Winnie Mandela and Pretoria’s other opera secret

Pretoria. Just 35 minutes away, and yet the capital might as well be on a different planet for the number of times I venture there. A few weekends ago it was for an audience with South Africa’s struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and some fine Italian food. Continue reading

U2 in Joburg – a sneak preview

Or just a sneaky preview before U2 plays at FNB Stadium, in Soweto, this weekend. This after catching U2 360 in Moscow a few months ago. Not sure if Bono feels the same way but it seems as if our eventual meeting is meant to be. So far paths have been crossed and all manner of coincidences have revealed themselves. It started on day one in Moscow. Fresh from the airport we left our hotel for a walk up one of Moscow’s busiest thoroughfares, Tverskaya Boulevard, on which our hotel was located next door to the Ritz Carlton. There we encountered a crowd waiting patiently on the forecourt. Curious, we asked some questions and soon had word from a wild-eyed Irishman that U2 had arrived in Moscow for a concert that week (he had been following them for months). We hung around for a bit joining the papparazzos and felt the excitement ripple through the crowd as a car pulled up. The crowd lurched forward, necks craning, cameras ready. The Irishman was unimpressed. Looking above the crowd at what was causing such a stir he snorted: “It’s only Adam”. Continue reading

Forget Jack Sparrow. Afrikaans rapper Jack Parow is way cooler

#180. Get hooked on Afrikaans bad boy rapper Jack Parow and watch endless repeats of his “Cooler as Ekke”, an anthem that cuts to the heart of what it feels like when someone thinks they are cooler than you. Jack Parow is the voice of everyman against people called Chaz who have great hair and can wear pink button down shirts and loafers with no socks. Okay it’s broader than that. Jack Parow is the voice of anyone who comes from the East Rand.

I just came across this interview with Parow by Gabi Goldberg (worthy of Rolling Stone) on a site called Moral Fibre (which I now like this very much). Continue reading

Polygamy and the big love of President Jacob Zuma

#175. Think about polygamy and how it’s become part of South African conversation. People talk about it all the time – over coffee, on radio, at the gym. Blame it on the SABC or M-Net. From early on I was gripped by Big Love, the HB0 TV series that used to be screened late at night focusing on the family drama surrounding one man and his three wives and the “cult” they left behind in Juniper Creek.

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Joburg fashion week launches supermodel

#174. Wonder why in the fashion world three or four days constitutes a week and why this hasn’t caught on in the world of work. Actually in the fashion world three or four days constitute a universe in which a front row seat is your ticket to beyond-mere-mortaldom (ask Sonia Booth, wife of South Africa’s most famous white soccer player, Matthew – and I mean that in the nicest possible way. For the full story on former first princess Sonia read this from TimesLive), you no longer kiss people on the cheek (it’s all in the air dahling) and you hoik up your skirt so short that if your grandmammy was still alive she would be chasing you around the house with a dishcloth trying to cover up what G-d gave you (oy! She left home without her pants). And then there’s the heels, darling. So high this year as to give even the casual observer vertigo.

fundudzi's crochet dress

fundudzi's crochet dress

As for the fashion models, well they’ve mastered walking by sending their legs far out in front of them (the rest of me will be there in a minute darling). Continue reading

Beyonce, Kanye West and all those single babies

#155. Watch crazy videos on You Tube of babies dancing to Beyonce’s “single ladies”. Time magazine summed it up nicely when they reported “Kanye West called it “one of the best videos of all time” at last month’s MTV Video Music Awards. Turns out he’s not the only tantrum thrower who feels that way. Toddlers can’t get enough of Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies’ (Put a Ring on It).”
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Joburg becomes art city this weekend

# 151. Follow the Spring Art Tour now at a gallery near you. Four days of contemporary art and design, walkabouts with artists, talks and white wine (usually cheap but purposeful) kick off tomorrow night. Continue reading

Michael Jackson: remember him this way

#126. Watch Michael Jackson when he was still fabulous, still black, had a nose,  and an untarnished reputation. No burqas, no sexually inappropriate behaviour or allegations of it, and lots of cartilage. No crazy family stories, blackmail, circus animals or strange carny folk hanging around.

Just music and dance, and loads of funky rhythms that make me feel happy.

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