My People and Water

AmaReflections

MY PEOPLE AND WATER

Like all kids growing up in a semi-rural space, most of our games took place by the river. This is quite evident in most of our repertoires and river songs. Alongside us playing by the river, we were also told numerous stories about gigantic creatures that lived in the river, most of our cleansing rituals took place by the river and even the famous ‘ukweshela’ took place by the river.

During the mid to late 80s violence in KwaZulu Natal my family moved from Emaqongqo to a village called Emgodini in Pietermariztburg.

Emgodini literally looked like a hole between mountains, there was a special presence in this village. Our temporary home was built not far from the river banks of Umsunduzi which meant as children we would be spending most of our playing time by the river.

On a beautiful summer day, I thought I had…

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Changing Reels Ep. 14 – Upstream Color

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Cinema Axis

Upstream-Color

In episode 14 of Changing Reels, we dive into Shane Carruth’s experimental science fiction drama Upstream Color. The film is a love story revolving around two individual who find themselves inexplicably drawn together after being the victim of an unthinkable crime. Exploring themes of memory and identity, and featuring brilliant sound design, there is plenty to discuss in this film. As is custom, we also take a few minutes to highlight our two short film picks of the week: Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi’s Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo and Alberto Roldán’s everything & everything & everything

Changing Reels is hosted by the fine folks at Modern Superior. We would also love it if you could take a moment to rate our show on iTunes! Every bit of listener feedback not only helps us reach a larger audience, but also helps us to make the show…

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In praise of wisdom

“Now unto what under the heavens shall wisdom be compared? It is sweeter than honey, and it maketh one to rejoice more than wine, and it illumineth more than the sun, and it is to be loved more than precious stones. And it fatteneth more than oil, and it satisfieth more than dainty meats, and it giveth [a man] more renown than thousands of gold and silver.

It is a source of joy for the heart, and a bright and shining light for the eyes, and a giver
of speed to the feet, and a shield for the breast, and a helmet for the head, and
chain-work for the neck, and a belt for the loins. It maketh the ears to hear and
hearts to understand, it is a teacher of those who are learned, and it is a consoler of
those who are discreet and prudent, and it giveth fame to those who seek after it.
And as for a kingdom, it cannot stand without wisdom, and riches cannot be
preserved without wisdom; the foot cannot keep the p. 22place wherein it hath set
itself without wisdom. And without wisdom that which the tongue speaketh is not
acceptable.

Wisdom is the best of all treasures. He who heapeth up gold and silver
doeth so to no profit without wisdom, but he who heapeth up wisdom—no man can
filch it from his heart. That which fools heap up the wise consume. And because of
the wickedness of those who do evil the righteous are praised; and because of the
wicked acts of fools the wise are beloved. Wisdom is an exalted thing and a rich
thing: I will love her like a mother, and she shall embrace me like her child.

I will follow the footprints of wisdom and she shall protect me for ever; I will seek after
wisdom, and she shall be with me for ever; I will follow her footprints, and she shall
not cast me away; I will lean upon her, and she shall be unto me a wall of adamant; I
will seek asylum with her, and she shall be unto me power and strength; I will rejoice
in her, and she shall be unto me abundant grace. For it is right for us to follow the
footprints of wisdom, and for the soles of our feet to stand upon the threshold of the
gates of wisdom.

Let us seek her, and we shall find her; let us love her, and she will
not withdraw herself from us; let us pursue her, and we shall overtake her; let us ask,
and we shall receive; and let us turn our hearts to her so that we may never forget
her. If [we] remember her, she will have us in remembrance; and in connection with
fools thou shalt not remember wisdom, for they do not hold her in honour, and she
doth not love them. The honouring of wisdom is the honouring of the wise man, and
the loving of wisdom is the loving of the wise man. Love the wise man and withdraw
not thyself from him, and by the sight of him thou shalt become wise; hearken to the
utterance of his mouth, so that thou mayest become like unto him; watch the place
whereon he hath set his foot, and leave him not, so that thou mayest receive the
remainder of his wisdom. And I love him merely on p. 23hearing concerning him and
without seeing him, and the whole story of him that hath been told me is to me as the
desire of my heart, and like water to the thirsty man.”

– Queen of Sheba praising Wisdom in the Kebra Nagast

Inspired By The Living Road

Everybody gets the Blues! This is what I thought this morning, while driving to BK bookbinders to print yet another batch of my book Rock ‘n Rule – I was listening to one of my many mix-tapes ( I never can decide what to listen to so I decided to put it all into either mix-tapes /Compact Discs or in a USB ).

Between the Hip Hop,  Reggae-Dub, Jazz, Afro-Fusion and Rhythm&Blues,one can never be done with these labels, these boxes; there came along songs by such artists as Msaki and The Golden Circle and the indomitable and deeply engaging voice of Lhasa de Sela; The Mexican-Canadian artist was introduced to me by a very intelligent and eclectic Romanian ex-girlfriend a couple of years ago. I am yet to thank her for this and many other indelible gifts she may not be aware that she bestowed upon me. Only the music lives to tell the soundtrack of the journey.

Now, I am working on a film project about the Life and Dreams of an intriguing friend of mine and I am actively listening for Soundtracks or Cinematic music to fit with the spirit and images of this quasi-magical project. Hearing Lhasa’s song My Name, this morning got me so very inspired, I almost did not reach my initial destination. All I wanted to do was park by the roadside and somehow register this light-bulb moment, perhaps match the song with some of the images and texts that we have already put together.

Lhasa sings with such melancholic surrender and the musicians accompanying her carry her lovelorn tales with dexterous precision. The music is at once very modern or electronic based, yet remains decidedly grounded in the minimalist genius of the individual players.

Such is the power of music. We have even considered making the film project a sort of tapestry of sounds, scenes that a woven together in such a way that they form a coherently multi-storied collage. But let me not give away too much. I am now listening to Blue Note recording artist Lionel Loueke’s Heritage project, a swooning and magnificent project, co-produced by pianist/keyboardist Robert Glasper. Yet again, my ‘scatter-brained’ Self discovered Loueke’s Karibu album, another ‘gift’ from a friend who called Osmosis Liza, who is actually involved in the film project.

By sheer coincidence, (If we can call these strings of serendipitous incidents coincidences), Karibu contains a version of Naima, the John Coltrane song I recently told the lady who is the main subject of the project that I wanted to include in the Soundtrack. This is the difficulty with labeling music. This version of Loueke’s version of Naima is so string laden, electric and expansive, it is only the clarinetist and bassist who make it vaguely recognizable, yet somehow this now seems to be the perfect fit for this Afrocentric tale that we are trying to tell.

Here are the Lyrics to the Lhasa song that captured my imagination; I so hope that one can obtain the Rights to use it once the whole film is ready for Production etc:

Lhasa de Sela – My name (The Living Road 2003)

Why don’t you ask me How long I’ve been waiting / Set down on the road With the gunshots exploding / I’m waiting for you In the gloom and the blazing / I’m waiting for you I sing like a slave / I know I should know better / I’ve learned all my lessons / Right down to the letter / And still I go on like this Year after year / Waiting for miracles And shaking with fear /

Why don’t you answer /Why don’t you come save me / Show me how to use All these things that you gave me / Turn me inside out So my bones can save me / Turn me inside out You’ve come this close/  You can come even closer / The gunshots get louder / And the world spins faster /And things just get further And further apart / The head from the hands And the hands from the heart /

One thing that’s true Is the way that I love him / The earth down below And the sky up above him / And still I go on like this Day after day Still I go on like this / Now I’ve said this I already feel stronger / I can’t keep waiting for you Any longer / I need you now not someday When I’m ready /Come down on the road Come down on the road

My name, my name Nothing is, nothing is the same / And I won’t go back the way I came My name, my name Nothing is the same “

The sadness and the sheer Blues of these lyrics and the way the late Canadian-Mexican singer carries it just grabs at the heartstrings and will not let go until the last phrase.

Sisonke Xonti’s Iyonde and the death of the South African music press

sisgwenjazz

Stats for this blog tell me that far fewer of you read the album reviews than anything else I write. So why do I keep on reviewing? Because there has to be a record…

Single narratives are dangerous. If standing over the stinking Bell Pottinger sinkhole observing the pathetic parade of ostensibly smart people snorting their poison has taught us nothing else, it should have taught us that.

So the Gadarene rush of the South African press towards one narrative about music shouldn’t just depress us, as it has been doing for a while. It should seriously worry us. The Saturday Star 48 Hours finally jumped over that cliff last weekend, with a brash, shallow ‘lifestyle’ supplement replacing an already diminished, one-size-fits-all, syndicated copy-dominated, insert. M&GFriday and City Press #Trending survive. Both are now significantly smaller than they used to be, with many potential stories and some whole arts…

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Decolonisation: Taxonomy, Epistemology and Technology Indirections

Zulumathabo on the Internet 2.0

I have just uploaded an abstract based on my scholarly paper Decolonisation: Taxonomy, Epistemology and Technology Indirections. The paper was a keynote address lecture at the Sociological Association of South Africa at the North West University – Mafikeng. The paper tackles the difficult question of the African knowledge being excluded from the official curriculum in South Africa despite the country attaining a democratic rule since 1994. Twenty three years have come and gone and the officialdom has not found an inventive solution to the problem of African knowledge exclusion from the official curriculum.

You can read the abstract at Academia.Edu and even comment on it.

All Giza Pyramids

Alternatively read PDF here:

Decolonisation and technology indirections

 

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Whither The Afrikan Renaissance?

Decolonisation: Taxonomy, Epistemology and Technology Indirections
By Zulumathabo Zulu © 2017
Abstract
The current official curriculum of South Africa has no relevance to the African experience in the various knowledge domains like mathematics, science, philosophy and methods of knowledge.

Thislack of curriculum relevance to the African phenomenon suggests some epistemic, paradigmatic and methodological gaps with respect to the existing body of knowledge. Moreover, the phenomenon of the #FeesMustFall student movement that began in South Africa in 2015, foregrounds the fact that the official curriculum is neither reflective nor responsive to the dialectical urgency of the African students whose cultural background is premised on the ethno-pluralistic schemata of African origin of knowledge.

This scholarly paper, using ethnographic and literature review research, investigates the non-Eurocentric methods used by the Africans to produce new forms of knowledge. It is shown, herein, that the erudite ancestors of the present-day Africans possessed a vast array of knowledge and discursive schemata which made them pioneers, in their own right, in the scientific areas such as chemistry, cosmology, engineering, therapeutics and philosophy.

In addition to the above, the Africans boasted literary and oral cultures that allowed them to produce superior works of knowledge and art contrary to the Europeans, such as George Hegel and others, who dismissed the African natives as being devoid of any knowledge producing capacities.