15th May2017

Lions in the Streets of Africa

by admin

Some things just never get old. For example, the look you get when you travel abroad, proudly announcing that you are indeed from Africa; as in THE Africa. You know that dark and dusty place where you go on safari to observe wild animals and meet tall, thin, starving people? Yes, that’s where I live!

MAGALIESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 07:  Children play football in front of the setting sun on June 7, 2010 in Magaliesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

First the eyes get wider, then the chin pokes forward in amazement and finally you get the scan: top to bottom and back up again; just to make sure that you’re not some kind of fictional creature.

Once I even went so far as to elaborate on our local elephant transportation system (Ele Vaya) and my two pet lions that I keep in the bushveld south of my clay hut.

Lion

Despite my little jokes about western ignorance, given some recent occurrences, I have to wonder if the Western idea of deepest, darkest Africa is perhaps more accurate than we would like to believe. Apparently nowadays it is normal to have three pet lions in your backyard. Did I perhaps miss the memo?

And on top of that, we now have a new tourist attraction. Get your cameras ready folks; we have lions walking the streets. I have to wonder what Mother Africa has up her sleeve for next week’s headlines.

Lions in road

24th Jul2016

Waiting on the World to…

by admin

Pretty BicycleHi everyone,

Welcome to another edition of the exPress imPress blog. As usual, our great writers have provided us with articles to enjoy and mull over. Monde Nqeza writes a literary appreciation of one of Lupe Fiasco’s lastest tracks, “Adoration of the Magi”. Thabisile Miya considers the need for Africans to produce their own narratives in so that, (to paraphrase Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s phrase) we may counter the danger of a single story. Nokuthula Mkwanazi considers the fragile relationship shared between South Africans and other African nationals. Her article gets us to wonder whether we, as South Africans, regard ourselves as too special to be considered as Africans.  Finally, Londell Ramalepe gets us to consider the ethical implications of the recent plagiarism scandal around Melania Trump’s recent Republican National Convention speech.

Hope you enjoy the works of our talented writers.

Until next week,

Sandiswa and the 2016 exPress imPress team.

24th Jul2016

Do All Lives Matter?

by admin

 

We all know about #BlackLivesMatter and the countless other hashtags calling for support and solidarity of the western and European countries crippled by terrorist attacks in the last few months. These hashtags, although well-meaning, overshadow what is happening in other African countries (#PrayForGhana). This problem is exacerbated by South African media’s lack of coverage of issues related to other African countries besides our own.

It has been claimed that violence has increased in America. Events which are characterised as being violent, involve a perpetrator who is oftentimes a person of colour. An event becomes framed as an act of terrorism when the perpetrator is suspected to have ties with insurgent organizations such as Isis. When the perpetrator is a white male, they get a slap on the wrist and are humanized as victims of mental illness. Instances of gun violence raise questions around gun control, racism, and homophobia. Many people have died and yet their lives become memorialized through a hashtag. In my opinion, it makes no sense that the US government has been probed for so long to reissue the federal assault weapon injunction yet nothing has happened. The trending hashtag #BlackLivesMatter has been circulating on the internet, alongside the protests and marches and calls from celebrities. People have the audacity to counterclaim that #AllLivesMatter. What needs to be understood is that America’s current prison-industrial complex has resulted in the deaths of many African-American and Latino people. It is insensitive to claim that #AllLivesMatter when not all lives are subjected to the same punishment under the American legal system.

I have gotten information on these recent events through the media, be it newspapers, television or social media. Social media have given me more of an unfiltered lens, as opposed to the traditional media outlets that are trusted by many South Africans. There are dominant stories which make the headlines whilst other stories are marginalised. As South Africans, we claim to value freedom of speech but we restrict our narratives on Africa. Until recently, I was ignorant on the relevance of #PrayForGhana. Through the transparency afforded by social media, I gained more knowledge on the floods which have negatively affected Ghana.

In a lot of African countries, freedom of speech is not valued. Investigative journalism is not cultivated because of the harsh penalties for those who do not adhere to politically-motivated guidelines for good journalism. Political figures are often uncomfortable on the prospect of having their dirty laundry aired. There is the belief that negative news will tarnish the images of their countries and chasing away potential investors. This results in journalists and other media-workers becoming the lapdogs of the authorities. In Nigeria, journalists working for the Al-Mizan newspaper were detained and threatened over investigative reports about Boko Haram insurgent group. In South African media there has been little to no coverage about what happens in African countries. News coverage largely follows African stories being picked up by the western press. This is problematic as the western press tend to portray Africa in a negative manner. I have recently learnt of the Akon electricity project in Africa. This is a positive story, yet there is very little media coverage on it.

I believe that the time has come for Africans to tell their stories from their own perspectives, to echo the sentiments of Thomas Bwire, news editor of Pamoja in Nairobi. The rest of the world has such narrow minded opinions about us and we are partly to blame for that. For, how long are we going to sit around and not take ownership of our countries, our stories, our art and our resources? Social media have become quite a powerful weapon to effect change and it is up to us to use it to our benefit.

Pray for Ghana

24th Jul2016

Foreign Native Africans

by admin

As South Africans, we pride ourselves on being known as the “Rainbow Nation”, but just how many colours are we really including in our rainbow?

United States of Africa

Ask any African, from outside of our South African borders, about what their thoughts are on South Africans and how they view us and the answers will probably be more self-reflective than actual truth or reality. I interviewed a few South Africans, and their so-called “foreign” counterparts to ask them about their thoughts on the South African superiority complex.

I quizzed our willing participants on their thoughts about South Africa and how “United” and accommodating South Africa really is to our brothers and sisters from neighbouring African soil. We discussed a lot of topics, but what stood out to me, was the lack of African representation in South Africa. I find it highly problematic that in South Africa’s daily news bulletins, varying from half an hour to an hour in length, the large majority of them cover South African top stories/headlines, global headlines and some international news, which is fine, but it is problematic if the same courtesy is not extended to other African news, from outside our borders. Less than a minute is spent on news related to Kenya, Namibia, Ivory Coast, and other African countries. When thinking of this, consider that we frequently get top of the hour updates on the American presidential elections and any other American news. There is an American news channel (CNN) on DSTV’s bouquet. In addition, there are hundreds of American television shows broadcasted on DSTV.

But, it does not stop there. We frequently listen to American pop music, assisting in the generation of a wealthy and thriving entertainment industry. There is nothing inherently wrong with being exposed to, and consuming, western media content; however, I do want to ask one question. What about Africa? Why do I barely see, hear or speak about the greater parts of Africa, and their top stories? How is it possible that I can name neither a Namibian pop artist nor a Kenyan television show, yet I have countless American pop idols on my mobile playlist? This is something that sparked a bit of shame and anger in me because, although I stand against Afro-phobia, I am, admittedly, not well-versed on Afrocentric topics.

I find it perplexing to refer to the rest of my native-African counterparts as foreigners, yet I call my European counterparts by their nationality and not their label. I would never say there is that French foreigner from Paris; I would call him that French guy/girl. This is a behavioural pattern I have noticed with my friends as well. It is highly problematic that after the history we share with our African counterparts, that we would forcefully kick them out of our country, yet Egyptians, Syrians and Pakistanis always come by and they are not being set alight or beaten to death. This raises the question, “Why the hostility?”

I asked a few of my interviewees and they suggested that this segregation can come from a place of regulating the population rate, wanting to intimidate the perceived weaker race, or just plain old self-entitlement attitudes. One of my interviewees mentioned that they feel out of place when they are in South Africa and amongst South Africans, not just because of the language barriers but also because they have never been made to feel that they can settle down in South Africa and start a life here, because of the attitudes they have been exposed to, which mirror those of the participants in/of the xenophobic attacks of 2008 and 2015 respectively.

What we should be focusing on in times of #feesmustfall movements and #blacklivesmatter movements is a common goal to want to help each other climb up the ladder in life, and not fall deeper into suffering. I believe that we should work together to pull up other African countries so that they can have an economy as strong, even stronger, than ours. I also believe that we should be more inclusive of other African entertainment and media, seeing as they are closest to us.

 

18th Jul2016

I See You See Black

by admin

The sun burns Wicked Bodies…

 

Day sees us dying in our smiles

And night waits for us – who we really are – alive.

 

I know you think I don’t, but I do;

I see you see black.

 

And I am here to tell you I am more than that;

Why are you amazed at my presence?

Why are you surprised

That I can have a mind?

 

I am More than an just Art piece, I am More than just a Number,

I am Nothing to watch in that Manner,

 

I have a Heart,

I am Together and I fall Apart,

I Bleed, I feel Rain,

I was bore by a Woman,

I can smell Roses,

 

I am More than the questions raised in ‘Philosophy’,

I am More than just a Dark part in ‘History’

 

Why did I ever need Science to tell me I am a human being?

Why does the colour of my skin have to make me something else?

 

 5_dark-and-lovely-10-x-14-acylic-on-canvas

 

 

 

 

Note: The above Poem is not racist and not intended to offend ANYBODY, but it is just a mere inspiration from the Block 3 First Year Philosophy topic, Philosophy of Race, and My pride in My ‘blackness’.

16th May2016

The Poem That Is So African

by admin

4 Africa-map-on-faceWhy is it we need a day, a week, a month

To say we are proud of being us

And glad to be each other’s sisters and brothers?

Why is it we need a day, a week, a month

To be proud black people, and darker?

We were born into this –

The melodies,

The dances,

The greenest mountains,

The whole of our families,

The clothing,

The crying,

The blood dripping,

The dying,

The hoping

The waking,

The celebrating,

The coming together,

The darkness,

Our dark skin colours…

Why is it we need a day, a week, a month

To look back on where we come from?

Why is it we need a day, a week, a month

To paint pictures and tell stories of our freedom?

Each day is a reminder of where we come from,

Each day is a song of our freedom.

Our names and mirrors reveal us,

There is no hiding the Africanness.

We are naked before the world,

Never to be known as nothing else – but Africans;

African Americans, African Asians,

Everywhere we go the history follows,

And it follows each day.

You are my brother and my sister every day,

Do you hear me, African human?

We do not need Africa Month, Africa Day

To remind ourselves that we are proud of who we are.

We should be proud of it, celebrate it,

Dance to the drum beats,

Dark Skin,

This fire within,

Attires made of animal skin,

Our souls cut open

To be released into some Heaven,

Blood coming from our noses,

The smiles of our many children

Covering the pain that is there

That just will not leave,

The air that we breathe,

The sun setting,

The magic in our every story’s setting…

 

Each day we are African, not only in May.

 

 

 

12th Oct2015

South Africa’s Sport Scene

by admin

Nqubeko Nzimande writes about the importance that sport, and more importantly, soccer, cricket and rugby have played in uniting South Africans.

 

There is no doubt that in South Africa there is a large following of sport, with soccer, cricket and rugby leading the pack. During the primary years of South Africa’s transition from apartheid to its democratic state, sport played a vital role in uniting the country’s different racial groups. The first democratic elections were held in 1994, and in 1995 our rugby squad – more commonly known as the Springboks – won the Rugby World Cup which was hosted in South Africa. Following that, South Africa then hosted the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996, which our national team won by beating Tunisia 2-0 in the final.

Untitled

The Springboks and Bafana Bafana won these cups with a dash of ‘Madiba Magic,’ of course. Out cricket team, the Proteas have also done well because as I write this article they are ranked fifth in the world in T20 matches, third in ODI matches, and first in Test matches. The Springboks are also making the country proud because they are currently ranked fourth in the world – but unfortunately the same cannot be said about Bafana Bafana.

Bafana Bafana’s performance has been highly criticised for over a decade because the squad fails to win essential games that would make South Africa a respected nation in soccer. More recently, on social media some individuals have claimed that Bafana Bafana coach, Shakes Mashaba, called the Orlando Pirates Chairperson, Irvin Khoza, urgently asking him to lend all of his players; because the Orlando Pirates soccer team has represented South Africa better than Bafana Bafana.

We can talk for days marvelling, appreciating and showing recognition to the Springboks and the Proteas for successfully representing South Africa against other international teams. Although, when it comes to Bafana Bafana, I assume most of us would agree that there is a problem with the football squad. But, with the Rugby World Cup currently taking place, let us look beyond this and #BackOurBoytjies.

To the Springboks: Good luck and do us proud in the 2015 Rugby World Cup!

Untitled 2

05th Oct2015

Zulu Pride

by admin

Nqubeko Nzimande sheds light over the history of Heritage Day and how it came to be.

Heritage Day is a South African public holiday celebrated on the 24th of September every year. However, this holiday was previously known as ‘Shaka’s Day.’ The aim of this day is to embrace and zulu piccelebrate diverse cultures and traditions of South Africans. Yet, some minority groups have just reduced it to a ‘Braai Day,’ because they seek to degrade and marginalise cultures and traditions of majority groups. Nonetheless, the greater society has put in a great effort to ensure that this important day is celebrated accordingly.

In essence, Shaka’s Day (as it was formerly known) is the day that Shaka Zulu died after being assassinated by his half-brothers Dingane and Mhlangana. Therefore, the aim was to commemorate King Shaka Zulu because he was influential in bringing about cohesion among various tribes. He succeeded in developing the Zulu tribe to be solid and one of the most powerful tribes in the Southern hemisphere. Most of all Shaka was marvelled for his brilliant military strategies where he militarised his army warriors effectively; so as to conquer and control other tribes respectively. Hence, this popularised the Zulu tribe as masters of tactical skills of fighting in the battlefield; which later resulted in the Zulu warriors defeating the British Empire – this being their first defeat.

This holiday’s name was changed to Heritage Day after the Public Holidays Bill presented to the Parliament of South Africa before 1995 did not have the 24th of September included on the list of proposed public holidays. As a result of this exclusion, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), a political party with a large Zulu membership, objected to the bill. Parliament and the IFP later reached a compromise and the day was given its present title and is now recognized as a public holiday.

31st Aug2015

Spring Culture

by admin

Nqubeko Nzimande provides his take on spring, not forgetting that September also marks the start of Heritage Month.

Nature comes back to life during one of the four season of astronomy which is spring. After nature has been brown and grey with no spark of life during winter, spring evokes a certain zest for life to human beings with its colourfulness. Flowers are one form of nature that blossoms in spring, which stirs in an individual some glimpse of hope for a better day and prepares us for the arrival of

Mokoena and Serutle Families,Lobolo Function,Protea Glen,SOWETO 09/01/2010.Pix Robert Tshabalalasummer time. The colourfulness of nature breeds beauty that can be equated to the colourful minwenda, muate dress, and the vhukunda bracelets of the Venda people, not forgetting the xibelane skirt of the Tsonga people.

One can easily observe that Mother Nature is smiling and pouring blessings upon her land and people. The sun shines bright with its rays, gentling and warmly hitting the skin of various animals, which awaken the animal’s excitement to the beauty of the world. These sun rays exert stamina in Tswana people which makes them dance borankana, phathisi, setapa, and tsutsub; traditional dance styles. And, Zulu people perform their famous traditional dance called Indlamu feet-stomping.

The temperatures slowly increase in spring, which result in birds that prefer to live in warmer regions of the world, flooding that area. Therefore, thenqu 1 tawny eagle, the brown snake eagle, the African hawk eagle birds, and millions of others will again take refuge in South Africa. These birds come as if they have come to marvel the African art that is Ndebele house paintings used in the houses of Ndebele people. These birds gather as if they are listening to the stories of Pedi people called Dikgodisakgopolo, or gather around fire to listen to the story of the Pedi tribe called Ngwanaka.

This is a reminder that one must always preserve, care, and appreciate nature as well as diverse cultures that define us a people.

Happy Heritage Month and Happy Spring!

24th Aug2015

What’s Been Happening in Africa?

by admin

Today’s edition of exPress imPress is action-packed, including much commentary about what’s recently been taking place on African soil and shedding light over some extremely important, and often overlooked, societal issues.

In Express – Current Affairs: Nqubeko Nzimande explains why people living with Albinism should not be discriminated against and excluded by society, Lerato Gcilitshane raises point about face-of-africaan ever-growing societal issue that is progressively affecting today’s youth, and Sandiswa Sondzaba touches on the controversial leaked spy cables saga that has captured the attention of South Africans. Finally, in Impressions – My Diary: Jeffrey Motlhamme elaborates on his self-proclaimed ‘Politics of Everywhere,’ and, in keeping with Woman’s Month, Evile Sombo shares a deeply personal piece about her late mother who she stills regards as her Superwoman.

Happy reading from all of us at exPress imPress!

We’ll see you again next week,

Jess

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