, they have gone all out to import education models that have not been tried anywhere else in the world. How much would it have cost us to simply prescribe African History in schools? How much effort would be required to bring the vast collection of history books written by Africans about Africa into our schools?

Before I talk about Higher Education, which is mysteriously no longer Tertiary Education, allow me to pose a simple question. What is the purpose of education, formal and informal, in society?

Our Higher Education seems to be worse than Basic Education in its content. I am currently a student at UNISA studying for a BA with majors in Linguistics and Theory of Literature. Initially, Read the full story

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