A deeper shade of blue : After listening to Dalisu Ndlazi

I wanted to title this write up/ essay/ poetic ode to the sound of jazz*, Injulo or eyenjulo.  Injulo is an IsiZulu word denoting something that Deepens or causes deep introspection or contemplation.

Although the performative or presentation aspect of the music known as jazz appears as just another genre of the wide variety of music styles available in the world, there seems to be something that lurks just beneath, the surface of it. Something intentional and potentially dangerous or volatile. Yes, it is part of entertainment, but there is more to it than meets the ear.

There is in jazz*, unlike with any other form, a semblance of highly intuitive, yet disciplined clarity of purpose, at least among those creators and listeners who really dig the sound.

These days I attend jazz performances with an intention to simply enjoy the nuanced and groovy sounds of the most phenomenal Artform to come out of the ‘Free World’, or the Land of the Free. But I always end up wanting to write, in order to capture or inscribe the moment, the sound, the mood and the vibration in eternity. I see myself as a kind of memory keeper or a stylographer if such a word exists. My intention is to make the moment last a little longer than the show.

Anyhow, while listen to  Dalisu’s presentation today at the BAT Centre’s Jazz Sundowners, wrote these as notes towards a longer and more polished essay.


A deeper sound – Dalisu Ndazi and the jazz jouney

When yound people choose or are led, groomed or inspired to take up music …

it is a calling like any other. To be a healer, a teacher, a sculptor, doctor of laws, or any other type of profession…

the gift of song though, is a thing apart …it almost seems effortless like the natural progression of any talent, it all takes practice, putting in hours and days of rehearsals etc, but when it comes to actually doing it live and direct, there is an indespensible element of surprise and intentional spontaniousness – ngesiNtu singakubiza ngokuzinikela okuhlelekile.

The music called jazz is a phenomenon born out of a whole people’s experience with a world as we have inherited …

From a dark and blue history …

stories of honour, glory, humiliation and dishonour, stories of joy, liberty  and personal joys and heartbreak …

The jazz* worker is a person who carries tradition with a forward looking  attitude………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

They call It jazz


They call it jazz but this music is much bigger and broader than any definitions.

Miles Davis called it Social Music, Nicholas Payton calls it BAM (black american music) but the closest description has to be Wayne Shorter’s “I Dare You” music.

Call It what we may, this phenomenon known as jazz is fun, intricate, witty and full of whimsical freedom and wisdom; It is music at its most sincere, although often highly enigmatic.

As Amiri Baraka poetically stated “jazz listen to it at your own risk”.

It can literally either heal your soul or blow your freakin’ mind .

Here is a taste of the gloriously visionary maestro Sun Ra and is Solar Arkestra. Its from a record titled God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be.

Just click on the link and enjoy:


justice delayed is justice denied

We are not politicians but activists, revolutionaries if you may. Our primary concern is the eradication of racist white supremacist hegemony over our lives. In order to address the historical injustices, we have to call spades spades and leave no stones unturned. Black people have been denied their place at the table of humanity for too long, it is time for the last to become first.More than just a political movement. the Black First Land First movement has advocated for land restoration, economic rights rights and means for Black people and has faced huge challenges and weathered many socio-political storms.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the BLF movement. I am proud to be so. I was among the first people who organised themselves and dedicated time and resources in the course for justice. I may not agree with the movements pro-Zuma stance but that is on a personal basis. A choice I had to make, so I do not participate in any actions that involve praise singing or defence of former President Zuma’s so called RET ( Radical Economic Transformation), nor te opportunistic speechifying at his court cases – otherwise, I stand for everything else that the movement stands for.

In the social experiment called the Republic of South Africa, Black people are virtually defenseless against a plethora of systemic racisms. Although the country is led by a nationalist African government, we remain at the bottom of the economic ladder after 25 years of ANC rule. Many South Africans may be waking up to the imperatives of economic freedoms and the significance of land restoration, but there is still a lot to learn regarding the real sources of our discontent. many South Afrikans can barely understand the ramifications of racism and how race still plays such a huge role in our disenfranchisement. South Afrika’s problems are further exacerbated its seeming prosperity or affluence ( economic stability) compared to the neighbouring countries. The question of immigrants and pan-Afrikanist responses to such matters as continental trade and foreign policy is a subject for another day, but it should be kept in mind each time we discuss issues of land tenure, economic wellbeing and revolutionary visions –

In the following link, BLF addresses the crucial matter of massive apartheid era and post apartheid era white corruption. In a country where the media is mostly owned by white people, issues of crime and corruption tend to be framed as essentially Black problems. Whites are still seen as lesser criminals than Blacks. For clarity on this matter, please listen :


systems analysis 1: is political governance still necessary?

It was not I, but the world’s beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela who once said that the Freedom Charter*, was not a blueprint for a socialist state.

He also added that “dispossession of ‘white mining kings’ and ‘land barons’ would, instead of leading to socialism, ‘open …fields for …a prosperous non-European bourgeois class’, where for the first time, the non-European bourgeoisie will have the opportunity to own in their own name … mills and factories …and private enterprise will boom and flourish as never before.”.

According to Temba A. Nolutshungu, erstwhile director of the Free Market Foundation, self-confessed former Black Consciousness ‘pioneer’, and compiler of a journal of pro-Market book titled Nationalization, published in 2011;

“The world’s negative experience with nationalization during subsequent decades (which, when it manifested itself, became the decisive factor that persuaded Mandela and other ANC luminaries to replace nationalization with privatization, albeit cautiously and in limited contexts.”

As Azania/South Africa and indeed the rest of Sub-Saharan Afrika remains economically exploited yet desperately un-free, I am finding myself cursing the day I ever met my socialist and Pan-Afrikanist colleagues. If it was not for these radical Black ConscioussPan Afrikanists, I would have happily swallowed everything that the Mandela’s, Ramaphosa’s and Nolutshungu’s said.

Black Consciousness gives us the analytical campus and tools that help us as Black people to navigate the anti-black world towards our particular well-being. Without Black Consciousness, I would be confused and dismayed by the whole economic outlook of this  country, the Fees Must Fall, and the Zuma Must Fall campaigns would send me on a spin trying to gain some kind of understanding of why we are in the state we are in.

I would probably be a member of the Economic Freedom Fighters or worst still, the ANC, but instead I am part of a movement that seeks a radically new way of doing politics and understanding the economy. In fact we usually state that we are in politics to end politics, or even to End The World as we know it.

Before we engage with the pros and cons of socialism, capitalism and whatever middle-ground there may exist between the two ideas, let us explore what it might entail to achieve Black economic liberation in our lifetime.

The term used by my younger comrades during a seminar I recently conducted on Thomas Sankara, is Black or Afrikan Communalism. This may be an old term, possibly initiated by Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere and even Biko or any pro-socialist former head of state.  The essential reasoning is that we as Afrikans should make a clear break from ideologies that come from Europe as they may not be beneficial in our specific local contexts.

During this discussion on the efficacy of Sankarist methodologies, ideological framework, another young leader from the Black First Land First movement also cautioned that we must not allow ourselves to be stuck in nomenclature,a heady word that simply means we must move beyond mere labels, names or terms into a level of thinking and action that is based on what is necessary to realize a better life for the people and planet.

In other words, we need new names, new terms of engagement and re-languaging the idea of freedom…a new politics and ways of governance …


Designer Lives

DSC_0461What does Artistry mean to you?
You are without a doubt an Artist too, didn’t you know?
Does Design and Creativity ever feature in your daily thoughts?
Are you a deliberate and focused person creating the world around you or influence or part-take in its shaping or are you just a spectator?

Art is happening at many levels, from the conscious to the sub-conscious.
Everything is laden with images, design and the ingenuity of Nature, Human-kind or even Deity. Since everything has its purpose, even the randomness that we cannot yet explain, beyond shape or form, there is design. The creative idea is the spark within everything that exists.
There is nothing that is untouched by Art or Design.

Shifting furniture, placing and arranging flowers in your house or laying out a garden and even how we put on our clothes are all part of the may ways we act as artists.
The way you write and even the way you speak or communicate is part of some kind of creative articulation of ideas, even if most of this seems to happen without much complexity of thought, everything happens by design, there is an elaborate and deliberate pattern at the most subtle level.

It is all music, it is all matter and it is all in harmony with the divine Will. It is time we began understanding how this Willingness pr propensity to make things occurs. Many of the things we make or do, we tend to do them for functional purposes, but there are things that we do or create for pleasure and recreation and appreciation.

As thinking beings, we are endowed with all the faculties that predispose us to being creators, makers of things, dreamers of dreams,seers of visions and some of which may come true.
We either shape our environment or else it shapes us.
Our imagination, creativity and ability to put even our wildest thoughts to action is what differentiates us from the rest of the animal kingdom.

It is time to ask yourself; just what kind of an Artist am I?
What are my designs and what is it that only I can do?
Our lives are part of the Cosmic Designers projection, but we have the capability to invent our own future and articulate our own vision.
We are part-takers in a theater of dreams and karmic reactions, we simply must strive to excel at our part.
We may not all get the opportunity to grasp the parts we play or to even practice or rehearse just how to play our roles, but as soon as we become conscious that we are all designers, that is when the work begins.
Seneca wrote: “Life’s like a play; it’s not the length but the excellence of the acting that matters.”

I have recently begun understanding my role, and my acting has been improving exponentially. There is even a brand new designer life that is already being created in my mind, when he is ready to come out and play, the world will stand up to marvel at his excellence.

Menzi Maseko


Poetic Vision: Nowadays …

nowadays we harvest acid rain

because the soil is sold to the highest bidder

and even the artificially sweetened fruits have gone bitter

the crop is owned by a handful of voracious all consuming families

white men in white suits who have never smelled the ground or listened to its groaning

nowadays we harvest acid rain

in a time of drought and freedoms songs betrayed

our fathers can no longer defend their pride

as the fire of truth burns beneath the belt …

‘It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe’: Canadian academics share their favourite Bob Dylan verses — National Post – Top Stories

For decades, scholars have dissected Bob Dylan’s boundary-pushing lyrics in countless books and articles. Among those celebrating the American singer-songwriter’s Nobel Prize in Literature win was Stephen Scobie, a professor emeritus of English at the University of Victoria, who penned a letter in support of Dylan’s nomination 19 years ago. “I have always cherished Dylan’s…

via ‘It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe’: Canadian academics share their favourite Bob Dylan verses — National Post – Top Stories

Help Print and Distribute This Great Book – Rock ‘n Rule

Rock ‘n Rule: The Essays, Stories and Poetry of Menzi Maseko is an elaborate work of word-art.With themes ranging from jazz, Black Consciousness philosophy, Reflections on Socio-Economic conditions and solutions for Southern Africa and Spiritual development. The work is suitable for people of all races, age groups and even institutions interested in understanding the dynamic of modern African development, the role of cultural institutions such as jazz, Afrikology and Ma’at. Although it also touches on universal themes, this book is the first in a series of works focused on finding communal solutions to some of the challenges plaguing Southern Africa and South Africa in particular.

Source: Help Print and Distribute This Great Book – Rock ‘n Rule