I asked an awkward question in a packed lecture theatre at university once. Our Media studies advertising course had a guest lecturer, a creative type from an advertising agency who had spent years in the industry and had won lots of awards and been all over the world stoking his creative light and generally spinning words into gold for a hideous number of international brands.
The lecture itself was fascinating – I still reference his witty and cynical take on product differentiation to this day – and I remember I was so engrossed in what he had to say that it seemed like mere moments before he was done with the presentation and it was question time.
Several people asked the usual – how to get into the industry, whether he had ever used drugs, how did he feel about advertising from a moral point of view. Then I raised my hand, opened my mouth and said something horribly, horribly vulgar – “How much can we expect to earn?” Everyone stared.
He moved from one leg to the other nervously twiddling his chalk and told me that, well, most people didn’t go into advertising to get rich but because they had a passion for the job and that if that was the kind of way we wanted to approach the industry than we probably wouldn’t get very far. But, to answer the question, it might begin as low as R2000 and we would have to slowly work our way to the top. I sat there mortified and outraged.
Mortified, because of the, oh, hundreds of minds simultaneously churning around me – “…howrudehowrudehowrudehowrudehowrudehowrude…”
Outraged because I was trapped in a room with those same minds to which it had never occurred to interrogate this language of so-called passion because they had never been in the position to test whether passion actually pays the bills.
There is something which we were not taught in school, our generation. The more people I meet, the more I lament this. Paradigms.
The consciousness that we each possess a world-view that is not necessarily universally true just because it is true to us.
The knowledge that others do not live as we live or think as we think.
The understanding that what we hold to be sacrosanct is not equally divine to others because they may have other things to worry about.
From all the people I have met in what I call the third sphere of society, the middle classes, I have seldom met anyone who ventures out of their cosy middle-class world-view long enough to realise that some people are too poor to afford to be passionate.
Strange. But true. See, the unspoken assumption of our gentleman lecturer was that everyone in that lecture theatre came from homes where the only people they owed anything to were themselves. He assumed that everyone in that lecture theatre had homes. He assumed that we all were just embarking on the great unfettered adventures of our lives as he had been at our age.
All from homes not too rich and not too poor, with no dependents, no 12-member families relying on us to dredge them from poverty. No twisting emptiness in our stomachs because we hadn’t eaten that day. No 2-hour walks home alone in the dark because we didn’t have the R3.50 to take the skidonky bhopopo bus. No pressing realisation that, before some of us could even begin to consider those things they call “dreams” and this thing they call “passion”, we would first have to come to grips with that thing they call “staying alive”.
Some people are too poor and too poorly schooled to speak of passion.
Passion is a terribly cruel and terribly powerful figment of mass bourgeois imagination. Passion is a tyrant.
When you apply for funding, when you go for a job interview, when you enter a competition, your words, your actions mean nothing to most people unless you mention that secret password, “passion”.
You must say, I am passionate about this idea, I am passionate about your company, I am passionate about selling massive amounts of useless junk to people who don’t really have the means to buy it by telling them that it will make them better mothers, or manlier men, or cooler youths, or simply better human beings.
I have middle-class friends. They may find this offensive because, well, they can’t be blamed for the fact that they were born into privilege and they can’t be expected to apologise for the fact that their parents worked hard to send them to decent schools, and, sorry, but they really resent what I am saying, they disagree because – no, because, no, I really must let them finish, LET THEM FINISH, right, thank you. What they were saying is, is that I, I do not understand what I am talking about, I do not know what I am talking about in fact let’s just leave it, let’s just stop this conversation here right now…
Don’t get me wrong. All of my middle-class friends are fine, noble and up-standing people from whom I have learnt much. Conscious people, who read Biko and pay their taxes and register to vote on time. And give to charity and join civil organizations and admire advocates of human rights. They worry about global warming and tweet about politics and learn several languages and broaden their minds through travel whenever they can. My middle-class friends want to make South Africa great, they want to change the world, want to spark the revolution, be the revolution, televise the revolution, tweet the revolution, look back at the revolution and wonder if it was worth the revolution.
I have a suspicion though. A terrible, horrible, no-good suspicion, that it takes more than just going to school to secure your future because you need to have an education which is the key to success to actually succeed. Oh no. I profoundly suspect that it takes much more than that.
South African rappers Slikour and Kwesta have remixed the massive hit Otis, a song originally done by The Throne duo Kanye West and Jay Z off of their new album Watch the Throne.
It takes a lot of guts to remix a Kanye West and Jay Z song, especially one like Otis . Naturally, the first thing anyone will do is compare the two versions.
Personally, I don’t believe they could ever match up to, let alone eclipse the original. They tried to escape this comparison to the original by attempting to localise the song making reference to Ekurhuleni and using vernacular language, I still don’t think it worked though.
One thing that hit me about the remix however; are Slikour and Kwesta trying to draw parallels between themselves and the American rappers Kanye West and Jay Z with the song? Are they trying to say they are South Africa’s version of the throne ? I am not sure.
Take a listen to the song here and tell me what you think of the song.
The document on organisational renewal prepared for the 2010 National General Council reads: “since its founding in 1912, the ANC has place a strong premium on the pivotal role of unity within its ranks. This unity was built on a culture of debate and discussion, and the commitment of everyone to implement decisions once they are taken. The unity of the ANC was also seen as important to the broader task of unity in action amongst the motive forces, in addition to pursuing the widest possible unity amongst those struggling for a better life.”
When President Jacob Zuma led delegates on a rendition of “Oliver Tambo lala ngoxolo” (Oliver Tambo rest in peace) in Polokwane 2007, pundits commented that the new leader was confirming that democracy and debate had prevailed and unity in the movement was cemented.
Many are not sure anymore because it would seem like both leadership of the ANC and the youth league, at some point, miscalculated the political fallout that could result from their latest public spat that involves disciplinary charges against Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu.
The incumbent leadership of both structures has failed to learn that the historically radical character of the youth league could be a double-edged sword if not handled correctly and with caution.
The manner in which both the party and the youth league reacted to their differences of opinion in the public arena has landed itself to a theater of speculations, bringing the party deeper into disrepute, while weakening the principle of unity.
Speculation is abound that at the end of the drama, Jacob Zuma would either be recalled or re-elected as party leader for the second term, while Julius Malema would either be gunning for presidency of the mother body or going straight to jail. So says the commentators and analysts across the mediascape, and it is undeniable that the rumour mill would be fed for a long time to come.
What is even more frightening is that Malema and Shivambu are dealt with as if they are factional leaders within the movement who were speaking on behalf of a faction, and not as elected leaders of an official structure which articulates the positions of a collective.
The secondary allegation that both Malema and Shivambu “sow divisions” within the party further attests to this observation. And even if such suspicions might appear to be valid, it would be shaky to take an official decision on those grounds.
A party document in 1997 reads: “The ANC has leadership collectives, instead of a single leader, at all levels of organization…The constitution sets out the powers of each of these structures and they are expected to operate as a collective…In addition, it means that all members must take responsibility to explain and ensure the implementation of decisions taken by these collectives.
I could be wrong but there seems to be no precedent of such an occurrence – where individual leaders are isolated from the collective – in the party’s 99 year old history, and the move projects the mother body leadership itself as acting in the interest of a faction that seeks to deal with another using organisational authority. At best it raises unavoidable questions about the motives behind the charges.
In Zuma and Malema the public sees two comrades who not long ago were willing to pay the highest price in the struggle for each other, but now find themselves in a difficult position as their opponents and detractors have succeeded to pit them against each other.
By Moyagabo Maake and Siphiliselwe Makhanya
Business heavyweights descended on Vodacom World in Midrand last week to witness two women being awarded the title of the Businesswoman of the year.
The award, which is a partnership between the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa and commercial banker Nedbank, has been honouring South Africa’s outstanding businesswomen since 1980.
Vying for the honours in the entrepreneurship category were:
In the corporate category were:
The judging was very difficult in the entrepreneurship category this year, according to judge Danisa Baloyi.
“All of them fought for survival through these difficult times and none of them are in the red. None of them are struggling financially,” Baloyi said.
The winners were announced after performances by poet Don Mattera and crooner Loyiso Bala, as well as speeches by Businesswomen’s Association president Kunyala Maphisa, Nedbank chief executive Mike Brown, and chief executive of headline sponsor Telkom, Nombulelo Moholi.
Nondumiso Mzizana took the entrepreneurship award, while Philisiwe Buthelezi executed a victory dance on her way to the stage – as her supporters cheered from the floor – to collect the corporate award.
On why Mzizana won, Baloyi said that she hated that the focus was on the winners that night, as all the women in the entrepreneurship category were exceptional and met all the criteria for the award. It came down to focus.
The problem with business people was that they want to be “all over the place”, Baloyi continued.
Mzizana was focused, which differentiated her from the other finalists.
“When asked what else she’d be doing, she said ‘this thing, because I’m experienced…this is what I know’,” Baloyi said.
On Buthelezi, corporate judge Boni Dibate said Buthelezi had created a lot of work for other women, appointing them as managers as well as board members.
“She does a lot of work in Africa, even in France. In fact, she speaks French fluently,” Dibate said.
While writing this piece, I racked my brain trying to think of some prominent South African female entrepreneurs. Powerful, wealthy women who have achieved immense success in the business world, but I struggled for the most part. It then dawned on me on how the vicious cycle just keeps repeating itself: our lack of female entrepreneurs is not motivating, encouraging and inspiring enough young women to pursue businesses. I could think of a lot of American female movers and shakers (thanks largely to reality television), but not enough female South Africans.
According to a “State of Entrepreneurship in South Africa” report released by Endeavor in conjunction with FNB last year, most female entrepreneurs in South Africa seem to be lifestyle and not high-impact entrepreneurs. The assumption that the report found is that men entrepreneurs can focus on their businesses more than women entrepreneurs who tend to have multiple commitments to balance in their lives.
Some of the reasons mentioned in the study for the gap between men and women in entrepreneurship are women’s propensities to: want to spend more time with their families, want to avoid the stress of employing too many people, have less education, and experience more difficulty accessing capital due to marriage contract formulations.
Dr. Joe Rubino, who is an internationally acclaimed self-esteem expert and success coach, believes that self-esteem could also get in the way of business success. He believes that self-esteem is the cause for success, although he does have dissidents against him who claim that self-esteem is the product of success – but that’s new-age rhetoric.
When it comes to entrepreneurship, I have to agree with Dr. Rubino to a certain extent. It takes a lot of courage and self-belief to start a business and keep it going, and living in a patriarchal world has robbed some women of their self-worth through the amount of emotional, physical and sexual abuse that women face every minute of the day.
Not to be a complete downer, females are making inroads – but is that enough? Earlier this year FNB and Wits Business School released a White Paper on female entrepreneurship and found that up to 38% of all established businesses are owned by women and that more than 25% of these are making in excess of R750,000 a year. The research also found that the general age of business owners was 35 and most of the start-ups businesswomen were black. The research also showed that a lot more women were choosing to start a business even though they had other options. So, clearly there is hope but there is still a lot more to be done.
But it’s not all doom and gloom – in Part Two of this piece, I look at my favourite female entrepreneurs. Who are yours?
Calls for an economic Codesa come at a time when business seems vulnerable to talks about the nationalisation of strategic economic sectors and the expropriation of land without compensation. A debate which many sought to undermine in its infancy had suddenly grown into an imposing giant, threatening to wipe out the interests of the economically powerful.
When Julius Malema first learnt to pronounce the word “nationalisation,” the captains of the industry looked the other way and asked: “What debate?” “There is no debate on nationalisation,” they said. A cabinet minister came out guns blazing. “In my lifetime there will be no nationalisation of mines,” said Susan Shabangu, “maybe when I’m dead, and rest assured I’m not dying next week.”
Since the ANC youth league national conference in June reaffirmed Malema’s leadership and support, business and its allies have been peddling hard to gain ground that was lost. Now we could all agree that business is on a back foot and it is from within this context that we should understand recent calls for an economic Codesa.
Empowerment charter policies are collecting dust in the large offices of big business and as Jimmy Manyi once observed, transformation could have for a long time been the last item in the agenda at board meetings, discussed when everyone is packing their bags to go home.
But some have said that the best way to defend a revolution is to deepen it. So, those who eye an economic Codesa as a means to mining historically unprecedented compromises out of enterprise capitalism and market fundamentalism are not entirely wrong in their view.
It is also true that this conversation should happen against the background of the recent failures of globalisation and capitalism, but my fear is that such arguments, while valid, would run into a train smash of ideological cacophony. Some amongst us would chant market fundamentalism even when the bullet that is about to rip through their skull had those words engraved on it.
The first question one may ask then is whether it would be reasonable to discuss economic freedom outside of the political freedom that was gained in 1994, when millions of our people won the privilege to determine and influence policy, including economic policy, at a party political level and within the ambit of the constitution.
It would be totally unreasonable to usurp the hard won privilege of the poor at the whim of a cosmetic talk shop likely to be dominated by the interests of the new and old elite and consequently render the poor spectators in their own struggle.
Seventeen years after democracy the poor of this country have learnt the hard way that the word “miracle” does not exist in politics, thus they have taken back to the streets in protests. It has been noted that a major weakness of the poor in SA has been their inability to harness the popular power that comes with an electoral majority and in the process ceded their rightful stewardship of political dialogue to proponents of elitism and pockets of turncoat revolutionaries.
Thus we have continued to experience in SA what could aptly be described as the “tyranny of an economically dominant minority,” and Julius Malema has brought with him the realisation of what popular power could achieve.
The late struggle stalwart, Harry Gwala, had warned that those who are enjoying the fruits at the top of the tree would always cry foul when those on the ground shake it. They would argue that the tree would fall and everyone would go hungry. Yet they would never admit that they know nothing about hunger or that the fruits could fall on the ground for everybody to share while the tree still remains to produce more.
by Zwanga “Evans” Mukhuthu
Don’t get me wrong, I am FOR funeral services. But brief ones. And there lies the problem. There is no such thing as a brief funeral service; especially amongst us Africans.
I was reminded of this over the weekend when I attended a friend’s funeral. The service started at 07:30 at his home, dragging up until 09:15.
Since he died being popular in the community we went for another service at the community hall and it dragged until 13:00.
It took me almost six hours of gospel to finally put my friend to rest because the ignorant reverend thought he could convince every sinner present at that funeral to come to church the next Sunday and live happily ever after.
I say greedy because the funeral gospel is done under the pretence of giving the departed a clean way to heaven no matter how much of a sinner one was
Where did you ever hear of an African funeral that was hosted without a priest as a result of one having been a bad person in the community? Never! He or she might have been a rapist, killer or a common thief, but they all get decent funeral services presided over by decent reverends.
I’ll tell you; because it’s not in the dead ones’ best interest but the interest of those attending the funeral. And my people don’t know this.
Think about it.
Many people don’t go to church these days. And it is to be assumed that once a priest finds himself in a packed hall of different mix – believers and sinners – he gets a little excited (or maybe not so little.)
My reverend will tell you that no priest likes preaching in a church of 18 members. It is every priest’s dream to preside in front of hundreds of people. Also, the preaching that goes on in these services are not meant or intended for the dead one.
If the person who is dead did not get deliverance while they were still alive, it’s all over for them.
I remember once during a Sunday church ceremony. My reverend was at the altitude of his sermon when he said, “There is no God’s pardon beyond the grave. This (life) is the only chance you’ve got to clear things with God. Do it before it’s too late.”
But why is it that we are now spending long hours in funeral services in the guise that we are preaching for the dead ones, while we all know that their fate has already been decided upon?
There are people who have never set foot in a church building and the reverend knows this well. But what’s a reverend to do when he meets people he knows he will never live to see them in church? He grabs the opportunity with all his arms and legs (I mean he doesn’t preach sitting)
So there you go, my sinning friends
Next time you attend a funeral service and have a loud priest preaching in front of you know that he is talking to you not the guy in the coffin.
The guy in the coffin gave up listening to the reverend a long time ago.
WARNING! WHAT YOU’RE ABOUT TO READ IS A RANT.
On Saturday in a state of bliss I found myself cruising along 4th Avenue in Parkhurst, Johannesburg, looking for the new franchise of the Vevo Telo bakery. If you’ve ever been to Parkhurst you’ll know that the streets that cross the popular strip are neighbour-hoody, so parking is somewhat informal.
So I parked on one of these streets, in a way that didn’t block the driveway of any house – as most sane people would do – for about 15 minutes while I grabbed tea and a blueberry muffin from the bakery.
I returned to find a woman in her 50s approaching my vehicle in the fashion that parking attendants do so that you know that they were watching your car. But before I could step in it, she said: “Where’s my money?”
She went on to say that she, yes, SHE watches all the cars on that specific street.
“Well, good for you,” I thought, as I rolled my eyes.
I slipped into the car and she stood by my window, waiting for “her money”. I stared back in “fake” confusion (I was actually pissed). She crossed the road, sat on her chair and didn’t take her beady, tired eyes off me.
What is this entitlement? How am I held at ransom for not giving her some coins for “watching” my car?
If I had a choice I wouldn’t have parked on the street. I prefer to park in the basement or open parking of a building and pay the R8 flat fee. Instead of parking across the street from an entitled car guard. My car would probably be safer in there too
I pay guards in highly sensitive instances, like in Melville, Johannesburg. Not at shopping centres or car parks that have graced FREE parking upon me.
According to a report by the SA Journal of Human Resource Management, titled Informal Labour Markets as a Solution for Unemployment In South Africa, “the industry started as an alternative source of income for people who were not able to secure employment in the formal sector of the economy.”
Great, I always support economic freedom and the initiative to take the bull by the horns.
But do parking attendants really watch over vehicles, or are they just claiming to?
Exhibit A (and the only one):
“…Not liable for loss and/or damage…”
And then they give us attitude, demanding pay.
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When it comes to jazz musicians, South Africa has produced some of the world’s greats.
Jazz drummer and composer Vusi Khumalo is no exception and he’s recently released his second album Reasons for Seasons, which not only speaks to South African jazz culture, but has taken a global tone.
The album’s release follows his SAMA and Kora-nominated 2000 debut album Follow your Dream. His band Dondo won a SAMA in 2004 for best contemporary jazz.
Khumalo has been hailed as one of the country’s most accomplished jazz drummers by critics. His musical verve is inevitably rooted in jazz music, but he experiments with other genres creating what can be described as world music.
The two-disc album opens with Africa unite, featuring Lebo Mashile with spoken word. In urban poetic prose she calls for Africans to assess their reality as a people, their leaders and to unite.
In the song, Mashile says: “If we knew who we were we’d know who we could be. We’d own the land we live on, our rands and royalties we’d grow the stars we need to guide us, they’d know when to lead and when to leave.”
The album is not solely steeped in jazz – it also borrows from other musical genres such as neo-soul and even Latin-American music.
My Rhythm is an upbeat, feel good track with a hint of salsa, the wind instruments − trumpet, trombone and saxophone come together to create a sound that is reminiscent of Café del Mar. Revered jazz musician Marcus Wyatt also features with an enchanting fugal horn solo.
The title track is rooted in sultry skatting – the story is told in very few words. Vocals by Sipho Nkosiyani and Siya Makhuzeni take the listener on a journey where the story of waiting for life to fall into place is told. The instrumental takes you through different shades − from an upbeat tempo and then back into a delicate mood.
As an album, Reasons for Seasons weds other genres with jazz creating a world music experience, with brilliantly composed instrumentals and vocals. It’s a great album to listen to if you’re looking for something mellow.