Sihle Xaba, star of Otelo Burning, is running late. But it’s a glorious morning on Durban’s South Beach and the photographer and I have a great vantage point – a shady bench at the Art Deco-style lifeguard station.
Reason’s “Walk on water” is playing in my head – a song inspired by the film about four boys – Mandla (played by Xaba), New Year (Thomas Gumede), and Otelo (Jafta Mamabolo) and his kid brother Ntwe (Tshepang Mohlomi) – growing up in a violence-ravaged Durban township in the late 1980’s who just want to surf. I feel like I can walk on water/touch the sky and go further/spread my wings because I wanna/rise above these clouds and see the whole world… *
While Julius Malema was not celebrating a victory after the contentious hate speech ruling delivered yesterday we were at the Troyeville Hotel dinner and book club listening to Fiona Forde, the author of his biography, in conversation with City Press Editor Ferial Haffajee.
The event was apparently sold out in just over an hour. The room was wall to wall with journalists in whose professional lives Julius Malema occupies a special place. The man is news. He strides across the public stage as if he owns it, and has a way of making even reasonable statements sound outrageous, flanked as they usually are by the spectacle of a tenderpreneur calling for the nationalization of everyone else’s wealth.
Had to point you to a must-read comment piece on the phenomenon of “Coconuts” that caused a stir in the twitterverse today. If you are not familiar with the term it’s a derogatory label for black people who are thought to have sold out being black by not being black enough. This sounds complicated I know. So I will leave it to Lerato Tshabalala, my former Sunday Times Lifestyle compadre, to explain and tell it like it is.
A fascinating, smart and funny piece of commentary on South Africa’s post-apartheid generation.
“As I’m sure you’ve noticed, dear reader, I’m black. I know this because my parents are black, both my siblings are black and should I forget that, whenever I turn around, my ATM (African Trade Mark), reminds me that I was definitely at the front of the queue when God was handing out thighs and behinds.
But even with all this strong evidence, it appears that my “blackness” has come into question several times. Continue reading →
Among reports of the northern territories melting down and concerns over the start of the Formula 1 season (Bahrain has bigger problems) and Muammar Gadaffi, the man of many names not to mention many fashion statements, sharing headline space with Charlie Sheen for the “who is the craziest award” this is too good not to share. Continue reading →
#203. Get the T-shirt from Hayibo – the site that’s known for breaking news, into tiny little pieces. Among their range is the UMLUNGU T-shirt and the new Julius Malema-inspired “100 percent for Zuma and 20 percent for woodwork”.
#189. Chip in on the photographs that caused all the trouble with Lulu Xingwana, the Minister of Arts and Culture. If you missed this story you will need to read all about it on Times Live “Minister slams ‘porn’ exhibition”. The short version is that the Minister who was to open an exhibition that included Muholi’s work at Constitution Hill slammed the artist and her work and then walked out. A statement released after the event had the minister saying: “Our mandate is to promote social cohesion and nation building. I left the exhibition because it expressed the very opposite of this.” She called Muholi’s photographs depicting lesbian relationships “immoral, offensive and going against nation-building.”
#188. Listen to one of the other stars of the Flux Trend Review, Sylvester Chauke, marketing manager of Nando’s. Not only did he dance onstage to Beyonce’s “All the single ladies” but he also revealed the essence of the company’s marketing strategy, summed up by: “passionate about South Africa, and taking a stand against the bland”. The chicken brand is determined not to bore its audience, seeking instead to engage their attention in interesting ways, mostly through sharp social commentary and humour. They are keen to be part of the conversation and their ads provoke a reaction because they have a way of bringing to light the country’s zeitgeist. This I like.
A current favourite is their response to Fifa’s tagline: Make sure you can say “I was there”.
Then there’s my other favourite favourite — the recent Valentine’s Day message riffing off Jacob Zuma’s latest romantic misadventures. Continue reading →
#187. Attend the Flux Trend Review, which I did yesterday at the University of Johannesburg Theatre – a little spot of [architectural] light on an otherwise mostly foreboding campus (that was besides for the delicious food from the hospitality and tourism students – 10 out of 10 for the home-made biscuits). Ferial Haffajee, editor of City Press gave the opening talk, a state of the nation address that included lots of ripe bananas, a great soundtrack and even a soccerball giveaway (definitely a 2010 event trend). Maybe JZ should try that. Continue reading →
#186. Share the viral load. It appears that someone out there is having a whale of a time creating Hollywood scenarios for South Africa’s two most headline-hogging (mostly for the wrong reasons) politicians. My inbox is jammed. So here’s another take on the Juliob or Jacobius (our shorter answer to Brangelina) relationship.
First there was Dr Evil and mini-me then there was …
There’s an academic thesis in here about political figures and popular representations, about humour and fear, but I am not going to be the one to write it. Suffice to say it’s all kind of funny in an uncomfortable way.
#185. Share the latest graphic doing the rounds on email. Star Wars fans. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Well at least Darth Vader’s heavy breathing finally makes sense, perhaps a little too much. With apologies to fans and of course to Luke Skywalker.