Vatiswa Ndara, the SABC bailout, and showbiz exploitation

sisgwenjazz

Vatiswa Ndara’s open letter to the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture https://www.iol.co.za/entertainment/tv/local/vatiswa-ndaras-open-letter-to-nathi-mthethwa-stop-exploiting-actors-34292050 was long overdue. Set aside the specifics of the actor’s beef with Ferguson Films, and the general picture she describes resonates across all the creative industries, including music.

Vatiswa Vatiswa Ndara

No doubt some fresh idiot at the next funeral will repeat the question, “Why do artists die in poverty?” (The person to whom she addressed her letter is very fond of asking it.) The answer is twofold.

First, artists are part of the people, and most South Africans still live and die in poverty. That’s a much bigger discussion, and one we have postponed for far too long.

Second, artists are also workers, and the labour, contract, and conditions of production issues Ndara raised make the situation even worse.

People outside the industry are often fooled by headlines on the showbiz pages about an artist’s fee for…

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Words Like Worlds Must Flourish

Green Ankh Works

“When the Ivory Coast poet Bernard B. Dadie’ writes: “Stars in profusion, pure as the eyes of Sages, will be as brilliant as the destiny of men.” this is not a description of a future occurance, but an invocation of it. The stars are to shine. The event is created in the vision. The vision is always an imperative addressed to time; the future is commanded how it is to be. For ‘time-and-space-in-one’, Hantu, constitutes a force of its own and is as such, like all forces, subject to the command of the muntu. Thus when he puts his vision even back into the past, the poet is commanding time, as if the order were already executed and irrevocably accomplished. In the alternation of future, imperfect and present, the incantation acquires its greatest force and becomes a single imperative:

Farmer strike the soil with your daba:

in the soil there…

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Kinds of Blue, Kind of You

I have just been listening to brilliant  music of the late Sisa Sopazi for the first time. It is incredible how I have always heard his name mentioned by his peers, but have never really listened to him. I was really moved by the songs Ekomani, Intlombe and the cleverly titled The Sight of Sound. 

Please look for this name. He may be gone, but he will hardly be forgotten by those who had a chance to hear his sound.

The Meanings of Reggae Music

To attain a sound appreciation of Reggae music requires a Sankofa mentality. To realize Afrika’s place in the geo-economic-political-spiritual shaping of the world. One has to have roots that reach deep into the crevices of the blood fertilized earth and have a sense of the magnificent greatness of the Creators of the galaxies. The troubled waters and towns of the Island that first offered us this gift of soul reaching and universal Sound System, is a troubled piece of land. Home to a confluence of peoples from the East, South, West and North. Remnants of former enslaved Afrikans to and from the commercial centered of Babaylon, the unCivilized world that continues to profit from drinking the blood of the innocent

Reggae has become larger than itself, broader in outlook …yet what remains at its core and makes it unique, is the artists sense of Rootedness in the idea of Afrika, their devotion to themes of social justice, healthy lifestyles and freedom.