Daylight Murder: The Yeoville Story of Politics And Drugs

The Yeoville Community Policing Forum has reiterated its urgent call for more police reinforcements to help fight the war on drugs and petty crime in the densely populated Johannesburg surburb. This follows a recent murder of a 30-year-old Zimbabwean “security guard” who was stabbed outside an alleged drug house on 95 Hunter street two weeks…

Apartheid Then: Apartheid Now?

As we watch history repeat itself in spectacularly barbaric and sophisticated ways through the ongoing rampant looting and violent #shutdownSA campaign sparked by the arrest of former South Africa president Jacob Zuma for being in contempt of court last Thursday. I can’t help but recall the words South African writer and novelist Andre Brink, meditating…

Jedi 4.0: Happy Playlist

It’s been 40 years since I was born. I am suprised and also very happy to be here.  Also, I have been at a loss as to how to celebrate this milestone, considering. So I thought I’d share a playlist with 40+ Happy, Dance like no one is watching, songs. Some are ballads and personal…

Redacted: A Royal (Mess) Dispatch

//https: <secure communication>/html;scrpt/ [ Current Affairs #broyalcontroversy (racism @ Meghan/Harry)] [ Cultural Affairs Coming to America Part two: HBO] [The Lion King Part two – Wilderness – Crown: Netflix] [historical affairs : Mansa Musa – Malian Empire; Shaka Zulu- Nguni – Egyptian Heritage] [sci-ref: Sheik Anta Diop – Nubia To Egypt] [Literature and Philosophy – The…

Bantu Treks: The Cost of South African Freedom

Covid-19 has been especially hard on everyone including many cultural and art workers around the country. Bra S’fiso and the Roving Bantu Kitchen & Treks business he runs with his multitalented wife, Ashely has also been affected. Whenever you are in Johannesburg please consider joining one of Bra Sfi’s lively political commentaries and historical treks around Brixton & surrounds, followed by a scrumptious array of South African soul food and refreshments.

When eNCA Failed To Read The Room

There are few things more upsetting to black people the world over than blatant racism. It’s been the bane of our collective existence for all time. Tbh: we are tired of it. So when racist acts are proven to be true, when the evidence is made plain for all to see – it can be…

A New Year in South Africa

Where should we begin? We can’t seem to catch a break. Honestly. I thought being sober might compel us to rethink our next steps, but it seems we’re going full speed ahead. We’re moving so fast that we are leaving the very people we are meant so save behind. I won’t be pessimistic about the…

We Miss You Manelo Where Are You?

“Futures Are Never Given,They Are Created“ Eleven  years ago a group of elders and industry experts sat down to deliberate on the state of South Africa and what its future is  likely to be in 2020, if it failed to address critical socio-economic challenges especially related to unemployment and poverty, safety and security, education and health….

Dear Julius Malema

I hope my letter finds you well today Please allow me to introduce myself, I am Jedi Ramalapa from South Africa. I have lived in this country since the day I was born 39 years ago. Even though the contents of this letter will reference a specific encounter with you in my professional capacity as a…

(Post Script): Every Journey Begins With A Sowetan

This phrase, Every Journey Begins with a Sowetan, was once on a billboard inside the Johannesburg Park Station, colloquially known as epaki/rotunda. I would see it whenever I passed through the station on a long distance bus trip or a short trip on the Gautrain.  This simple sentence has meant a lot to me over…

Palimpsest: Scraped Clean and Ready to Use Again

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash The first time I came across the word Palimpsest was in the first Episode of the third season of The Crown – a fictional take on the British Monarchy. There, Queen Elizabeth II used the word during a speech at the opening of an Exhibition of portraiture curated by the royal art…

We Are Responsible For Who We Become

Early on into Former US President Barak Obamas’ presidency, a Harvard Professor, Henry Louis Gates was arrested for trespassing in his own home in Cambridge Massachusetts. This incident caused national outrage. Barack Obama weighed in on the issue and pronounced that the “Cambridge Police acted stupidly by arresting someone when there was already proof that…

The World Doesn’t Stop For Your Grief

This week has been a tough one. I felt a lot of grief which I could not place because it did not mirror my life in anyway. I would have moments in my day when I was asking myself: Why am I feeling this way? What am I sad about? Is everyone at home okay?…

When I had To Forgive Myself: Not Easy

Sometime last year after a rather bruising encounter with a friend where she felt I needed to apologise, not only to her but to myself – I felt my body bubble up with rage. I didn’t understand why she would ask that of me. I mean, I could accept that I needed to apologise to…

It’s Been A While….

To the woman who loved me without a career, a job, or the ability to dress myself, eat, drink and even walk. To the one who loved me just because there’s no because. To the one who doesn’t place my value on external achievements, who loves me irrespective of what I do or don’t do:…

Even Friends Will Let You Down Sometimes

A writer friend of mine recently called to share some of her frustration and disappointment upon learning that her friends were not supportive of her new venture in life. My friend had been a ghost writer for a while and this week penned a rather brilliant column on her perspective of Covid-19 and baking bread…

When Your Family Lets You Down: Chin-up

For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, you will know that my family is very important to me and we are to a large extent, as close as any family can be. But I have to tell you that there have been many times when my people – the ones I…

Age: Nothing but a number?

April is my birthday month. The only time I “celebrated” my birthday on my own was on my first year on earth. But I don’t remember it. I imagine what it must have been like from the stories my mother used to tell me about this event and I think I was a very different…

2020: When Keeping Your Distance is Loving

I am late.  I have been running behind on my  “I have learnt” blogging  challenge to myself which was inspired by a reading of Brazilian writer Paolo Coelho’s  blog post  earlier this year. The blog lists 24 universal truths he (or someone who wrote them) has learnt. After going through the list, I thought it would…

#OnLockDown: Friendship Without Borders

I was in the midst of rearranging my mind, shifting the priorities of my heart while reflecting and maybe even crying over lost opportunities as email after email dropped into my inbox, all announcing the same news: we regret to inform you…. Due to these extraordinary circumstances we’ve had to… I was busy trying to…

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgement;  (noun) Acceptance of the truth or existence of something. I enjoy reading acknowledgement sections in almost every book I pick. Acknowledgements are like dessert after a delicious meal or an appetiser to a hungry or picky eater. Sometimes when I feel quite daunted by a particular book or if I don’t have enough time, I…

Caught: Off Guard

This week’s truism  from Paolo Coelho’s blog caught me off guard. All week I have tried to reason with it, to find exceptions to the “rule.”  However, as I stand here alone against the wall. I have to admit, it is true that… “… no matter how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion…

Attitude: You Control It

The recent chaos in South Africa over comments by Former South African President and Nobel laureate F W De Klerk that Apartheid was not a crime against humanity and this week’s truism from Paulo Coelho’s blog: I have learnt that if you don’t control your attitude – it will control you Brought to mind a…

Beyond Charm: What Do You Know?

I’ve learned that you can get by on charm, for about fifteen minutes. After that, you’d better know something; This week’s truism was difficult to write and analyse. It truly challenged me. I seriously had to think about what it is I know beyond my ability to delight, attract, or fascinate others. I have often asked…

Trust: This Land Is Not Ours, Yet

  I’ve learned that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it. I’ve decided to approach this week’s truism from the series I’ve learned from a different perspective.   I want to use the subject of land as a starting point because not only is it a hotly contested and highly…

Who Cares: When No One Does?

Brazilian Author of the Alchemist Paul Coelho shared a post on his blog about a list of things he’s learnt which have been attributed to him even though he did not write them called I have learned. The post lists 24 life lessons which gave me pause after I read them. I have since decided…

Accept Yourself : You cannot Make Someone Love You

Brazilian Author of the Alchemist Paul Coelho recently shared a blog post about a list of things he’s learnt which have been attributed to him even though he did not write them called I have learned. The post lists 24 life lessons which gave me pause after I read them. I have since decided to…

Maponya: Feeding The Nation One Generation At a Time

Perhaps it was not a coincidence that the name Maponya came up during our family New Year’s Eve dinner recently. After a hearty meal my mother opened up about some of her fondest childhood memories. One of them is a story about a video-juke box which transfixed many children who were sent on errands to…

Chihombori-Quao: ‘Maybe I Lasted Longer Than I Should Have’

Former African Union Ambassador to the US Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao says she was was not surprised by her recent dismissal as the permanent representative of the African Union in the United States of America. Speaking during an exclusive interview with the US based #RolandMartin Daily Digital show last week Dr Chihombori-Quao said she received a…

Zulu Wedding: Re-writing History?

This week I had a blast watching the Zulu Wedding, a South African feature film about a young Zulu woman who leaves the country to pursue a new life and career in America, attempting  to free herself from the cultural and traditional obligations she is pre-destined to fulfil. Only to be pulled back home by…

Sticks & Stones: Journalism and Hate Speech in South Africa

“I realise that when reporting, I walk with a stoop now, bent from the world as if to protect myself. It’s not like me. At news events, like EFF media conferences, I make myself small and will ask questions in a way that sound to me as I reflect, almost obsequious. It’s definitely not like…

May The Best African Language Presenter Win!

On the week that researchers released a report revealing that most black South African households (parents) prefer to educate their children in English, I unwittingly got myself into an audition which brought the research home.  I was planning to visit a Hair-Salon in Braamfontein, Johannesburg when I stumbled on an advertisement calling for 30-40 year…

Africa: Stories in The Mist

Storytelling is not an easy skill to master. For the past few weeks I have been writing and re-writing stories searching for the best one to tell , but none has stuck.  Even though the times we now live in, offer a daily buffet rich with an abundance of subjects and issues to campaign, complain…

Error: Mind Your Language(s), Nkandla is Beautiful!

The Week That Was For two days last week, I reported from the front-lines of what many in the media call NkandlaGate. In reality, I have been standing on the side of the road leading to South African President Jacob Zuma’s Private Homestead in Nkandla, a town situated in the uThungulu district of KwaZulu-Natal, South…

Juba: The Dream vs Reality

When I accepted an offer to work in Juba, South Sudan for twelve months, I instinctively wanted to write about it. I wanted to write something before I set one foot out there for future reference, to corroborate my initial perceptions against the actual experience of living there. Knowing what we all know of South…

A QUESTION OF POWER: DON’T SAY THAT #freestellanyanzi

There’s a story a former colleague and housemate told me once about “madness”. The story has stuck with me over the years, periodically releasing legions of ants who crawl under my skin – forcing me to resist the urge to scratch my body all over, over and over again incessantly. While I cannot confirm its…

Why are (most) African Leaders Silent on Media Freedom?

The people would be forgiven for thinking that most African leaders are not committed to building liberal democratic institutions as many of them consistently fail to defend the right to freedom of expression within their borders. A recent media freedom conference held in London organised by the government of the United Kingdom and Canada, is…

Consent: Is a Woman’s Right

As women leaders and activists from around the world gather for the 63 Commission on the Status of Women in New York this week I thought, it would be fun to share a little story with you, to get us all thinking about the current status of women around the world, particularly as it relates…

Homegoing: A Non Book Review

This post is inspired by a recent reading of Yaa Gyasi’s book, HomeGoing (2016).  It is a book  chosen by the majority members of a book club I belong to. I made an effort to read it this time because I didn’t want to show up to yet another meeting without having read the book…

There is No War on Women

Perhaps this is the title that many men who commented on a book I’ve been reading this week by the late BBC TV Journalist, Sue Lloyd- Roberts would have preferred. The books’ actual title “The War on Women” (2016) seems to rub them all up the wrong way. What book are you reading? They would ask sweetly….

Forgiveness: It’s Not Black or White, It’s Personal

It came out of nowhere, just like Die Stem, South Africa’s national anthem from 1957 to 1994. I thought we were all singing Nkosisikela when the veil was finally lifted and sommer Uit die blou van ons se hemel – she dropped a bomb on me. It was not so long ago when I met…

ON: THE LOVE DIARY OF A ZULU BOY

A memoir by Bhikisisa Mncube A few months ago I was part of a social gathering in which the Master of Ceremonies suggested we play a game to break the ice. The game consisted of passing the bottle to each other around a circle to the beat of the music, and when the music stops…

AT LAST: YOU’RE YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK

A once dear friend of mine loved to compare me to the American singer, songwriter, composer and pianist Nina Simone.  He would send me messages saying he was listening to Nina, who reminds him of me. Instead of accepting the compliment I  resisted the temptation to lash out at him and chose only to focus…

SOLD: How Ramaphosa Managed

This picture of former South African President  Jacob Zuma with the newly elected  South African President Cyril Ramaphosa  brought to mind a 1975 transhistorical film by Senegalese writer and filmmaker Ousmane Sembene.  It is a story I will never forget. Xala! (meaning impotence)  is an adaptation of Sembene’s book with the same name. If you have…

Inxeba: Tradition VS Culture

Back when I was a journalism student at Natal Technikon now DUT I attempted, rather poorly, to articulate the continuous tension between tradition and culture which created a fair amount of conflict within my own mind and in the public sphere. I used the traditional practice of initiating boys into manhood in African-black culture as an…

Unveiling Democracy: It’s A Mirage

I’m here watching as the brilliant pallet of hopeful colours democracy once painted for us in vivid penetrating hues of bright reds, warm oranges, sunny yellows, soft airy blues which so mesmerized the eye that some of us had to squint just to see the picture clearly;  begins to fade. The dazzling ideal which democracy…

Coconut: Soothing oil for growing Afros

I do not know how to make it pretty. I do not know how to mask it. It is not a piece of literary genius. It is the story of our lives. It is our story, told in our own words as we feel it every day. It is boring. It is plain. It is…

THE NEW DEAL: OLD NEWS, NEW DATES

It has become phenomenally difficult to retain any level of optimism regarding African politics these days. It’s as if the new wave of cynicism is overshadowing anything positive taking place including an event which at any other time in history would have been cause for enormous celebration throughout the continent. But the removal of the…