24th Apr2017

All Hail Kendrick

by admin

DAMN

Born and raised in Compton, California, Kendrick Lamar has made more than just a mark in the rap music scene. His is a long-lasting legacy. After releasing his debut studio album Section 80, his music started gaining more exposure, giving him a broader fan base worldwide. I can best describe his music as thought provoking and more poetic, compared to the other clichéd ‘girls and money’ rappers. To hail him King, is another debate every rap fan has an opinion on. My definition for King is simple; it consists of the acronym ‘RAP’ which Rhythm and Poetry.

Poetry is art, a platform of expression, a voice for the voiceless, an artist’s view of the socio-economic issues, politics and issues influencing the self. Listening to Kendrick’s music, you realise that his music touches on those very basic elements of poetry. In this era we live in, not many artists can be dubbed as influential and motivational when a lot of them talk about having sex with different girls and how much money they spend in night clubs; repeating the same thing over and over again. It seems like rhyming and coming up with a cool hook qualifies you to be a rapper without deeper consideration about your lyrics, the meaning behind your lyrics, the message conveyed and the influence it has on the audience. In my opinion, only a select few can bring realism into their craft. From a rap fan’s perspective, Kendrick Lamar achieves that realism; that makes Kendrick stand alone, and without much competition to deal with. This is not to say he is either a god or some deity of rap. However, with no one matching his calibre, he can be dubbed the king of rap.

One might look at it from a different perspective. We cannot deny that over the years, the hip hop industry has evolved and become broader; we are no longer stuck on that old boom bap sound. We are now in what one can call this new movement the ‘trap era’. We have seen artists fuse the hip hop sound with other music genres, creating new unique sounds coming from the likes of Future, Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert to name a few. Most importantly, and the reception from the audience to this new sound has been positive. For someone to stay with that poetic element in his music, and still be able to reach the people, that’s something else.

Looking at how Kendrick uses poetic devices in his music, and for you to get the message you first have to decode or analyse his verses, that has made people more active and participatory instead of just listening to the same thing from different people with no need to apply your mind. With some controversy over his lyrics now and then, people don’t just listen to his music to lip sync, but to understand the message and motive of the song. We’ve seen his music touch on trending issues like racism, politics, feminism and self-love, and the responses that have followed from his audience. That is what an artist is supposed to do: keep the people talking and engaging in societal issues. All hail King Kendrick.

20th Mar2017

Wanderlust

by admin

Hi everyone,

We have another great edition this week with many stories from our talented team. Thabisile Miya discusses the nationwide students’ accommodation which has culminated in the rise of movements such as #Shackville and #SouthPointFeesSoRidiculous. Lindokuhle Kolanisi questions whether the post-apartheid political order could be more inclusive of gender and sexuality. Tsholanang Rapoo explains why she believes the recent feud between Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj is not anti-feminist. Molebogeng Mokoka explores the continuous devaluation of the BA degree; is it really worth nothing? Veli Mnisi gives us an in-depth look into how thrift shopping has, culturally and economically, transformed itself. He also gives us an insider’s perspective of Braamfontein’s newest thrift shop- haunt, The Thrift Vintage Shop (T V Shop). We’re also featuring Sandiswa Tshabalala’s poem, titled Black Girl Magic. Finally, Charissa Govender gives us the ultimate traveller’s guide for exploring New York City.

Hope you enjoy what we have to offer. Have a wonderful Human Rights’ Day tomorrow.

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Wanderlust

23rd May2016

Goodbye for Now

by admin

 

Goodbye for NowHi everyone,

This week’s edition is our last one for the semester. Since everyone is in exam mode, we just decided to have a small edition including work from our talented team of writers. What is happiness? This is the question Precious Mohale ponders over as she reflects on how a homeless man taught her a lot about what happiness entails. Noluthando Javu writes on the end of a friendship. This is something we can all empathise with. Noluthando’s poem perfectly captures the ambiguous emotions that accompany the end of such a close relationship. We also have an interview with Greg Alexander, a Philosophy honours student who uses Instagram as the means for sharing his photography with his followers. He discusses the importance of Insta-meets, his love for cityscapes, and the story behind his favourite photograph is also included in this week’s edition of the blog.

Hope that everyone has a great exam period and an amazing study break filled with plenty of rest.

Until next semester,

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress Team of 2016

23rd May2016

I Found the End in Friendship

by admin

IMG_4764

I found the end in friendship.

I mean I haven’t exactly been honest about it, how I really feel. Well
I’ve tried but sometimes my thoughts are clouded until I’m trying to
fall asleep.

These four walls have seen it all, and each night they force me to
recall all the memories we have.
Is it not bad enough that everyone keeps asking about you? Why do I
still have to come back to my “comfort zone” & be reminded of you?

We were sitting in this same spot that day we talked about betrayal,
it’s so funny I never thought I’d feel how you felt that day, well not
towards you anyway.

I’ve tried to avoid feeling it, I’ve tried to avoid thinking about it
but no one really understands the damage that has been done. See
you’ve left a scar on my heart & I get it, it was a lesson but did it
have to be so awful?

The scars keep reopening every time I think about it. It cut me open.
It hurt me.

I don’t know how to trust again, because when you did what you did it
took me back, made me rethink every single aspect of my life. You had
me questioning everything & everyone. You helped me rebuild my walls
so quickly, all the work I had been doing on myself had gone to waste.
I was alone.

I’ve used the word hate when I describe how I feel about you & maybe
that’s not so true anymore, maybe I’m just angry.

I don’t think you realise what you actually did and the magnitude of
it, I don’t think you ever will.
You cut me open. You hurt me.

We’ll never have those 2am talks about what we want our future to look
like. We’ll never get the chance to see each other grow old. Here I am
going on about you as if you were my first love, but I guess our
friendship meant that much to me.

I will never understand what I did to deserve what you did to me, it
will never make sense to me. What I do know is I need to stop hurting,
I need to stop beating myself up about it as if I was the perpetrator.

They called us twins, “inseparable”. I see it now. You were the black
swan all along.

I hope you hear from me soon, because as much as I hate to admit it, I
think I miss you.

25th Apr2016

Nothing But Freedom

by admin

for the poem

Nothing but freedom on our lands;

We walk for days on end, no shackles on our hands.

Our breath touches oceans even when we don’t see them,

The flowers grow with so much colour in them.

The sky in our eyes is blue, clear,

 

There are no longer smells of tear gas,

Or smells of fear as you grab hold of your daughter

And run away from Angry Men with her.

 

Nothing but freedom on our lands;

We wear smiles on our faces as our feet kiss with the sands.

Our mind speaks without oppressors,

The Angry Men no longer angry at us.

 

We hear each other silently,

There is white, there is black, there is no brutality,

And we could not be a more free society;

Free from the lights that came at us in darkness,

Free from the even darker places those little lights would take us.

 

Freedom is here, in all our whispers and all our cheers,

It is in all our houses because there is no fear.

We became one, the country says.

Our eyes do close when our heads lay.

 

24th Mar2014

The wolf of Mzansi

by admin

Marcia Monareng shares some of her poetry.

mm1“Johannesburg is a city of gold”

“A place where dreams come true”

But is it?

Is it really?

 

I see Mzansi as a wolf that is in disguise.

Beautiful.

Her eyes glow like stars in the night

The silhouette of her body is magnificent

Those who have seen her, appreciate the sight.

But…

She is a weapon of mass destruction

The devil’s own production

 

She finds satisfaction in your sorrow

As she takes away your tomorrow

She is a beast

And you are the feast.

 

“Never, never again shall this

Beautiful land again experience the

Oppression of one, by another”

But The wolf is now within us and has

Made us oppress one another.

I tried to make a change but why bother

It’s hard to fix something that has never had order

 

I am trying to chase my dreams

But the wolf is chasing me away from them

 

So I sit and ask myself who

Is this wolf?

 

She is my biggest enemy

She has the ability

To eat away my future

She can destroy me

And she is…

Slowly and strategically devouring

People around me.

-“Never let your environment take control of your life, take control of your environment”- Marcia Monareng

24th Mar2014

There once was a miner

by admin

Sandiswa Sondzaba shares some of her poetry.

ss1There once was a miner,

Anonymously he went underground-

Filled with hope;

He knew that his life would be forever changed.

He thought of how…

He would finally have enough money to change his family’s fortunes.

He would be able to buy his children new school shoes.

His wife would have enough to sustain his mini-tribe on his behalf.

 

There once was a miner,

Anonymously he joined the band of the immortals

Sheathed in blankets and carrying pangas:

They knew that their newly bought immortality, for R5,

Would protect them as they…

As they defended their freedom economicus.

 

There once was a miner,

Anonymously he was brought down to earth

By the shower of AK47 bullets.

Anonymously he was placed underground-

Left to revel in his newfound immortality.

 

 

17th Mar2014

An open letter to Hip Hop

by admin

Genesis Manney shares some of her poetry.

gg1This has to be one of the least controversial letters of our time. Friends and foes alike, cannot dispute the impact you’ve had on your followers. The healer of broken hearts, restorer of broken dreams and revealer of ceded fears. You’ve held my hand in the dark and helped me sing into the light. All hail Queen hip hop. Mother of an open mind.

How is your love for me so evident? In every song, every score, every note. How many tears have you dried? I know this because – I myself have cried. You were the only one ever allowed to be in my room with me alone. Maybe the reason why you’re my home, my hook, rap delight in Al Capone. You made me see I could be a beautiful woman alone.   All hail Queen hip hop. Healer of a broken life.

gg2Boom bapped my heart into love, dubstepped me out of trouble and trapped me into school. Never once have you told me to sell dope. You never made it look cool. You wanted me to see all you had been through. A struggle song for your people. You were never above us  but equal.  All hail Queen hip hop. Seeker of inner joy.

Graffiti your name in my heart, krump your synergies into my brain, beatbox your strength into my veins and battle your way into my pain. After you I never was the same. My emotions lay with you, and so do my fears.  I love you too much to ever be without you. That is why you’re my religion, my struggle. My one true love. All hail Queen Hip Hop. Liberator of an oppressed mind-Gigi LaMayne.

17th Mar2014

I can sell mountains

by admin

Mbali Monareng shares some of her poetry. 

mm1When the wind whispered

“You cannot do it, it is impossible”
And blew me to the ground,

I did what others could not and picked

Myself up

Impossible is a dare

I can sell mountains.

 

“Dear Lord with you I am unconquerable

My strength to fight grows with each moment

With your Grace

I can sell mountains”

 

The night tried to seduce me

I told her I cannot sleep because I might

Sleep away my chance to be successful

Sleep be gone!

My dreams are becoming a reality

I can sell mountains.

 

I could not settle for unfulfillment

When the wind blew in my favour,

I took flight

Battling against all elements

I am possible

I can sell mountains.

-ubuhlebesfiso

03rd Oct2012

Bennett in the building!

by admin

I have a slight problem with the concept of self-help books. My logic is that if you were able to help yourself, you wouldn’t need a book to tell you how. But I must say I am becoming a firm believer in the whole ‘send positive messages to the universe and see positive changes in your life’ dogma preached by Rhonda Byrne in that half-truth of a book called The Secret. No doubt the book is a money making scheme, but a few months ago I stumbled into a YouTube video of one of my favourite poets and said a small prayer in my heart, wishing he would come to South Africa, and now he will be performing in my backyard on the 6th of October.

Granted a Wits student’s route to his Newtown backyard is one that requires backup from ninjas skilled in the martial art of Killamugger in order to cross Mandela Bridge, Bennett’s performance is potentially worth the risk. Yes, ladies and gentle people, the award winning poet, Joshua Bennet will be performing at this year’s Word N Sound Poetry and Live Music Festival at Emonti Diner on the corner of Quinn and Bree Street on the 6th of October 2012. Tickets are R100 at the door.

For those of you who haven’t heard, Joshua is not only the type of boy you want to Korobela and take home to Mama, but he is also a remarkable performance poet who has graced platforms such as the Sundance Film Festival, the NAACP Image Awards, and President Obama’s Evening of Poetry and Music at the White House, with his original poetry. If you are a distinguished lover of poetry, you might also remember him as a featured poet on Brave New Voices on the HBO Series channel.

What you may not know is that he is a Princeton man, completing his Player Hater Degree (PhD) in English, has an MA in Theatre from the University of Warwick, and graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania. Yes, even the nerds in poetry who roll their eyes every time a boy recites what may be construed as a pretentious ode to love (Transatlantic Love Manifesto) are thoroughly impressed with Mr Bennett.

Unlike the multitudes of poets that make girls who will settle for nothing less than Mr Meant for Me (Balaenoptera) sigh ‘where are you?’ is a seemingly genuine appreciation for women (10 Things I Want To Say to a Black Woman, Women – featuring Justin Reilly). He also presents a startling honesty in his work, performing self-autopsies in his poems (Spoken Wordsmith, Tamara’s Opus).

I would not be the liker of things you know me to be if I didn’t take the opportunity to interview him for exPress imPress. So keep your eyes peeled as my ‘positive messages to the Universe’ (read prayers to God) allow me to meet Joshua Bennett. In the meantime check him out on YouTube and wonder why he doesn’t live in South Africa.

Sine Zungu is a third year student in Media Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand

 

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