I’ve secretly been a fan of Thandi Ntuli since her university days, back when they used to have recitals in room C7 at the Suth African College of Music. At one point, I found myself somewhere in Khayelitsha grooving along to her house music project named Deluge; such is her range. There have been countless moments where I sat motionless, unable to do nothing else but admire her. For instance, I was at the former Mahogany Room (now Straight No Chaser) about three years ago and bore witness to this woman’s brilliance as a pianist and her masterful compostion.
A few months ago, the ladies from Jozi Unsigned asked if I’d be keen to shoot something with her. I couldn’t resist! Here are the results.
*For more images, go here.
It’s been a few years since I witnessed Lethabo Ngakane work on the initial drafts of what was to become Kaffein, the South African youth magazine and on-line portal focused on unearthing talent which exists on the fringes, and giving it space to exhale, regenerate, and be read. Seven volumes later, he’s still sharpening the vision, publishing stories about the under-guarded avant-garde guardians of innovation. This issue features artist Loyiso Mkize, musicians Msaki and JKE, and Zimbabwean-born illustrator Osmond Tshuma. I assisted with images on The Brother Moves On’s feature and on a few other places. The magazine is available to view on-line over at Issuu.
*Kaffein on facebook.
I sit here, quarter-to getting kicked out of my flat as mortifying feelings of my own stupidity lingers. But I ignore them; I’ve ignored them over the past couple of months while working on this series inspecting the State of South African Hip Hop in 2014. I’ve turned down a couple of opportunities which would’ve ensured that I’m not in my current predicament. But Drake taught me better – YOLO-life baby!
I’ve discovered, and keep discovering, the most interesting factoids about the movement which is only now – after crystallizing in the late eighties – is only starting to grip the consciousness of South Africa’s mainstream. It’s thrilling to think that there was a point where rappers were among the most ostracized people in society. Look at them now. Continue reading
I’ve been seeing an increasing amount of requests from musicians to give their music an ear. It’s nice, getting asked to comment on something. But I’m starting to feel that it’s nice in the same way that albums aren’t an immersive experience anymore; here today, in the recycle bin tomorrow, non-existent by the third day. It’s like the story of Jesus Christ, but in reverse.
I’m not comfortable being a watchdog of anything. I just want to write about cool shit I discover on my own, without ever having to feel like I’m obliged to share my infinite wisdom. And if I like it, I might give it a write-up; or head over to iTunes and buy the album. Hell, I’ll go to the next show provided we’re in the same city! But, and I grapple with this daily, I’m by no means an expert of anything; I feel uncomfortable when people put me on a pedestal – I’m acrophobic, so it gets really awkward and uncomfortable.
The homies at Back To The City Festival 2014
I’m interested in how hip-hop, the music and the cultural aesthetic, is influencing how people relate to the spaces they inhabit. What lens do we view ourselves through, for instance? Is it still through images fed to us by the television, or has the Internet become another source? These are some of the things which interested me at the Back To The City, a street culture festival held in Johannesburg’s CBD, this year.
Myself and some compadres went around the Mary Fitzgerald Square in the Newtown Precinct asking people what Freedom Day meant to them. We picked a wide variety of subjects, the range of which was reflected in the responses. The festival is significant in that it’s held on Freedom Day. Automatically, there are a lot of elements at play – socio-political and otherwise, including reclaiming our space in the innercity - and hip-hop is soundtracking every passing moment. You can hear it boom, from the Redbull stage on one end, to the Main Stage at the other extreme – rap is alive! I think it’s a watershed moment which - if not captured, showcased, and interrogated – will result in yet another generation which succeeded in soundtracking its revolution yet failed to preserve it.
Well, not really. More like a creative way to rant about recent places whereby I’ve discovered my work being used without so much as crediting the source. Ah well, wesssssyyyyydE!
For real though, these people should know better.
On-line gossip magazine The Juice:
I don’t understand why the homie had to cut out my watermark.
Pretoria-based rapper Flexx Boogie used this image taken at Maftown Heights 2013 to advertise his show
Cassper Nyovest hanging out with producer Soko. Besides violating my work, this graphic violates a lot of design priciples!
Ja, saw this on Slikour’s blog just yesterday. I took that image of Cassper Nyovest in Kliptown, Soweto, last year.
Update: The webmaster responded promptly to my request that I be credited for the image. Amaze! :)