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Donel Mangena touches the globe

The kid is seventeen and the globe is in his hands. But what does it mean that the child of Zimbabwean immigrants is doing these things? What does it mean that out of a constellation of global ‘stars’ he could have bagged such a prestigious gig as the Miss World finals last weekend?

picture courtesy of Donel Mangena Facebook page

The 68th edition of the Miss World pageant, was held on 8 December 2018 at the Sanya City Arena in Sanya, China.The event saw Manushi Chhillar of India crowning her successor Vanessa Ponce of Mexico at the end. Before 118 beauties drawn from across the world, the nascent talent of Donel Mangena with Zimbabwean roots showed out. He may prove to be Africa’s answer to Usher or Chris Brown with his fluid dance moves and singing ability.Recently he was in the country a few months to perform in front of local fans in Bulawayo and he is proving that he will most likely soar to previously uncharted territory in the pop music firmament.

Much will depend on a number of factors including management and of course songs. Without a hit song, a singer is going nowhere and the young artists introduced his latest single ‘Bang like a drum’ at the finals dancing with a coterie of dancers in choreography that chimed seamlessly with his latest offering.

Donel Mangena new single cover art.

The crowd roared their approval at the end with presenters Barney Walsh gushing: “What an opening, we had Donel…!

Donel came close to bagging UK’s version of the voice last year and attracted the attention of Black Eyed Peas front man Wil.I.Am. He has also had the rare privilege of performing for the royalty at the Queen of England’s birthday celebrations. Donel has roots in the city’s cultural hub of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

story by Admire Kudita

THE ADZE UGAH INTERVIEW

Adze Ugah is one of Africa’s finest filmmakers whose artistic vision is responsible for some of the most widely followed productions in South Africa and indeed across Africa. What separates the grain from the proverbial chaff as pertains  Ugah is his growing repertoire of television and film helming productions such as Society II and III, Zone 14, Tshisa II, Skwizas II, My Perfect Family II, Isibaya, Room 9 within the context of an environment that is generally hostile to African immigrants. A past Best Achievement in Directing – TV Soap winner for Isibaya in the South African Film and Television Awards, Ugah is a pioneering Nigerian creative plying his trade in South Africa.    His critically acclaimed pan African television series Jacob’s Cross is perhaps his crowning achievement in a glittering film career in terms of forging pan African relations. The 2008 documentary The Burning Man garnered international notice and earned several awards.His first feature film Gog’Helen was released in late 2012 and he is currently involved in various stages of production of other film and television projects. This creative visionary is a little lauded articulate giant of African film. Culture Beat Africa editor Addy Kudita manages to prise him away from his busy schedule for an insightful one on one.

CBA: How did you get your break in the cut throat world of television, it’s cut throat isn’t it?

ADZE UGAH: Every industry is cut throat, but for one to make it in TV and film, I feel one must always start with believing that one has something to offer.So it is not about entering the industry with the notion of what one can get out of it. I lived, breathed and ‘slept’ film and TV.Everyone around me could see it.So after film school in Nigeria, I sought to increase my knowledge base, and that’s what led me to do my honours in SA. After graduating, I sought more knowledge by volunteering to be a trainee for little or no pay on the film and TV sets.As long as it meant I could learn more about making TV and film from a practical perspective without having to pay for it.It was very hard considering that I had no support system in SA and relied on just the kindness of God and others for survival. And those who allowed me to work as a trainee could see my potential in even the most menial of film and TV functions and just saw it fit to assign bigger responsibilities to me.When the time came, that’s what happened and that’s how I started. It all began with Home affairs and the producer of Home affairs, Roberta Durant, for seeing that potential and giving me that opportunity.

CBA: Can you recall for me some of the projects you have worked on aside from famous ones such as Zone 14 and others such as Society which I enjoyed thoroughly?

ADZE UGAH: My first work experience in SA Television was on a SABC 1 show called Home affairs, as a trainee assistant director. I recall being nervous when it was time to apply for a work permit to work on that show because I thought the department of Home affairs might think we were making a show about them and be worried about being shown in a negative light on TV and maybe refuse the permit. But the show had nothing to do with the department.In a way; it was like Society, just about the four disparate lives of women living in SA. I then went to work as an assistant director on an SABC 2 show called Heartlines that was where I met Angus Gibson, the creator/director of Yizo Yizo. He also directed the Oscar nominated documentary on Mandela and he has since been my mentor. He was intrigued by my passion for movies and TV. He then invited me to meet his business partner and producer Desiree Markgraaf. At the time they were creating a pan African series for MNET, and they invited me to contribute to the project. It went on to become the acclaimed pan-African series that we know today as Jacob’s Cross, and I became one of the anchor directors of the show. Since then I have done Tshisa season three, some episodes of Room 9, the supernatural detective series set in a future dystopian South Africa. I have done some episodes of the sitcom, My Perfect Family and Skwizas. Also directed an anti xenophobia Mfolozi Street and have directed feature films for SA cinema such as Gog Helen, Mrs Right Guy, and 10 Days in Sun City.

CBA: As a migrant, what obstacles did you have to overcome to get to a place where you could “eat” from the craft?

ADZE UGAH: Firstly for me, it wasn’t about what and where I could “eat”, I was about what I could give others to “eat”, even though at the time I virtually had nothing, but I had my ideas, my point of view on things, my creativity, i had my vision and my passion and that’s what I believe created the opportunities for me

CBA: Did you train in S.A. or Nigeria and how did you cut your teeth in the business?

ADZE UGAH: My first degree in film was from Nigeria, at the National Film Institute, in Jos. I was able to make one film after I graduated with money from my parents and I used my family as the cast.The film went on to win some awards in Nigeria at that time but didn’t really make me any money.But it was a great learning curve that led to the desire to seek more knowledge in making films.

CBA: What kind of a premium do you think as Africans are placing on our own narratives?

ADZE UGAH: Not nearly enough as we should, other countries like Asia, Europe and the Americas see their narratives as a commodity.For them their art and culture and entertainment is not just a government mandate, it is big business. It is something to invest in and to export to other nations. It grows their economy and shapes their identities -the best of both worlds as far as I am concerned. It’s about time Africans saw it as more than just stories told round a fire place or under a tree or just a novelty. It is big business.

CBA: What in your opinion is the importance of story telling from a developmental point of view?

ADZE UGAH: Story telling shapes emotions, identity and consciousness.America has used it to colonize the world, advance its notions and ingrained itself into the global psyche. We have the same opportunity to do like wise.

CBA: What stories do you believe need to be told more insistently about Africa?

ADZE UGAH: Historical ones for starters and even contemporary ones.

CBA: How do you view issues around xenophobia?

ADZE UGAH: Just like any other malady, you can’t endorse something that every one agrees it is a social ill. Even those who are xenophobic know that it is a negative attitude, and just like any other social ill, it is mostly fueled by ignorance and the only way to counter ignorance is to inform and educate.That’s why platforms like film and TV become very important.  I meant,  I directed an anti-xenophobia documentary called The Burning Man, and feature films for SA cinema such as Gog helen, Mrs Right Guy, 10 days in Sun City.

CBA: The work of yours that I have seen tends to have a gritty realism to it. The characters tend to be the most interesting ones and a good example are the Zone 14 ones such as Spinach…Do you deliberately seek out scripts with strong memorable characters?

ADZE UGAH: I think i have just been lucky to work with people who are also drawn to the same issues as I am. That’s what it’s really all about at the end of the day.

CBA: What are currently working on?

ADZE UGAH:  I am working on Isibaya at the moment and working towards releasing a feature film in 2018

CBA: Are you eating from this?

ADZE UGAH: I think it’s more important that I know others can eat from the projects I am work on first and foremost.That is the only thing that guarantees that I can also eat from it eventually.

CBA: What inspires you personally?

ADZE UGAH: Good films, good books and good television series, but most of all the human experience in all its permutations mostly inspire me.

South African hip hop artist Cassper earns legend status

As if filling up a 20 000 seater Coca Cola Dome in Soweto or a 60 000 seater Orlando stadium is a stroll in the veld, try this for size : Cassper filled up a 90 000 seater football stadium in addition to those feats ! Well not quite ; though he did sell 72 000 tickets and brought throngs of excited fans along for the history making show.Few African artists have been stadium fillers. This is a rarified space which has in the past been inhabited by international acts such as Bruce Springsteen and Eminem.

Picture from Instagram

Cassper’s feat has earned him the respect of peers and entertainment industry elders such as the legendary impresario of the African house music and the power behind the careers of pan African groups such as Mafikizolo, Bongomaffin and Boomshaka DJ Oskido (real name Oscar Mdlongwa, the boss of Kalawa Jazmee)

Picture from Instagram

Cassper was born Refiloe Maele Phoolo into a middle class South African family. Dropping out of school at 16 to pursue his music dream in the bright lights of Johannesburg must have sounded like a nightmare to his teacher parents.The odds seemed bleak… On Saturday night 68 000 fans turned up for the spectacular show that has helped the 27 year old hip hop artist and boss of independent label Family Tree Records make history. Perhaps reminiscing about his days paying his dues as a backing dancer for popular hip hop artists of the day such as HHP (whom he paid homage to before the pumped up crowd),  Cassper ‘kinged’ it. But did he ever think that one day he would be compared with the likes of Bruce Springsteen in the annals of pop music history as a big stadium drawcard?

Theatre of dreams

Picture from Instagram

The venue of last Saturday’s concert was the architectural masterpiece that is the FNB stadium which played host to the 2010 World Cup final. An aerial view of the stadium reveals an inspirational and evocative design achievement in the calabash design of the stadium. The very idea of a design inspired by African motifs and iconography is fundamental to the proliferation and proper monetisation of African cultural artefacts and Art in general. The Nyovest gig has been hailed by the country’s Arts Minister Nathi Mthethwa:  “On behalf of @ArtsCultureSA I wish you all the best as you make your mark and start a new chapter in South Africa’s music history tonight. You continue to inspire future generations of African musicians to be limitless in their pursuit of excellence”and for “using his platform to encourage the youth to preserve and promote African arts and culture.”

The path to glory

Picture from Instagram

The campaign to fill up the stadium ran for several months on social media mainly.Corporate support for the gig was begging initially till right upto the very last moment. Cassper was on social media grumbling about how “they dont want to support us” in refernce to corporate South Africa. In an interview with DJ Sbu (another serious entrepreneur owner of the MoFaya energy drink and Massiv Metro radio station) Cassper broke down the total cost of the show which saw him go broke as per his own word and selling four Rolex watches. Of course that fact alone I found bemusing considering the lot of Zimbo musicians. A Rolex watch can set you back close to R60 000 per piece. Still, Cassper claimed in the interview that it would cost him 15 million rand to put the show together. It cost 2 million rand to book stadium, 5,2million rand for the stage design ( by a company based in Cape Town), 1 million rands for traditional marketing and 500 000 rands for supporting acts.

It takes a village to raise an African child

Picture from Instagram

For a moment, it seemed that Cassper was going it alone but for the support of the likes of famous house music don Oskido of Kalawa Jazmee records, fellow rapper Riky Rik, Black Coffee and other celebs such as actress Pearl Thusi who came out in support buying tickets. Oskido bought R50 000 worth of tickets whilst Riky Rik bought R20 000 worth of tickets. All of sudden, the campaign for the show reached a groundswell and the corporate world jumped in. Ciroc, Budweiser, SABC. South Africa’s Department of Arts and Culture and Standard Bank came on board to help underwrite the gig. Standard Bank actually broke protocol by sponsoring a gig at rival bank branded stadium.

Business comes to the party

The corporate head of retail marketing Tinyiko Mageza at Standard Bank offered his sentiments about the Cassper gig: “Cassper Nyovest has challenged young South Africans to unapologetically chase their next big dreams, their next big deals and their next big wins, and we are inspired and excited to be part of this adventure. For Standard Bank it doesn’t matter where your NEXT may happen or how big it may seem, we really just want to be a partner as you steer your life to greatness.” The Standard Bank involved an undisclosed amount of money plus extensive marketing support and advertising. The bank also gave away free tickets that it had bought to fans. Incidentally, Standard Bank has a promotional campaign entitled ‘What’s Your Next?’“We are here to support a young African artist, Cassper Nyovest, to show that anything is possible.We are here to show that no matter how big or audacious, bold or daring your next step is you can really make it happen if you have the right partners co-piloting with you and helping you stir your life to greatness.As a country, we followed Cassper’s journey from one ‘next’ to the other For us it represented the epitome of what a ‘next’ is all about. As a bank, in May we put our hands up and asked the question to all South Africans, ‘What is your next?’,” said Mageza.

A night to remember

Picture from Instagram

The stage with two giant lions flanking it was designed by Daniel Popper a Cape Town based artist. The lighting was superlative and worthy of a galaxy of African stars who take their Art seriously. The show included a Somizi Mhlongo choreographed 50 dancer show piece by Cassper alone. Some of South Africa’s top artistes Kwesta, Major League,Babes Wodumo, current hit makers Distruction Boyz, DJ Tira, (Zimbabwean rapper )Nadia Nakai, Somizi, Riky Rick and Tshepo Tshola featured to help make the show a grand musical affair. They didn’t need American musical imports to fill the stadium on this Saturday night and the tag line of Brand South Africa- Proudly South African was totally earned. Hit after hit was churned out by Cassper and his coterie of fellow artists with songs such as ‘Mama I made it’, ‘Tito Mboweni’ and others by Babes Wodumo thrilling the multi-ethnic and multi-racial fans.The generation of artists such as Cassper is clearly standing on the shoulders of giants that have gone before him such as the late Lucky Dube and Miriam Makeba.

Has Cassper Nyovest not given South African audiences a moment of showbiz magic with his recent FillUpTheFNB concert? Has he not rewritten the script for African artists in the process in terms of how far to reach when pursuing the singular goal of global fame?
Apparently, Cassper calls him himself  Mufasa – Lion king. Is he the lion of African pop culture ? Pundits would be hard pressed to deny him the title especially if he pulls off the #FillUpMosesMabhidha gig he is now eyeing for 2018.

Warhol’s prophecy comes true: The age of celebrity culture

What is intriguing is that her act is not mind blowing for its artistry. She merely lifts her leg in a Michael Jackson-like motion. She squats and stands and shakes her derriere. All the time, you know that she is not wearing any under clothes because she already told you. Talk about the power of suggestion. The imagination is a wilderness of its own.

Zodwa now charges for her appearances and MC duties. It will cost you between R10 000 and R15 000 per gig to book her in South Africa. She is what the French would call a provocateur, a pop culture phenomenon which perhaps has its roots in the 60s when characters such as Elvis Presley scandalised the prim and proper folk, with his outrageous hip shake whilst performing on stage and British rock bands such as the Rolling Stones led publicly chronicled drug fuelled lifetsyle.

Kim Kardashian Clone?

But who is Zodwa? Born Zodwa Rebecca Libram in Soweto some 32 years ago before shifting to Durban four years ago, the former debt collector appears to have struck a rich vein: monetizing notoriety. And she is slated to visit Bulawayo’s Club Connect. “Zodwa is coming as a guest and not an entertainer but her popularity makes it sound otherwise. She will obviously dance and have her favourite drinks and even choose the woman who she feels would have done a great deal of copying her style‚” said Zandile Moyo the manager of Club Connect as quoted by the Sowetan.

Zodwa is coming possibly because she is currently trending on social media. She also upped the ante when she appeared dressed in a very ‘dangerous’ dress (of course without panties) at the famous Durban July horse race which is a much vaunted South African celebrity calendar event. “The inspiration behind it is that I wanted to be sexy and bold,” Zodwa elaborated. “I wanted to show I don’t really wear a panty. In the photos my cellulite is clearly visible; I wanted to show women we don’t have to hide what we are.”

Fifteen minutes of fame

It is Andy Warhol, in February 1968 who when he exhibited his first international retrospective exhibition at the Moderna Museet gallery in Stockholm had the exhibition catalogue contain a line “In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” These words are now famously attributed to the late U.S. artist who was himself interested in personal branding and perhaps is most famous for being part of the Bohemian scene in New York of the 60s, 70s and the 80s. His other most famous pop culture contribution is his portrait of the late beauty and actress Marilyn Monroe (incidentally, she was a paramour of the assasinated Kennedy brothers John and Robert as well Mafia boss Sam Giancana).

By Warhol or not

Warhol’s words about the fleeting nature of fame may not have been actually his. Some reports attribute the words to photographer Nate Finkelstein who is reported as claiming to have uttered them in response to Warhol’s remark about his observation that “everyone wants to be famous”. But as reported by art critic Blake Gopnik in the Marketplace magazine: “We’ve decided it’s by Warhol, whether he likes it or not, we’ve created and continue to create the Warhol brand for ourselves.”

Self- addiction

If it is the ordained lot of artists to mirror society, and then Warhol was indeed a keen observor of soicety. If indeed he observed that “everyone wants to be famous”, then he could not have been more prescient in that observation. Take Facebook for instance. The runaway success of the platform with over a billion users across the globe is but ample evidence of this ‘self-addiction’. Too often, wanna be celebrities will flaunt their latest material possessions or even hairstyles on their Facebook pages. Soon enough, and depending on the number of ‘friends’ one has, the media spreads like wild fire as links to it are shared and so and so on. Virtual reality is the new reality and some have found a way to monetize their following in cyberspace.

Fame for fame’s sake

Ours is the age of the Kim Kardashians, the Pokello Nares, the Beverly Sibandas and lately the Zodwa waBantus. These ladies found a way to parlay their female bodies for fame and financial gain. But I see a thread harking all the way back to Marilyn Monroe. She may have been a talented actress but the pundits were not really interested in that talent. She was commoditised into a sex symbol- a symbol of men’s insatiable lust for beauty and voluptousness.

Kim Kardashian, perhaps not the air head that some initially made her out to be, produced a sex tape that made her into instant celebrity when it was released on to the internet. The scandal ensuing, or rather the notoriety she gained from it, merely fed into the publicity juggeraut she was to become and the tabloids’ hunger for the gutter was merely whetted. Kim Kardashian is neither a singer nor an actress nor a ballerina.  But over 150 million times, the sex tape which was legally aired by Vivid Entertainment in 2007 has been watched and has made a reported $100 million for the company. Kim is reported to have received $5 million from the tape! Six months after the publication of the tape, E! offered her a reality show Keeping up with the Kardashians in tandem with trending television format of reality shows.

 Scandal ain’t what it used to be!

Borrowing Kardashian’s script, Pokello also attained her fame through similar means i.e. a sex tape in which she starred with her then boyfriend musician Desmond ‘Stunner’ Chideme. Pokello Nare (now married), is probably Zimbabwe’s own version of Kim Kardashian. To Nare’s credit is the fact that whereas she is a university graduate, Kim never graduated from high school. It is interesting to note that before the now famous sex tape which was also leaked on line and blurred the lines on acceptable public conduct, very few people outside of her circle knew about Pokello Nare. Latterly, she was to successfully apply to be part of the Big Brother Africa reality television show. Her fame grew as it seemed that tabloids could not get enough of her. Somehow, there are people…throngs of lusty men who will part with good money to be titillated by the sight of a female body. It is a timeless and primal urge that knows no boundary.

New media revolution

But the proliferation of ideas and diffusion of innovations across cultures has largely been aided and abetted by the mass media and attendant technologies. Initially, radio, television and film were the mediums via which the stories of notable persons in society could parlayed for fame and in some instances fortune. More recently, the World Wide Web has become the most dominant medium of communication. Along with its rise to popularity, innovations such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube to name but a few have become mass communication staples. Whilst observing popular culture and culture in general, it may not be farfetched to conclude that whatever becomes a ‘hit’, is in itself an indicator of the prevailing value system of society at the given time. Thus it is even now. It is also very notable how that in the past artists generally tended to influence public discourses and contibute to the thought culture of societies.

Everyone wants to be famous

Not only notable persons are being depicted in these platforms. Even the unknowns are grabbing a slice of the cake. Notoriety is the new popular. Inexorably, we seem to be moving into a cultural morass, a dystopian nightmare that is bereft of absolutes. Values of decency or what is considered tasteful is increasingly becoming relative to the situation and to individual circumstances. The rise of the likes of Zodwa, Pokello and Kim Kardashian may therefore be viewed in the context of this new celebrity culture of fame for fame’s sake. Some say it’s a vacuous show, a bonfire of vanities. But this is show business and there is none like it for salaciousness. What the baying masses want, they get and canny club managers with ears to the ground and noses sniffing on the winds are smelling blood. It is ancient Rome all over again.

 

 

 

EVERYTHING STARTS WITH AN IDEA

Someone once said that there is nothing more powerful in the entire world than an idea whose time has come. Disney, for example, is today valued at around US$150 billion and generates revenues of over US$50 billion annually.Not bad for a company that started with a cartoon called Mickey Mouse !

Dreams to gold

Steve Jobs was a listless college dropout when he met future collaborator and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Jobs had been what can be called a bum, dabbler in eastern mysticism, psychedelia and other unproductive pursuits such as watching television for hours on end.His biography is well documented and I will not bother you with details. The moral of this tale is that this same guy is now famous for altering the way we work and live in the 21st Century via the invention of the Macintosh computer abbreviated Mac and related products iPhone, iTunes and iPad.The Apple brand is well loved for the ingenuity of the design and the functionality of its product lines.

No grand plan starting out

Of course Jobs did not have a grand plan when he set out as a young dreamer who society might have dismissed as a failure after dropping out of college.But when he met with other minds of purpose (such as Wozniak and Bill Gates), he crystallised his vision and became a formidable innovator and shrewd businessman.

When Steve Jobs died,he left behind a multi-billion dollar company.The company is currently under the stewardship of Tim Rice. Jobs is reportedly said to have summarised his life maxim as follows: “You’ve got to find what you love.And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don’t settle.”He had given the talk to graduates at Stanford University in 2005 in a speech entitled “How to live before you die”.

Innovative ideas have led thousands from poverty to fortune and fame. Many of the world’s businesses started off as concepts that bothered their possessors till they began to execute them.Several epochs after creation, humans who started off in a garden have been responsible for the creation and invention of many brilliant contraptions and technology that has at the same time moved civilisation forward as well as threatening to extinguish it !

Music icon and Stimela frontman Ray Phiri snags young bride

Ray Phiri, 69, put the lyrics of his iconic song Whispers In The Deep into practice when he got hitched for the third time in his life a fortnight ago.

Some of the lyrics in the popular song say “phinda mzala”, loosely translated meaning “do it again”.

The madala tied the knot with his Venda sweetheart Rabelani Mulaudzi, 24, in a low-key traditional wedding held in Tshisauli village in Venda.ray-phiri-marries-jpg1a

Phiri, who is 45 years older than Mulaudzi, declined to comment on his nuptial.

“Who are you and what gives you the right to talk to me? I don’t want to talk to you, thank you,” he said.

Mulaudzi confirmed she wedded the dance wizard but refused to answer further questions about her pregnancy and the wedding ceremony.

“No no no, I don’t want to talk about my marriage. Where did you get my number from? I’m not willing to talk openly about my marriage. I don’t want to sound rude to you but I’m gonna get off the phone if you keep asking me questions about my marriage,” she said when probed.

News that the former Stimela band member was chugging down the panties of a woman 45 years his junior was revealed by musicians close to him.

One musician, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Phiri and Mulaudzi got hitched after dating for almost two years.

The musician said the two met at one of Phiri’s concerts in Mpumalanga early last year.

The artist said it was love at first sight and the two immediately started dating.

Another musician said Phiri decided to tie the knot with Mulaudzi after knocking her up.

“She was pregnant when they got married and they are expecting a kid,” he said.

The musician said this will be Phiri’s third marriage.

His first wife Daphney died in a car accident in Barberton in Mpumalanga in 2003.

Phiri was travelling on a gravel road when the vehicle overturned several times, instantly killing his wife.

His second wife Phumzile died of anemia last year.

source:ngwakom@sundayworld.co.za

ALL FEMALE ENSEMBLE SHINES AT ALBUM LAUNCH

Nobuntu "Ekhaya" album launch in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (pic by Multimedia Box)

Nobuntu “Ekhaya” album launch in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (pic by Multimedia Box)

 

 

Imbube (accappella) female ensemble Nobuntu delivered an inspired music and dance set this past week on the back of their world tour that saw them perform in Austria, Germany, Canada amongst a few others. The group has performed to hundreds of adoring fans who cannot get enough of the female vocal ensemble’s inspired vocalising steeped in traditional Nguni harmonies and traditions. As an imbube group,Nobuntu, which began its journey a few years ago under the creative direction of Dumisani ‘Ramadu’ Moyo is growing in terms of influence having had a video of one of their songs ‘Narini’ top the Zambezi Magic Top ten Zimbabwe videos on DSTV.Nobuntu was also nominated for Best Musician of the year in 2015 at the Zimbabwe International Women Awards 2015. Ekhaya is their second album and it marks growth for the ensemble showcasing their strongest vocal lineup to date in Zanele Manhenga,Joyline Sibanda,Heather Dube, Duduzile Sibanda and Thandi. A few days ago Nobuntu delivered a well received show in the country’s second largest city in an event that marks the beginning of their national tour.The event had the sizeable multi-hued audience celebrating the cultural pride this group exhibited. Nobuntu tour will culminate in a tour of Italy (Interview and album review to follow)

Rising African comic Keith Nkosi

keith nkosi – photo by Multimedia Box

Keith Nkosi has starred at the Live & Fluid a Culture Beat Africa Multimedia multi-genre arts showcase in Zimbabwe in 2015 amongst many other national and regional platforms.He gave an inspired performance that had audiences tickled by the sardonic wit of the Namibian University performing arts major. Keith is funny to a fault..the thinking man’s comic in the mould of a David Chappelle or a Trevor Noah. In this interview with CBA he talks about his journey to date:

CBA: Keith your journey in comedy begins when ?

Keith Nkosi: It begun in 2010 in Namibia when I did a comedy show Think out loud for my 4year drama project at the University of Namibia.

CBA : As an African comic what do find is the role of Comedy in Africa?

Keith Nkosi: The role of comedy in Africa is a   transformation ,social and political, and marketing  tool..we transforming Africa from the dark continent into a black conscious continent.

CBA: What are some of you most memorable comedy highlights?

Keith Nkosi: My memorable comedy night is when  is when I did a show dubbed ZimAssets2million jokes…I felt I was using the power of spoken word to push the edge  cause a lot of Zim comics are scared to touch on political subjects.

CBA: What’s funny right now?

Keith Nkosi: Whats  funny right now is we still believe in politicians

CBA: Do you think therefore that when it comes to politicians they are fair game for your material?

Keith Nkosi: I have always worshipped satirical comedy and politics  and satire comedy  it’s a gold mine for any comedian any day.

CBA: What are your thoughts bout Africa?

Keith Nkosi: Africa is work in progress , the sooner we realise our worth the better.

On the business of comedy

CBA: Are you monetized?

Keith Nkosi: Currently am still tryna figure out my value in figures

CBA: Why is that the case ?

Keith Nkosi: It’s because am still teaching people about the product called Keith ..early adopters  have received pretty well now my target is to reach the late adopters

CBA: Can you eat from comedy and how is the African comedy sector?

Keith Nkosi: Comedy is taking over Africa. Once one is in the right space and time the bank balance will tell the story.

CBA: Your thoughts on Trey noah’s cross border hustle?

Keith Nkosi: Noah has set the bar high for African comedians and made us believe we can penetrate mature comedy markets.

CBA: You left Zim..why ? Were your reasons social , economic or political?

Keith Nkosi: I left Zim because of I wanted to explore  beyond Zim comedy Culture.

CBA: Where are you at right now ?

Keith Nkosi: I’m in SA pushing keeping my eye on Zim..When I was the first comedian to perform on live and fluid ..I was used to performing with other comedians in a safe comedy environment.

CBA: Yes you held your own and thrilled the audience that night.

On inspiration

CBA: Your top inspiration ? In terms of comics who inspired or still inspires you?

Keith Nkosi: Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock

CBA: Life in the hood…?  What got you laughing? What made you say you could do this?

Keith Nkosi: And in the hood what got us laughing was the encounter we had with police, we strived to outsmart police cause that was yardstick.What made think I could do this it’s the ghetto culture that we born to entertain and our ticket out of the ghetto  is perceived  as entertainment than education.

Crazy hood moment

Keith Nkosi: When I was involuntarily  turned into a Jazz man (local slang for drug pusher)  by my friend , when he ran away from the police and left me with weed I didn’t know of….

CBA: Hood living is crazy ain’t it?

CBA: How did you make it out of one of the toughest ghettoes in Zimbabwe anyway ?

Keith Nkosi: I made it out of the toughest ghetto  through education  which demystify the perception that only entertainment can make you in the ghetto.

CBA: But the weed story is funny and you almost went to “college” (prison) because of it…were it not for your grandma. What did she do that got you out ?

Keith Nkosi: My granny brought all my certificates  junior school high school and university. She told police that i am an astute citizen and too cool for weed pushing.  and that with my level of education maybe if they had accused me of fraud she would understand though it was a desperate measure cause a lot of grads in Zim have been reduced to dealers and vendors.

On family support

CBA: What’s the level of family support for your comedic efforts.?

Keith Nkosi: When I went to University  I was supposd to study B.com Economics .I changed programs to Arts because of the influence Amokhosi Cultural Centre and the streets had on me. So for a year my family didn’t know what I was studying and even now some of my family members don’t know what I studied even if I have told them it’s a BA  honors in performing Arts…You know family wanna brag about accountant doctors and lawyers.

CBA: Looking back how do you feel about the decision you made?

Keith Nkosi: It’s a tough decision moving from a place where I was somebody   now I am no one.

CBA: Yah

Keith Nkosi: After appearing on newspapers my family’s support grew cause thy now knew what I’m about and ain’t no doctors or accountants that just make news unless if something gone wrong.

CBA: Lastly, there are reports that Carl Joshua Ncube is relocating to S.A.. What’s your take on the subject?

Keith Nkosi: I think Carl has realised that we are limited as comedians in Zim by things beyond our scope…

CBA:If you were to meet say president Mugabe , what would you say to him?

Keith Nkosi :If I met the President  I will thank him for contributing to my desire to do comedy.

 

Six questions for African beauty queen

Miss Africa Zim

Miss Africa Zim

Maita Kainga (MK) is a 21 year old feisty economics major with one of Zimbabwe’s Midlands State University.On the 27th of May 2016, her life changed. Standing regal and glamorous on the podium at the end of a closely fought contest,she was crowned the inaugural Miss Africa Zimbabwe in an glittering affair held in the famous city of Kings and Queens (Bulawayo, which happens to be Zimbabwe’s second largeat city) CBA held an interview with the confident and articulate Maita to sound her out.

Was this your first attempt at a pageant?

MK:I have done a couple of pageants. Only mention a few I participated in Miss Word Zimbabwe in 2014 and was crowned people’s choice and also participated in carnival 2014 and made it to the top 8.

You seemed so poised and confident..did you expect to win the contest?

MK: If I said I expected to win that would be very inaccurate lol but i wanted to win and kept picturing myself in the crown. I worked very hard prior the pageant when I was crowned I was more than happy to have accomplished my goal.

What’s your idea of African beauty?

MK: My idea of African beauty is being completely fortied in who we are as Africans and being proud to carry the title of an African, Not ashamed to exude the rich culture nd diversity we have as African.

What do think about the idea that some have that beauty contests demean women?

MK: That idea I would say is quite primitive. Beauty pageants create exposure for women,opportunities get to know yourself as a woman and as an individual. It creates a platform for women to acknowledge themselves as who they truly are and appreciate and love their uniqueness thus building the inner man and over all confidence. Modeling helps a woman brand herself accordingly.Not to mention the lessons learnt on the decorum of a woman. These are all vital lessons that we cannot achieve elsewhere in one package as how modeling does.

What’s the next step for you ?

MK: I have been given the splendid opportunity of going to the international stage as the Zimbabwean representative for Miss Africa where I will compete for the Miss Africa title.

Have you received your prizes ?

Maita Miss Africa Zim: We are awaiting a prize ceremony that will be occurring very soon.

South African Music Awards : Africa’s biggest music awards ?

black coffee

2016 SAMAs winner DJ Black Coffee

South Africa is undoubtedly Africa’s biggest economy with many multinational companies and global brands having made the bee line to invest in the country since 1994 when it surrendered its apartheid shackles. Since then, Mzansi culture (as South Africa is affectionately known) has come to dominate African popular culture owing to the rise of the digital satellite platform as rendered by Multichoice Africa. Millions of viewers on the continent are treated to daily doses of South African content showcasing celebrities such as Bonang Matheba(television presenter) and the likes of AKA (hip hop star). Right across Africa, with Naija celebrities in tow, Mzansi celebrities have captured the popular imagination so much so that there is now an abiding interest in what happens in that country’s entertainment scene. Saturday night no different.

Mzansi celebs and their African colleagues made their way to Durban ICC to attend the glittering 2016 SAMA Awards on a night that saw the likes of rapper EMTEE (2 SAMA Awards) (pictured) globally rising DJ Black Coffee (3 SAMA Awards) and the Lance Stehr handled Nathi   (5 SAMA Awards) won big at the awards 22nd edition.Black Coffee was also awarded the International Achievement Award at the event.

Lifetime Achievement awards were given to Roger Lucey‚ the late EMTEEBhekumuzi Luthuli and the late Nana Coyote.

Hip-hop artist Emtee‚ who scooped four awards at the recent Metro FM Music Awards‚ continued his dominance at local music awards with two major wins at the SAMAs‚ including awards for Best Rap Album and the prestigious Record of the Year Award.

Mzansi hip hop newbie continued the purple patch he struck at the Metro FM Music awards and Emtee pipped a galaxy of contenders namely AKA (Baddest/ All Eyes on Me)‚  K.O (Skhanda Love)‚  Black Coffee (We Dance Again)‚Prince Kaybee (Better Days)‚ Riky Rick (Boss Zonke) and Four7 (J’Adore) Nathi Mankayi (Nomvula)‚ Timo OVD (Save Me) to snag the Record of the Year gong. Mzansi pop culture threatens to dominate African urban culture in much the same the US has done with global pop culture. Nigeria is not too far behind and some will argue that these two African economic giants stand side by side. Naija artists such as Psquare and Dbanj have growing global name recognition. With over a billion plus citizens, the stakes are high for African artists jostling to make their cross border hustle pay.

Here is a list of some the winners:

Amstel Record of the year

Roll Up by Emtee

Album of the Year

Black Coffee  – Pieces of Me

Best Rap Album

Emtee – Avery

Duo or Group of the Year

Big Nuz – For the Fans

Female Artist of the Year

Zonke – Work of Heart

Best R&B/Soul/Reggae Album 

Nathi – Buyelekhaya

Male Artist of the Year

Nathi – Buyelekhaya

Newcomer of the Year

Nathi – Buyelekhaya

Best Kwaito Album (Brought to you by Ukhozi FM)

Big Nuz – For the Fans

Best Rock Album       

Desmond & the Tutus – Enjoy Yourself

Best Pop Album 

Tresor – VII

Best Dance Album  

Black Coffee – Pieces of Me

Beste Pop Album (Afrikaans)

Karlien van Jaarsveld – My Hartjie

Best Adult Contemporary Album   

Judith Sephuma – One Word

Beste Kontemporêre Musiek Album

Elvis Blue – Êrens in die Middel van Nêrens

Best African Adult Album  

Dizu Plaatjies & Friends – Ubuntu – The Common String

Best Alternative Album 

Petite Noir – La Vie Est Belle/Life is Beautiful

Best Traditional Faith Music Album 

TYGC Family – The Journey Begins

Best Contemporary Faith Music Album    

Ntokozo Mbambo – Spirit and Life

Best Maskandi Album

Imithente – Ichakijana

Best Jazz Album

Marcus Wyatt & the ZAR – One Night in the Sun Jazz Orchestra

Best Classical and/or Instrumental Album

Wouter Kellerman – Love Language

Best Live Audiovisual Recording

Jimmy Dludlu – Live at Emperors Palace

Best Collaboration

Dbn Nyts ft. Zinhle Ngidi – Shumaya & Trademark

Best Music Video of the Year

Jack Parow & Freshly Ground Army of One

Best Produced Album of the Year

Zahara – Country Girl

Best Engineered Album of the Year

Black Coffee – Pieces of Me

Best Remix of the Year

DJ Sliqe – Do Like I Do Remix

 

Special Awards

International Achievement Award – Black Coffee

Lifetime Achievement Awards (Brought to you by Telkom)– Nana Coyote (posthumous award), Bhekumuzi Luthuli (posthumous award), Roger Lucey

Best Selling Albums and Music Downloads of the Year

Best Selling Album – Nathi (Buyelekhaya)

Best Selling DVD – Joyous Celebration (Volume 19: Back to the Cross)

Best Selling Overall Music Download – Sfiso Ncwane (Bayede Baba)

Best Selling Music Download (Ring-back Tone) – Sfiso Ncwane (Bayede Baba)

Best Selling Full-track Music Download – Nathi (Nomvula)

Sampra Award

Highest Radio Airplay of the Year – DBN Nyts (Shumaya)

Samro Award

Highest Radio Airplay Composers’ Award – Samkele Maphumulo, Kabelo Masekane, Cebo Ngcobo, Wanda Shabalala and Lwazi Yokwana for Shumaya by Dbn Nyts

Capasso Award

Best Selling Digital Download Composers’ Award – Sfiso Ncwane (Bayede Baba)