Khanya Ceza on hearing Ayanda Sikade’s Drumming and Compositions

Inspired by Sounds


Ayanda Sikade1

Painting and depicting a frame of mind , jocundity and joviality upon frenzies and flimsy harness of a people , who came for while and left us , who played their part and left us inspired to play a symbol that resonates actively in our soul . Raising a narrative , our senses of color , smell, senses of hearing and thoughts, hirding a call for us to remember the music beneath our feet and above our heads , the demand , pain ,
joy much joy and suffering endured by musician in their own space , the treatment of scholars of jazz and African musics, I pain to see his eyes closed in imagination the future musicians , her yening for perfection and good livelihood, but his seriousness on honing and honed craft , the love for the calling the dedication ,
I stood on the trunk of the…

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A Note on Zimbabwe Education

This note is partly lifted from a newspaper article written by Simon Bere ( The Financial Gazette – Zim – March 29 – April 4, 2018), titled ‘Transforming Zimbabwean Higher Education for better economic performance’.

“A closer analysis will reveal Zimbabwe’s current education system is the problem. The system is flawed both in content and structure as well as in the strategic, structural and operational dimensions. The current system is mass producing graduates for the sake of producing educated people. It is a tactical system operating on a protocol of recruiting as many students as one can accommodate …”

I shall revisit this article and in order to find some sustainable solutions for both Zimbabwe and the rest of the SADC region. The primary focus will be how to use the Indigenous Knowledge Systems at our disposal, including Afrikonomics, Afrikology and Ecological economic progress models to usher in a new and decolonized way of being for we the people.

How Afrika Can Develop Itself

Let’s Talk About Sex, soon

Far from being taboo in traditional Afrikan society, at least until the corrosive influence of Western/Eurocentric Christian norms; the subject of sex and sexuality has always permeated our songs, rites of passage and conversations. I am making this mental note just to say, as soon as I learn to write better than I currently do, and as soon as I collate my re-search – I shall write about the wondrous subject of Sex.

In the Flesh

Music, Magic and Social Transformation

music and revolution
musica and revolution

Can music really change the world? Yes, if we consider music to be more than just ideas translated into waves of sound and performances. There is something in music even for those who do not have the capacity to hear or listen. Technology is advancing towards ensuring that everyone can be able to at least FEEL or Perceive the art of music. It is important to understand that there are various levels of deafness. It can range anywhere from some hearing loss to complete deafness where the person cannot hear anything. It’s a complete spectrum and everyone is different*. 

Music is one of the most exciting and interesting sciences ever explored by humanity. While all of Nature can be said to sing or is musical, the amount of dedication and genius that humanity has invested in music is phenomenal. Many cultures are defined by their music and we have even incorporated every conceivable aspect of the Natural world into the music of our minds. Every sphere of life has its musicality.

“In 1978, Wadada Leo Smith wrote that this concept is predicated on creating and inventing musical ideas simultaneously, utilizing the fundamental laws of improvisation and composition. Within this system, all of the elements of the scored music are controlled through symbols designating duration, improvisation, and moving sounds of different velocities. These symbols are depicted on two types of staffs, sounds staffs divided into low, medium and high; and sound staffs of adjustable sound partials.” ( W.L. S. describing for his Spirit Catcher album)

The works of great musical artists appear to be receiving great reception in these days of information, data and communication overload. These days, anyone who happens to be online, be it on Facebook, Twitter or other websites, can get to know about Batsumi, John Coltrane, David Bowie, Nina Simone or Fela Kuti without leaving their place. While there is still much more space for the underground ‘digger’ of records and there has surely been a lot of music that has been produced that even the most capable collector and single search engine can contain, there remain many remarkable artists who do not get their fair share of recognition. This is partly due to the corporate sponsored, market driven media space. Most people who would benefit from or enjoy the sounds of Christian Scott, Saul Williams or even Mos Def ( Yasiin Bey) Sun Xa or Sibusile Xaba simply do not get to hear it on the mainstream media. The mass media is almost totally controlled by people who do not even care what is on the air, just as long as it is not subversive or too risque’ for their bottom-line. Music is a very powerful medium and it has always carried elements of revolutionary fervor within it. The sounds and lyrics of artists such as Bob Marley and the Wailers, Amiri Baraka, Stimela, Sakhile, Fela Kuti or Reflection Eternal have helped generations of people globally to stand up or their rights or given them strength to overcome various kinds of difficulties.

Neuronal messages will be sent to the auditory cortex, but not necessarily from the ears. In all, sound is made up of vibrations. When those vibrations are organized and given a pitch, they become music. The brain processes this sound in many different areas, but the main parts are: the sensory cortex, the nucleus accumbens, amygdala, and cerebellum, and the auditory cortex. Each of these parts plays a key role in how people experience music, deaf or hearing. These parts just adapt in the brain of a person who is deaf to interpret sound and music in a way other than through messages from the ears. Everyone can make the experience of music that much better for people who are deaf through support of interpreters like Amber Galloway Gallego.

The transformation of our consciousness towards more understanding and harmony can occur once we understand just how different we all are, we receive music and other messages in unique ways.

Change and Resistance

“The well based resistance to change which is usually for the worse, explains the obvious reticence of officialdom to release information, because the silent approach offers the greatest prospect of getting the obviously unacceptable accepted, if at all possible.” – John Page in Protest at Urban Environment from Protest and Discontent (The Nature and Causes of Student Unrest)

Harare is about to enter into another period of unrest, and I am reasonably nervous and skeptical about the outcomes. The protest planned by the opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change with a few other affected partners such as members of civil society and workers unions does not seem as well planned or articulated as it should, given the track record and results of such uprisings in this country. What is the value of a protest in a country where many people are ruled by fear? What happens when the uprising fails and who compensates for the loss of lives?

The flippant response from the deputy leader of the national defence forces is both predictable and worrying. By simply dismissing the intentions of the people behind the protest and stating that it will not happen, he is simply playimg to the gallery and stoking the fires for more aggression from both ends. It would have been wiser to simply tow the legal or constitutional line and even pretend to be allowing the democratic process to unfold. I personally have been concerned about the lack of coherent revolutionary strategies and ideological incoherence from the opposition party, even though I had not expected much from the liberal and populist leader, I have been hoping that there is a radical youth or intellectual element within the party or countrywide, to at least formulate some semblance of revutionary direction. I am hoping to hear what happens beyond the protests and “legal uprisings”.

We all aware of the States propensity to unleash violence on its citizens but the silence of the president of the country in the face violations of the law by his subordinates clearly shows that he too has no capacity to lead beyond rhetoric and power mongering. He has to fight external and internal battles and pay lip service to economic fundamentals, while his finance ministers spew incomprehensible nonsense at every gala or gathering. Meanwhile there will be many protests in Zimbabwe yet no one has yet mentioned just what will happen to the economy once the rulers are deposed. The crucial question is How Will Zimbabwe rise from the mire of state sponsored debauchery, steering its society from Fear to Creative and Proactive action ….

Some trust in the Ancestors guidance while others trust in Jesus Christ ….I trust in thw people’s Will to get Free and Create a New Zimbabwe, learning from the Ancient, the present and daring to invent and invest in the Future.

The Calling:Revolutionary Practice

This draft essay is part of my Notes for The House of Plenty*, a collection of interviews, articles, poems and other insights highlighting the confluences, interconnections and potential convergences of struggles and potentialities in the Southern African Developmental Community. While the primary focus is on the Creative and Cultural industries, as a matter of necessity we shall also deal with economics, politics and relationships.

The Essence of Revolution

Some of my best friends are revolutionaries. It is quite a daunting calling, some may say it is a necessity or even a res[responsibility. Revolutionary engagement is something that one enters into almost voluntarily and usually without expectation of any compensation, except of course for the realization of ones mission. When I was ‘rising’ as a young Rastafarian in the late nineties and early 2000’s, I would read a lot about Afrika’s various struggle or liberation heroes from the pre- and post-independence era. Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Kwame Nkrumah, Queen Ndzinga, Nana Yaa Ashantewaa/Muhumusa, Sol Plaatje, Marcus Garvey were among them. Yet I was fascinated by Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I … One of the key phrases that Haile Selassie I would frequently use in His speeches was “Collective Security”; I really wanted to understand fully what this term meant in practical ways. While studying towards my Marketing management diploma at the then Natal Technikon, now named Steve Biko campus at the Durban University of Technology, I would spend more time reading Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and other Afrikan writers in the library, but books on the Rasta God-King were very rare, even among the Rasta’s themselves. What was readily available was a journal called JAHUG …and this could be found among Rasta’s of various mansions and walks of life. Among the most scholarly and zealously revolutionary Rasta’s I came know in the township I was born in, was Ras Mxolisi, called Ras Judah or simply Judah; this was of course his proto-Israelite name as most Rasta’s were known by their ‘Tribe’ ( expand); his real name is Mxolisi Majola and he has since followed in his father’s calling and became initiated as a Healer or Inyanga. Judah had the books. I would spend countless hours at his home devouring all the esoteric and political material he had in his library. I was developing my own sense of being as a Spiritual being as well as a Socio-Political activist. Majola’s books made me feel as if I was waisting precious time at school. Yet unlike many other Rasta’s this man was a qualified Civil Engineer and instead of labellng the schooling system, Babylon brainwashing, he encouraged me to get my qualifications and contribute to the ‘Collective Struggle’ to free Afrika from its chains, among which ignorance was the main culprit. He insisted that we Need knowledge of self as much as we need the technological skills presented in those white owned institutions and we must know that as Haile Selassie I always said, we are the government of the future, we are the heads of state of tomorrow and Malcolm X taught us to prepare for that future today.

So Mxolisi Majola had everything from the Ethiopic Book of Henok/Enoch, the Egyptian Book of the Dead ( The Book of Coming Forth From Night Into Day); the coveted Power of the Psalms, the esoteric Keys of Solomon as well as numerous copies of the aforementioned JAHUG. Unlike many others, Judah was not stingy with his books or even the sharing of knowledge, for many nights we would share a steam chalice of Ganja herbs and delicious ital stews prepared by his wife and we would reason about Afrikan history, presence and future prospects, he would explain why he transitioned from being a political activist into a more spiritual existence without really losing sight of the revolutionary imperatives or pressing matters of the day. He taught me that while today is important, we must not be too attached to temporary solutions, but build the capacity of individuals who can one day contribute to a better society. We also spoke about Rastafari developments and lack thereof, about philosophy, magik and what is required to liberate Afrika or the whole Black world from colonial chains. The question of Revolution and Collective Security came up many times. What I got from the eloquent and patiently articulate rastafari elder was that , it was all a matter of contexts. What Rastafari or Haile Selassie I meant in the 1930’s, 40s and 50’s had a lot to do with securing a place for Ethiopia in the then League of Nations and ensuring that His nation was protected from the many aggressors or invaders. But what the term meant in the 60s and 70’s had a lot to do with a Pan-Afrikanist vision of a strong continental and global Afrikanist alliance or partnership to secure political, economic and cultural sovereignty for the newly or soon to be liberated countries. Suffice to say that Ras Mxolisi Judah Majola was/is a staunch Pan-Africanist and a member of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania. Since things have been far from ideal for the PAC since 1994, many members had gravitated towards AZAPO, BCP/M and even the ANC, some quit political activity all together and chose to stay vocal only on social media and even to censor themselves. Being conscious Afrikans, it is difficult to not be involved in any sort of political activity. The conditions for the Afrikan are enough motivation to become involved in some way or the other. the poverty, landlessness and lack of quality education – the whole system appears to be dysfunctional and the two words – the collective and the security seem rather dreamy and elusive at times. Black people in general exist in conditions of constant insecurity.

Even though there are several institutions that exist to deal with the visions of Afrika’s total liberation and self-realization, it is clear to many that the Afrikan-Union, Pan Afrikanist Parliarment and the scores of Nationalist, Leftists political parties and organisations are not achieving their missions sufficiently. They are not united in their purpose, premise and methods, yet many of their leaders purport to be students of the Revolution, they or we all claim to be dedicated to the freeing of the Black masses from the tyranny of white racism and self-loathing.

Each party, each country, each region and each business entity appears to be pulling away from collectivist or communal responsibility. We are all claiming to serve Afrika, but many of us are either students of French, Russian or European revolutions. We pay lip-service to the Haitian revolution and the Cuban revolutionary pros and cons. It seems as if once a person tows the socialist or Marxist ideological line, she or he must defend anything that is done in those countries, without properly listening to the ground or considering facts as they are. It has become a matter of ‘the enemy of my friend is my enemy’, even if the friend has long ago abandoned the cause of friendship or the basic principles of whatever revolutionary line were.

We hear talk of Sankarisms, some love Nyerere and Nkrumah or Garvey and Lembede, but really and truly worship Lenin and Marx and Mao. The worst part is that the former liberation movements have since independence from colonial rule, plunged into complex and utter states of corruption and depravity. While revolutionary writers have written many brilliant works warning against the traps and trappings of neo-colonialism, the majority of the political class, made up of many men and women who used to be activists while they were younger, have now become gatekeepers in the new colonial masters house. The noise we hear and see on social media has hardly ever been turned into serious civil disobedience, insurrection – let alone revolution.