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African Renaissance

The Filmmaker

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Stay with her and protect your family. But especially protect your daughters, you need that the most. They need that the most. Already you are a memory, a bittersweet memory. You are already far-off. Even if I ask you, my love, love of my life, fire of my loins, will you, won’t you stay here with me forever by my side, but even though I am writing this to you, I am thinking of someone else who has always been the gap, the fixture, the mile that I have been running to the horizon. I love you. I love you. I don’t quite deserve you.

I love you until the end of time. I loved you Dawid. Once. Once, I loved you with every inhale, and every exhale. Yes, you called me. I called you knowing there was a family in the picture. A family in the way of us rekindling anything. I give you back to her. I give you back to Andiswa safe and sound. Dawid, you are love. Dawid, you are loved. You who are worshiped and adored by Andiswa. Your Andie Macdowell. You will marry her in four weddings, and forever be attending my funeral. You have wife and family, children.

Because although the breakthroughs come, through no fault or gift of my own, you are loved by your Andiswa. You are loved by your little daughter. Stay. Stay. Stay in the comfort of her arms. I am not your angel anymore. Who are you loving now? She’s blonde now. Whatever did you imagine. I promise I will never find you. Living only to fulfil your fantasy. Your fantasy of me. I think she’s pregnant. You wanted me to stay. I never wanted to let you go. We all need love. We all need to fall in love. I am in need. I fade.

I needed you. I need you like the Sussex-man. Like the Nottingham-man. You worry me. You worry for me. I worry you all the time. So, I dance, because you are the music. You are the music. Take me into your arms. It is only because of you that I am writing again. I will feel your heartbeat inside of me for the rest of your life. Imagine you making love to your wife. Yourdaughters need you more than me. I’m not the one for goodbyes. You won’t find me. I won’t find you. Ill love you for the rest of my life. I, I think you know.

Sorry. Sorry. Apologies. I don’t mean to be so morbid and depressing. This is not the end of anything, you know. Your life is just beginning again with your beautiful and kind and loyal wife at your side, with your devoted daughters So, be a good husband. Be a good father. I love you. I love you. I love you. I can see the sorrow in your eyes. You saw the sorrow in mine. I wish we could be together again. Staring at each other across from the table at breakfast, lunch and dinner. To see you smile was the most amazing. To, see you.

To see you laugh was the mot amazing. I have the very best parts of you inside my heart. I have waited simply for an eternity again to see you again. As in centuries past, Achilles, Andromedas, we will forever stay connected, have this special inter-connectedness. I relate to you in everything. You relate to me in everything. Sympatico. I needed this sorrow, love. I needed to feel pain again. I needed to feel love again. God speed. I will think of you each day, surrounded by your friends and family, your children. Yours. Hers.

And grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Yes, I have felt it again, the first stirrings of love and passionate lovemaking again in my heart. I am not the one for you. You are not the one for me. But I will keep on telling myself that for the rest of my life. Have this heated debate inside my head. Did I make the right decision? I love you, I always will, you, you, you, gorgeous man.You will be happy again. Think of me always. Hello. Good morning. Goodbye. Love you. Love you. Love you. Burn this, or destroy this. You.You have your own moods. I have my own moods. The word lives outside my dooryard. The world lies outside of me, in your arms. Stay. Stay. Stay. Go. Go. Go. Before I begin to cry. Again, gorgeous man. Again, gorgeous man. Again, gorgeous man. Again, gorgeous man. Again, gorgeous man. Not another word about my father, gorgeous man. Another word about my mother, gorgeous man? No, no, no I don’t think so, gorgeous man. You healed my broken heart. You were there for summer reading, for winter dreaming.

For coffee in the rain for life. And if we could have, my Achilles, my Andromedas, my Hercules, you would have taken my hand, and held it in yours. You would have wiped away the tear running down my cheek, stroked my bottom lip. Breathed life back into me, but I am a vampire. My fangs would have suck ed the very life out of you. What would you would have left if I had taken you awayfrom your wife and family? How could I live with the fact of the emotional separation between mother and daughter? I will love you.

I will. Until the ed of groovy time. I would have obeyed you, taken vows with you, submitted to you again and again and again, oh, gorgeous, gorgeous one. Oh, Achilles. Oh, Andromedas. I would have obeyed your every command. Cooked and cleaned for you barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Mopping the bathroom floor, love, love, love. Where are you now? Forever yours.Beginners in diplomacy are waiting on the world to change, and everybody must have a seat at the table. Love, my great love, will tear us apart. The disabled and veterans who receive a disability grant and can’t work. Leaders of government, your countries in particular are facing a global phenomenon. World leaders, hasten! Psychoanalysis, cognitive behavioural therapy, pastoral counselling, spiritual counselling cannot solve everything. I think of the psychology framework of every individual on the face of this plane.

How we all face insurmountable problems, and challenges, choices and mistakes, the right decision, and Joy Division is now dead to me.Youth excites me. I remember what I was like when I was young. Invincible, always sure of myself, certainties disappeared, and I was particularly drawn to poetry, the Russian writers, Doctor Zhivago in particular, Omar Shariff, Lawrence of Arabia, James Dean, and Natalie Wood in Rebel Without a Cause. James Dean in East of Eden, directed by Elia Kazan, written by John Steinbeck.  attached to straightening my hair every month, trying, trying, trying to get the kink out of my curl. Trying to micro-handle frizz. I wanted to know my family but they didn’t want to know me. I wanted death not life, but God had other plans for me. My aunt’s voice turned into pearls of wisdom. Daddy dear, it hurts so much. So, I don’t eat to shut out the pain. I become anorexic again. I eat green salad out of the bowl. I want a new, healthier version of me. They all tell me I’m unwell again. Goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend. What exactly did you want from me in the first place? I have nothing for you. My mother doesn’t drink my coffee, or, tea. Not even my coffee is good enough for her. Now he wants nothing to do with me because I am as mad as a hatter. The love of my life, he won’t save me. The nature of the bipolar illness, mood disorders, brain disorders, PTSD when is unstoppable. Think of a multi-approach to bipolar. There’s both humility and hilarity, giving and taking, manna and the burning bush, birdsong and voices, auditory and visual hallucinations, delusions of grandeur, and psychoses and neuroses. I’m in need of self-help and painkillers.

Distance will always lend enchantment to the view. If there is nothing else in your life as survivor, or, family member, or victim, let that give you hope. You can learn to love life again.In some moments you can change your act, your behaviour, in others your attitude.I face the difficult challenge that brings our life to an abrupt halt, the individual’s passage into dismal failure, or profound, breath-taking greatness daily. I wasn’t invited to the wedding, because I wasn’t a friend. Feels just like Christmas, home. Like long distance.

Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated shortlisted and longlisted poet Abigail George is a recipient of four writing grants from the National Arts Council, the Centre for Book and ECPACC. She briefly studied film, writes for The Poet, is an editor at MMAP and Contributing Writer at African Writer. She is a blogger, essayist, writer of several short stories, novellas and has ventured out to write for film with two projects in development . She was recently interviewed for Sentinel, and the BBC.

African Renaissance

The YCCC and How It Changed the Future of South Africa

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This was the pre-apartheid education that we received when we were still at school. I was 13, 14 years of age at the time of the promulgation of the Group Areas Act in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, which then led to the forced removals and people literally being ‘dumped’ in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth. Dr Neville Alexander came to Port Elizabeth on two occasions. The YCCC-organisation (Yu Chi Chan Club) was primarily based on guerrilla warfare as is expounded by the leader of the Chinese Communist Party Mao Se Tung. It elucidates in his long walk to freedom, as well as his account in the new democracy as is expounded by his books and writings. These ideologies played a key role in formulating policy in the fight of guerrilla warfare against the Nationalist Party government. It is imperative to mention that the textbook for the organisation was Guerrilla Warfare by Che Guevara which was slavishly followed by discussions in the organisation. Other books included Partisan Warfare by Lenin, as well as Das Kapital by Karl Marx.

This took a lot of preparation and in-depth discussion groups took place based on these classic writers. It was imperative that these books were simplified and applied to the unique situation in South Africa. Dr Alexander and Ali Fataar, the then banned member of the executive of the NUM (New Unity Movement) came to Port Elizabeth to do exploratory work in creating fertile political groundwork for establishing the NEUM (Non-European Unity Movement) groupings. They visited areas like Korsten, Schauderville at night where they held underground discussion groups on the non-collaboration and the ‘Ten-Point Programme’ which at that early stage were very important and relevant documents. These were lengthy discussion groups which took place throughout the night. However, it crystallised into a solid branch of the NEUM (Non-European Unity Movement), Korsten branch. Further exploratory work was conducted in the area before these two stalwarts could return to Cape Town.

As a young student (16 years of age) we had the opportunity of meeting with people of the calibre of Dr Alexander at a very early stage in our political careers. This took place while we attended the CPSU (Cape Peninsula Students Union) group at our residence in Lloyd Street, Cape Town. This group grew rapidly as more and more progressive students became interested in the finer progressive political ideologies of the CPSU. We met regularly every fortnight and the discussions took place until the early hours of the morning. The topics included Bantu Education, Coloured Education, Bush University, Students Representative Council issues and the like. We also organised regular meetings on camping trips on Table Mountain where extensive politicisation took place on advanced political ideologies such as capitalism, imperialism and world ideologies of the day. We became acutely aware that our home got the attention of the security police. However, this did not deter us from becoming acutely aware of the intrusion of capitalism and imperialism and the like. It was at a very young age that I became involved in student politics which has its origin in political activity.

The forced removals, the Group Areas Act, the political upheaval caused havoc amongst particularly the young who were influenced by teachers who belonged to the Anti-CAD (Anti-Coloured Affairs Department) and the TLSA (Teachers League of South Africa). The city was ablaze with political activity which in a short space of time demonstrated deep into the youth. This needless to say was influenced by political youth in the Western Cape. What was affecting the students in the Western Cape was, alas, also affecting the students in the Cape, particularly Gqeberha. At times, the situation became extremely volatile and out of control. Organisations like the NUM (National Unity Movement), Anti-CAD (Anti-Coloured Affairs Department), TLSA (Teachers League of South Africa) reigned supreme. It was also apparent that the ratepayer’s organisations which were formed to fight against the rapid erosion of management committees.

Many public meetings were held with F.A. Landman and Dennis Brutus (vice-chairman), who were at pains to point out the disadvantages of the Group Areas Act. Many groups were formed which included the ANC, the PAC, the Unity Movement and allied groups were mobilised. It became apparent that the Group Areas Act was not going to go through a very easy passage. The organisations were not unified in their actions and this gave the opposition deep inroads into progressive thinkers. As a student group at the University College of the Western Cape we were invited to SOYA (Society of Young Africa) meetings in the Mowbray Minor Hall on a Sunday afternoon. For the first time we witnessed serious altercations among the members of the NEUM (Non-European Unity Movement), and this included Dr Neville Alexander and Dr Kenny Abrahams.

The topic of discussion was on Angola and the chairlady of the meeting Miss Wilcox clearly did not understand her mandate. Dr Neville Alexander and Dr Kenny Abrahams tackled her on the political aspects of FRELIMO Liberation Front of Mozambique). It appeared that two factions had now developed in the meeting. It was really a fisticuffs kind of thing. It appeared as if Dr Alexander and Dr Abrahams were at loggerheads with the present discussion leaders of the main group. The matter came to a head when the chairperson asked Dr Alexander and Dr Abrahams to leave the meeting. However, before that could take place Dr Abrahams announced to the meeting that all those who believed in democracy would leave the meeting. I was one of the Western Cape students who felt urged to leave the meeting with Alexander and Abrahams, which we did and met again at No. 2 Swiss Road in Lansdowne for a follow-up meeting. Officially, at this meeting there was information about the YCCC (Yu Chi Chan Club). Dr Alexander and Dr Abrahams felt no animosity which the meeting gave them as they left.

Dr Alexander was described as a dark horse by my father. As with all leaders, the maverick visionaries and profound thinkers, brilliant intellectuals, and having the primitive wonders of both wisdom and intelligence, for these men ahead of their time their faith was shared only by their comrades in the struggle. These stalwarts have taught me that it is the tendency of every man, woman and child of every race, of every faith to embrace every other man, woman and child of every race, and of every other faith. Indeed, it is rare. Indeed, it is exceptional when it happens. Language is a bridge. The language is not of love, but of respect. It is the flesh and blood of mother tongue language that divides us. It is respect that conquers self-pity, arrogance and narcissism. There is no one identity. Yet there is one moral code. Multiculturalism has changed the order of history, moral ambiguity, cast a spell on the doctrines and phenomena of religion. In humanity, in this human world, these leaders have taught us purpose on earth, the awareness of self, lack of ego and the finding of our identity in existential relativism, pedagogical and counterfeit phenomenology. Multiply achievement and you get the candy shop of the poetic horrors of over-abundance, the romantic weariness of decay and the complex strength of popularity.

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African Renaissance

Truth and the third wave of the pandemic: To be vaccinated or not to be vaccinated

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Photo: Atharva Tulsi/Unsplash

I have endured the worst possible case scenario. Being locked up in a mental institution for six months while in my late teens, early twenties. Even though I was of sound body, mind and soul. I am 42 years old now and I haven’t come all the way back from that experience. Everyone wrote me off when I returned home to Port Elizabeth as Gqeberha was known in those days but worse was to follow. Inhumane treatment from those closest to me, rejection from society. I was taught that I had a mental disability and would never be able to work again, hold down a steady job or earn a monthly income. I was told in no uncertain terms that I had to now live on the fringes of society since I would be unable to make a positive contribution to society. For twenty years this continued. I had to all intents and purposes not only given up on myself, my personal success, development of my potential and fulfillment and engagement in a relationship that would lead ultimately to my future happiness. The goal of marriage and having a child, bringing children into the world and raising a family was not only put into the distant past, I thought that it would always be non-existent for me.

I would spend my time listening to sad music, love songs on the radio and wonder why it was not me caught up in the scenario of having a relationship with the opposite sex. I sank even further into the pit of the hell in f despair and hardship. I virtually had lost control over my life, received a disability grant which I did not spend on anything which I personally needed. Family considered me to be the proverbial black sheep of the family. When I got angry at the way I was treated I was certified. My rights were taken away from me. I was verbally, mentally and emotionally abused. I did everything in my power to be loved and accepted by both my maternal and paternal family which is why I believe so strongly today in dismantling the stigma that surrounds issues concerning mental illness and depression mania, euphoria and elation (however mild or all-consuming it might be). At this late stage of my life I have become an advocate for mental wellness. To stop the fight and curb the alienation and isolation of sufferers of mental illness. I want people from all walks of life to realise that people with mental illnesses can enrich our lives and can make a positive contribution to society.

I myself have always sought solace in writing. I have found it to be an instrument for change and therapeutic as well.

I have firsthand knowledge and experience of being called anything from schizophrenic to being diagnosed with bipolar mood disorder and because of the heavy psychotropic medication I have taken over the years I have had a host of illnesses presenting themselves. Chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia, an underactive thyroid, chronic kidney disease, gout and heart disease. These diseases manifested themselves early on in my life before the onset of middle age when they would be more prevalent in someone who would be prone to these sorts of illnesses because of not living a healthy lifestyle.

I take each day as it comes now and live in the moment. I have my good days. I have my bad days. I have a mean temper and constantly have to watch what I eat, watch what I say and how I react to people who treat me as him I am a second class citizen because of everything I have been through in my life. Truth be told I always knew I was different. The depression started in childhood for me. I was always an overachiever. I would come home in the afternoons after school but no one ever helped me with my homework, told me either that they were proud of me or believed in me or loved me for that matter.

Everyday I am a work in progress. It is tough dealing with moodswing but that is the currency I deal in and the territory that borders my sense of self-control.

I have been called many names. None of them pretty or lovely. I have had zero support from my immediate family and my estranged family has complete written me off and washed their hands off of me thinking there is nothing they can do for me. This has been very hurtful and even has made made me feel quite suicidal over the years and in my hour if need, my hours of silence, pain and collective trauma I turned to God, prayer and meditation in my hour of need. At the time of the outbreak of the pandemic I got corona and was admitted to the psych ward at Provincial Hospital here in Gqeberha. I had no medical aid and was once again at the mercy of the system but I survived hell and that harrowing experience again to live to tell the tale of how to overcome the impossible, to live and to learn, to remain humble and kind even in the face of adversity and cruelty.

Loneliness, abject poverty, homelessness can either kill you or make you realise that you are powerful beyond measure and I have realised that I am powerful beyond measure.

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African Renaissance

Thoughts From the Frontline

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Photo: Keenan Constance/Unsplash

“Hip/Hop, Trap. I would describe my music as different, unique, compared to what I hear in the music industry in South Africa. It is a different sound of genre based on hip hop. In my downtime I listen to artists like Mexikodro, Playboi Carti, Diego Money, Pyrex Whippa, Lil Gotit and Sahbabii. In my life my family has been and still is a major influence, I just want to see them happy and stress free. I want to be successful so that they can spend the rest of lives living comfortably. I chose music because I believe that it is something I’m good at. I wouldn’t call myself a musical genius, or say that I’m talented musically because I’m not but, I have taken the time to learn everything that I know today, I started as a rapper, but now I am a producer as well, a very good one if I should say, I mix and master vocals, well I try to. It is still something I am learning on a daily basis and I believe that one day if not soon, I will understand that aspect of music. The guys who I record with are so gifted at what they do, we really inspire each other to take it to the next level. I would be lying if I said that I inspire myself, well maybe I do, I don’t know, however what I do know is that we can go to the next level together because nowadays you rarely see a duo or a group of rappers in the South African music industry, there are 4 of us in our group including others who aren’t full time as yet, I think that makes the odds better for us to take it to the next level as opposed to being a solo” SUPREME ZEE, CEO OF Holidae Don’t Stop!

“What inspires me to take it to the next level is basically my daughter, Family and my everyday experiences growing up and living in Westbury losing friends and family to gang violence had a huge effect on me since a young age I’ve been through hell and back if I may describe in short and I’ve realized, to make it out you really need to dig deep. This is also one of the main reasons why I started writing music. I love Music, it is my passion that is mainly why I chose to make music, ever since a young age I’ve just been through the worst writing music and articulating every word I write is therapeutic. Manifesting and having faith in God has carried me through. Major influences in my life remains God, my baby girl, my family and obviously my Team Holidae Dont Stop! We always encourage one another to do our best we definitely do bring out the best in each other and I’d say the beats that supreme Zee creates brings out the best in me personally and it’s also one of the major influences in my music career it’s only elevated since the moment we started. In my down time I listen to All types of music mostly Gospel & HDS. I would describe my music as being one in a million very versatile, real and unusually different from the usual and it has an unorthodox flow and style to it so you can literally expect only the best” TheGR8ACE, CEO and co-founder of Holidae Dont Stop!

My inspiration comes from knowing that I have a God given talent and my friends (HDS) and family that motivates me day to day to do better. I chose music because as a hobby it is something I love doing which started out in high school where I had friends that used to rap over beats and I’d just stand within the circle and listen to their rhymes and it became to amuse me when I found out that there are people in my community creating their own music, whereas in 2019, I linked with the crew Holidae Dont Stop! and it has been a wonderful journey ever since! Learning and growing at the same time. My mother has played a role as one of my biggest inspirations including friends (HDS) have been a major Influence in my life, for they always pushed me to be a better me. Not giving up on me and providing not bad advice but love and positivity. I’ve been in difficult situation in the past and I am just trying to make a better standard of living for my family, my friends as well as my community (Westbury). In my down time I listen to various genres like Rock, Rnb, Hip/Hop, Rap, Emo Rap. I would describe our music as Western Plug for it derives from Hip-hop with an offbeat including 808s and guitar and piano samples that Supreme Zee (Producer) recreates and when hearing the beat, I can automatically put my heart on it.” Bando -recording Artist at Holidae Dont Stop!

 To conclude this, we are all from Johannesburg South Africa as one of our members spread across as far as Cape Town, temporarily. Our member who are not full time are – Leiph Camp (Splaash66) Stock broker, Razaak Benjamin (Glock) Salesman and Marion Reyners (Marion The Great) Facilitator. “Our music is Bold, Iconic and timeless” TheGr8ce. Our crew is based in Jozi (Johannesburg) although we do not have a manager as yet. Our follow up record will sound similar to the “Western Plug tape” that we have recently released, followed by 3 singles. Plug is a genre that derives itself from Hip-Hop and our next single will drop in 2 weeks. The link to our music is on all platforms and the Love and support would be much appreciated. We literally wont stop! –

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