ISSUE NO 7 FEB / MAR.
BRANDING THE ARTS. COLLECTORS EDITION Clint Brink
8 Features Joey Hi-Fi (Illustrator). Siya Shezi No.1 Hustler. AB Crazy The AB Crazy of music. Unopotyi Brand. Soweto Apparel.
Regulars Art Expo New York. Design Indaba. Forbes top ten brands list.
News Entourage movie. How i met your mother season 9. Back to the city. Grammy awards.
Cover Stories Branding the arts. Amstel 3SUM.
I know who I am by now. And I am my own brand. Chloe Sevigny We all want to stand out. That’s what I believe anyway.
So, in coming up with our theme for this edition we explored the world of brands. In our quest towards making Barcoded Mag a premier brand in your life, we compiled this edition with the aim of encouraging free thinking when it comes to brands and the way they affect individuals. Our guest contributor, Ingrid asks ‘Is Art Enough?’ Our resident techno junkie Bafentsoe reviews the Sony Xperia Z, while we give the POPArt centre the spotlight as one of the most popular upcoming arts brands. Local brand Tslops will be invading the US soon (Off Ramp.) Do you think technology has had an effect on the arts? Read our Off Ramp opinion piece and decide for yourself. Hip hop sensation AB Crazy is featured in Soundbooth, while renowned illustrator and allround graphic guru Joey Hi-Fi lets us into his world (Projekt101.)
I hope you’ll enjoy a piece by Future History’s leading lady Qairo, who gets nostalgic in 5 Down. You can also check out our regular features for opportunities within the arts and young scribe MduzavanGogh’s opinions.
Remember that as you live your life, you’re writing on the pages of your life story. Each page should sell your great characteristics in the best possible light. So go ahead and share your artistic talents with the world and become the brand you’ve always envisioned. Signing out Phumi (@PHUMIT) 6
BARCODED WHO’S WHO FEB/MAR EDITION PUBLISHER INFIN8MEDIA EDITOR IN CHIEF PHUMZILE TWALA (@PHUMIT) CREATIVE DIRECTOR Siphamandla (Super) Khumalo Simphiwe Twala PRODUCTION MANAGER MBUSO MAFUYEKA (@YOUNGBUU) IT MANAGER BRIAN NTULI (@BRIAN_DEITWIZ) SALES NOMFUNDO SHABALALA (@ANGELICSHABS) KHETHIWE TWALA (@MISS_KITTYRED) CONTRIBUTING WRITERS MDUZA VAN GOGH QAIRO MUSO PHUMZILE TWALA INGRID PUSELETSO MOKHITLINYANE SISONKE “CHRONICLE_ SON” PAPU PHOTOGRAPHY GONTSE MORE PAPERCUTT MEDIA 7
AMSTEL FOR CONTROL- JUST NJE!
Founding member of Afro pop group 3Sum, Amstel Maboa is a singer, dancer and actor. What people don’t know about him is that he’s a private person. “I like my space,” he says. But don’t get it twisted- “I’m not shy though. Shy and Amstel don’t mix!” Known for his bubbly personality, he’s also the founder of the widely popular phrase “Just for control. Nje” With a new album in the pipeline (he’s hoping for an Easter time release date) and a clothing line in the works as well, the “Dramatic Diva” opens up about his journey so far, and what more we can expect from him. Let me start off by saying that I didn’t do much research on you because I wanted to get an authentic impression of who you are. Ok tsala.
When did you know you were destined for a career within the arts? It was always inside me. I truly believe that you always know. As I mentioned, I grew up in a shebeen house and that’s where I got my first platform. I’d sing and dance for patrons. I was also part of the school choir. Even though I wanted to be a model, I guess that was the wrong path for me, because music was my calling. I’ve always believed that performing from a young age was the preparation I needed to perform on a bigger platform. I believe I’m natural actor as well, I mean I’ve had roles on After Nine, Isidingo and City Sesla.
For those who don’t already know, who is Amstel? Amstel is the “Dramatic Diva!” Amstel is a peoples’ person, I’m spiritual, humble and I’m a gogetter. How did you get your stage name? Dramatic Diva. Is Amstel your nickname? Amstel is my real name. Oh wow….I never knew that! Yes tsala… Amstel’s my real name. I grew up in a shebeen house, so when my mother was pregnant with me, she was a rep for Amstel Lager. She promoted the brand so well that people would call her “mama Amstel.” So she named me Amstel!
Growing up, who were your role models? Brenda Fassie. I mean, her music catered to everybody. At the shebeen at home, my aunt would let me play her Vinyls (we used to call them LP’s back when I was growing up) and I was always fascinated by how this voice, coming from this LP could have such a major impact on so many people.
I love my name. In the type of industry I work in, it just stands out; it’s out there- which works to my advantage. My stage name, “Dramatic Diva,” is a name I got from the people. Some people would call me dramatic, while others would call me a diva. So I thought, why not combine these two namesand I became “Dramatic Diva.”
Later during my journey I met Brenda. Lebo Mathosa as well…These two were my everything… I open my stage act with one of Lebo’s songs and also pay tribute to Brenda during my sets. I’m not sure how you’ll take the
next question I have, but here goes… Has your sexuality affected your career negatively in any way? I’ll be honest. It has not been easy. As the first gay band from Africa, we had challenges. I mean, we weren’t getting enough rotation on air. People were not very accepting. There was a lot of homophobia. But whenever I’m on stage, I make sure I change peoples’ mindsets. When I’m on stage it’s not about sexuality. I’m a performer.
didn’t get it all right. Having a management team takes your career to another level. You need someone to be able to speak on your behalf, someone to do bookings for you etcetera. What current projects do you have? Right now I’m working on my solo project- “Dramatic Diva” it’s what I choose to call African Tribal House music. The first single’s called “Re a etshokotsa” and I worked with DJ Kgomotso and Black Motion on it. I call it African tribal house because I’m a very culture-based individualke rata setsho and the fast pace of house music can get me moving!
Have things changed over the years though? Things haven’t improved much over the years, but I make sure that I change peoples’ mindsets through my work.
Who did you work with? I worked with a lot of upcoming producers. I believe in raw talent and I think everyone deserves a chance. Look out for DJ Hectic, DJ Kgomotso, DJ Tshepo and Siya Hlekani. I’m very happy with their sound.
How did the idea of 3Sum come about? Did you guys have any doubts at any stage? We used to be invited to top events in South Africa and attracted a lot of attention through our dancing and our personalities. So through all of that we won a Duku Duku Social Butterfly award. From there, Brenda and Mdu Masilela encouraged us to go into studio and record. Brenda mentioned that she knew I could sing as well.
Are you involved in any charity or mentorship programmes at the moment? Yes! I’m part of “Dream Team”an organization from SA Correctional Services. We get donations for prisoners and I do some motivational speaking and perform. I’m also part of an organization called “Tshwane Ya Rona.” We do school projects, whereby we give talks at schools and tackle issues like drugs, teenage pregnancy etc.
And from there… We went into studio to record, spread our wings and never looked back. Looking back at all your experiences as an artist, would you ever go back and change anything? Not much, but one thing I would definitely enhance would be our marketing efforts and getting a management team. We were still young and crazy because of the fame back then, so we
What does art mean to you? I’m actually Art. Love that… That describes everything. I’m art.
BRANDING THE ARTS UNCOVERED
e’re surrounded by brands everywhere. From your favourite beverage to your favourite accessories, how one consumes certain products is usually influenced by brand names. Every industry has brands that stand out and have massive power when it comes to influencing the decisions made by individuals and households. The arts industry, from music to fashion to fine arts to visual arts to theatre, is also affected by brands and their relation to consumers of art. Think about it. How many times have you bought an item because you saw an artist you like endorsing it? Or how many times have you tried a new hang spot in your town or city because it’s established itself as the ‘it’ place so quickly? It’s been a saddening sight having to see some areas of the Johannesburg CBD deteriorate over the years. So it was refreshing to hear of the urban renewal projects meant to rejuvenate formerly downtrodden areas of the city. One place that’s fast establishing itself as an urban culture hub is the Maboneng Precinct in downtown Joburg. With a leading brand such as Arts on Main as the flagship name, Maboneng has become
known as the art Mecca of the city. Artists and art lovers flock to the venue throughout the year to get their fix of some of the country’s finest art. The success of this brand lies in its authenticityretro-chic yet not too hippie-like either. Just a few blocks up from here, a stones throw away from Joubert Park is where The Johannesburg Art Gallery’s located. The gallery has a long history and has been home to a number of successful exhibitions. One could go on explaining the different eras of art displayed on its walls on numerous occasions, but in this case it makes more sense to mention the likes of Sekoto, van Gogh and Picasso. These are just a handful of famous artists whose work has been celebrated worldwide; artists who created names for themselves on the merit of their talent. Works by artists such as these are highly valuable nowadays. Ingenious and highly creative in their pieces, artists of this calibre were able to create their own brands by adding great value to various art styles of the times. Today many deeppocketed individuals collect art pieces by the likes of pop-art extraordinaire Andy Warhol, his contemporary Basquiat and Da Vinci as a social-statement, instead of
really appreciating the talent. In the world of music, individual/personal brands pretty much run star-fan interactions. Artist brands are quite often regarded as entities that should be handled with care and are powerful catalysts in the rapid rise of “star power.” Named number one on the Forbes list of richest hip hop stars in 2012, Dr Dre used his star power as a respected artist to create a powerful headphone brand called “Beats by Dre.” The headphones are regarded as high quality by music industry experts and upon release drastically transformed the music market worldwide. What Dr Dre succeeded in doing is spreading the power of his personal brand across various dimensions within the art of music. The art of photography has found a new home on Instagram. The social network has re-ignited passion for a number of photography lovers. Brand names such as Kodak and Canon have over the years become synonymous with the art of photography. Think back to the way the Kodak brand has been advertised over the years- with the catchy slogan “a Kodak moment” remaining popular across generations.
A theatre brand known worldwide, which many performance artists aspire to be a part of is Broadway. Known to be home to some of the world’s most outstanding productions, Broadway is the ultimate stage which many performers wish to grace. This mega-brand, with all its glitz and glam usually leaves patrons mesmerized. A brand like this makes the theatre-experience so much more glamorous and takes the art of acting to new levels. While on the subject of new levels, in South Africa, a new breed of animation fanatics has birthed a burgeoning brand such as Mdu Comics. Across South African townships many black kids growing up used to identify with cartoons as ‘ama-popayi.’ Upon further inspection, it would seem that this term is a corruption of an old cartoon character called “Popeye.” So popular was this brand of cartoon show, it somehow evolved into
‘amaPopayi’ in South Africa. With the rise in popularity of a brand like Mdu Comics, there’s no doubt in my mind that the art of illustration and animation is bound to become a lot more popular with the youth of this country. With the advent of various brands on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that enterprising young people have found themselves drawn to the fashion world with the aim of creating their own popular brands. The fast-paced lifestyle we live in has meant that there are countless fads in this particular industry, but only a few brand names have stood the test of time and weathered storms over the years, establishing themselves as powerhouses. There’s no doubt how these brands have had a major impact on the way the art of fashion is viewed and appreciated. So next time you take a look at poster advertising a party, designed by a popular design brand, take
some time out to think about how much of an impact that brand has on your decision to attend that party or not. Next time you consider going to a music concert sponsored by a popular alcoholic beverage brand, think of how much of a difference it makes to the way you perceive the performance art. In conclusion, I’d have to say that brands have a HUGE impact on the way society views different art forms. Without considering the way the human mind works, people who’ve formed successful brands within the arts wouldn’t achieve quite as much status and power. As they say, the only constant is change, and the link between brands and art is one that keeps evolving over time. I can’t wait to see how art perceptions will change over the years in this regard.
By: Phumzile Twala
Is Art Enough? PIXELS OPINION
Perhaps one requires a barometer to measure the influences of Art holistically
Contemporary Art encompasses many different Art forms, from traditional media to more recently developed approaches, but the question one can emphatically state is, “Is Art enough?” Have there been enough showcases of various programmes on our television screens, especially from our local brands such as SABC that have distinguished art in South Africa from the rest of World? Most importantly have these programmes left an undeniable impact on the lives of local civilians? There are various types of Art forms, ranging from paintings, prints, photography and the most dominant- performance Art -which consist of musicians, poets, actors, dancers. One of the most enduring programmes on our television screens is Jam Alley which was showcased on SABC 1 for approximately eighteen years. This programme has empowered the youth in South Africa to be more informed about music on a global level, furthermore it also gave them the ability to showcase their vocal talent and be judged by local celebrities. Nevertheless
Jam Alley has undergone a paradigm shift since 2011 where the show predominately became about “Crew versus Crew”, which empowered the youth to showcase all their various ta lents from dance, rapping to singing. One of the shows that left an indisputable impact on poetry lovers was a show by Lebogang Mashile, called “Latitude.” I remember that even as a twelve- year- old when her show was broadcast in 2003 on SABC 1, I was in ‘Awe.’ Yes perhaps a twelve –year- old does not understand the Literature, in context of metaphors, or the various types of poetry such as ballade poetry types, limericks, narrative poetry or even sonnets, but just observing a young black woman using ‘spoken word’ was empowering, exquisite and left a sting of hope in my soul, that perhaps amazing writers like the likes of Lebo Mashile ,Napo Masheane, Ntsiki Mazwai can change the youth’s perspective on how they perceive life, and empower even more young people to be pioneers of their own destiny. The poetry show “Latitude” by Lebo
Mashile actually lead me to discover that Africa has had amazing writers who have never really been given the honour due. I discovered that a novelist by the name of Chinua Achebe who published a book called Things Fall Apart in 1958 which followed No Longer at Ease and Arrow of God ,has had a dramatic impact on the development of African Literature. One of our own poets born in 1938 Keorapetse ‘Willie’Kgositsile left South Africa in1961 as one of the first young ANC members instructed to do so by the leadership of the liberation movement. He studied and taught Literature and Creative Writing at numerous of Universities in the United States. Then along came a documentary on SABC called ‘Sisters with Voice’ which was basically a show about soulful ladies we have in South Africa. Each week it broadcast the detailed life of various women- from the life of Siphokazi, to the lovely songstress Zamajobe, to the most inspirational artist Thandiswa Mazwai, LoveGlori and the one and only Zahara!
his programme informed viewers on various female artists in the country and also changed the perception of viewers, because only then did more South Africans realise the immense number of talented female vocalists we have in this country. With all these various programmes that have been showcased on our television screens one still asks an imperative question as to whether art is enough. Are there enough art programmes on our television screens?! Perhaps one requires a barometer to measure the influences of Art holistically, and yes; stating the question “is art enough” can be a very contentious issue, due to various sentiments of individuals, however my personal view is that perhaps more art programmes can be broadcast on local television screens. Instead of just having music shows as the most dominant “artistic shows” on television, perhaps more poetry shows such as “Latitude” would be appreciated. In addition more shows such as contemporary dancing, graphic designing, photography, drawing and painting would interest various viewers. Pablo Fiasco once stated that “Art is a lie that enables us to realize the truth”, hence various art programmes on our television screens would influence the youth to perceive life differently and perhaps enable them to utilize their full potential when it comes to their artistic ability holistically. So yes perhaps art is not enough on our television screens because more truth should be conveyed through various forms of Art, nevertheless I am not disputing the impact that various Art programmes had such as Jam Alley, Jika Majika, Generations, Latitude and “Sister’s with Voice” have. All I am emphatically stating is that perhaps more can be done, and each individual is entitled to their own opinion because “The most beautiful experience we can have is mysterious-the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science” (said by Albert Einstein.)
By: Ingrid Puseletso Mokhitlinyane.
PIXELS UPC OMING MOVIES
THE HOST A
dapted from Stephenie Meyer’s 2008 novel, The Host is a story about the survival of love and the human spirit in a time of war. The film sees humans becoming hosts of unseen invaders. Their minds are taken over while their bodies remain intact.
Release Date: 29 March 2013 Director: Andrew Niccol Cast: Max Irons; Diane Kruger; Jake Abel A “wild” human is captured and invaded. The human, “Melanie” (played by Saoirse Ronan) is certain it is her end. The invading soul, “Wanderer” succeeds in invading Melanie’s body, however she encounters one difficulty she never expected: the former tenant of her body refusing to
relinquish possession of her mind. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love.
TEMPTATION With a cast that includes Brandy, Kim Kardashian, Lance Gross and Vanessa Williams, Tyler Perry’s Temptation is a film that explores lust and desire. The lead character is played by Jurnee Smollett. She plays an Ivy-League educated
Release Date: 29 March 2013 Director: Tyler Perry Cast: Jurnee Smollett; Lance Gross, Robbie Jones, Ella Joyce
marriage counselor who gives marital advice but finds it difficult to address issues with her own marriage. Bored with her life, she breaks her professional code and begins an affair with a smooth-talking client. Director Tyler Perry said, “This is definitely one of the most provocative movies24
sexually and otherwisethat I’ve made.” The film marks a departure from Perry’s previous dramas. He explores the nature of desire and the effects of tasting forbidden fruit. “This movie asks, are you sure you want to do this? It sends up a flag,” he added.
THE GOOD DINOSAUR
pple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, is set to be immortalized in a new film. Independent distributor Open Road Films recently revealed that the first biopic based on Jobs’ life will be released in April 2013.
The film was directed by Joshua Michael Stern. The period covered by the film includes the founding of Apple, his ousting from the company, the formation of NeXT and Pixar and his return to the company when Apple acquired NeXT.
Starring Ashton Kutcher as Jobs, the film focuses on his life from 1971 to 2000. Other cast members include Lukas Haas, Dermot Mulroney and Josh Gad.
This film is not to be confused with another project lined up, from the makers of “The Social Network.”
rom the producer of The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, comes a new movie set for a May 30, 2014 release. The Good Dinosaur, directed by Bob Peterson and codirected by Peter Sohn explores how dinosaurs are represented in stereotypes. Peterson said: “It’s time to do a movie where you get to know the dinosaur, what it’s BARCODED
HOLLYWOOD 2 SA MASTER
AND SHARLTO COPLEY MEET AGAIN: ELYSIUM. really like to be a dinosaur and to be with a dinosaur.” When the initial release date of November 27, 2013 was released, details of the plot were sketchy. After Pixar announced the title in April 2012 John Lasseter revealed details about the plot; “They are kind of cartoony but they are dinosaurs; they are not walking around with clothes on or anything like that, they still are kind of dinosaurs. We focused on mostly the planteaters, not the carnivores… Their society becomes more of an agrarian society, meaning farmers. They
become farmers. It’s a very funny story about a certain way of life that a young dinosaur has trouble fitting into and he ends up going on this quest. He kind of messes up and has to put everything right by going on this quest and on that quest he meets this character that is an outcast from his society too and so the two of them form this bond and it becomes this unique kind of story…” Peter Sohn remarked: “The title is deceptively simple. It has more meaning than it seems.”
his combination made magic with alien blockbuster ‘District 9.’ Now they bring us the new film called Elysium. Set in the year 2159, Elysium sees Copley starring as the film’s villain- Kruger. The oppressed people of the ruined planet Earth are pitted against the privileged elite aboard the Elysium space station. Of the inspiration for playing this role, Copley said,” That was the last time I saw a villain that inspired me: somebody that set the bar. There’s no connection or likeness
CLASSES IN FEBRUARY to the joker in terms of the character. What I did with him- which I try to do with all my original characters- was draw from real life.” He stars alongside Matt Damon (Max)-ex-convict and man-on-a-mission as well as Jodie Foster, who plays a government official intent on enforcing anti-immigration laws and keeping Elysium for the Elysians.
ichelle Danner, one of Hollywood’s finest film/casting directors and acting coach to A List Hollywood actors will be facilitating the “Hollywood 2 SA Master Classes.” The classes will be at the Old Mutual Theatre on the square in Johannesburg and at The Waterfront Theatre School in Cape Town during February 2013. Addi Lang, one of the South African representatives says, “The first phase is for Michelle to be able to identify talent through attendance to her master classes, with the
second phase being through the “Hollywood 2 SA Talent Search” which offers further opportunities to singers, songwriters, composers to enter the competition with a grande performance for the lucky 12 finalists to perform at the Old Mutual Theatre on the Square in Sandton on 24 February 2013.” Danner coaches A List Hollywood actors including Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz, Chris Rock, Christian Slater and Gerard Butler. For more information on booking, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Addi Lang on 082 559 6702. BARCODED
GETTING GRAPHIC Why the name Joey Hi-Fi? Joey Hi-Fi was born partly out of necessity, my love of comic books and an episode of the Simpsons. I was working full-time at a design studio, but wanted to work on illustration & book cover commissions after hours. Freelance work was generally frowned upon while employed full-time at a design studio -so I decided to hide my identity and started taking on additional work under the guise of my alter-ego Joey Hi-Fi. A mild mannered designer by day - a mysterious illustrator by night! The name was born while watching an episode of the Simpsons (where Homer adopts the power name of ‘Max Power’) with a friend. When did you fall in love with art? At a very young age I started drawing - and have never stopped. Initially it was a love of comic books (2000 A.D was a massive influence) that provided my inspiration and drove my artistic passion. But later (as a teen) I discovered and fell in love with graphic design and book cover illustration. Happily today I have the opportunity to combine the three on regular occasions. Take us through a typical day in your life?
My work hours are usually dictated by what deadline or project I’m working on and often by what country the client is in. Time zone differences lead to some eccentric work hours. So I generally don’t have a set routine. I’m a habitual night owl, so I often do my best work late in the evening- which means in the mornings I’m more zombie than human. Thankfully I prefer to work from home - so the commute to my studio room takes about 10 seconds. After a quick bit of morning admin (replying to emails, managing my Twitter account and so on) I jump into the work for the day- which could include anything from book covers to editorial illustration. I try to fit in at least 20 minutes of exercise a day (either walking or running) - which I also find is a good time to do some brainstorming. I’ve found I often get my best ideas while engaged in some form of exercise. My work day can end anytime between 7pm to 3a.m, with a few hours of relaxation in between. (If I’m lucky.) How would you go about working on an illustration? Take us through the steps. It varies from project to project. For book covers & editorial illustration it begins with reading the book,
article or manuscript. I then do some rough concept sketches (in either pencil or ink) or brainstorming. Once I’ve mapped out a general direction and illustration style I then move onto the computer. There I refine my rough sketch (In illustrator or Photoshop using my Wacom tablet) until I feel it is good enough to present to a client. From here it depends on the feedback from client. Either I make slight changes, or if the first draft of the illustration/design is met with approval, I proceed with crafting the final version of the illustration. Do you prefer sketches or working on computer? I’ll have to say both. But for the kind of projects I work on - I find my computer is an invaluable tool in implementing my ideas. I read somewhere that you don’t like drawing hair! True or false? Kind of true. I find it a challenge. For some reason I’m obsessed with drawing hair perfectly - and thus spend way to much time agonizing over the details. In your opinion, what ‘it factor’ does one need to make it as a successful illustrator? Besides natural talent; I’d say passion and drive. BARCODED
Tell us about the graphic novel you’re working on. Currently it’s languishing in the long all encompassing shadow of my lifeblood paying commissions! The lack of sunlight driving it into a deep hibernation.
hard work worthwhile.
I joke that it will only see the light of day in 2040. (At this glacial pace, it’s becoming reality!)
Right now it would be to illustrate and write my own graphic novel.
I don’t want to say too much, but it’s a collection of interconnected horror stories set in South Africa. I’m a massive fan of the horror genre and grew up scouring cafe’s and book shops for rare copies of EERIE, House of Mystery and Tales from the Crypt. I’m writing and illustrating it myself between paying commissions. The effort of which is killing me slowly between the hours of 10pm till midnight. This is the only time I seem to get to work on it! You’ve won a number of awards over the years. (Congrats on your Ranting Dragon’s and Paranormal Cover Art wins!) Have these awards changed your outlook towards your craft? It’s fantastic getting recognition for your work. Especially in a field you’re passionate about - which for me is book cover design and illustration. So it has inspired me to keep improving and have the confidence to try new things. So in that respect yes.
What’s your illustration brief? Tough one.
Do you prefer sketches or working on computer?
But I’ve also always wanted to design book covers for authors I admire. Jonathan Lethem, Mark Z. Danielewski and the interdimensional cyber-ghost of Philip K Dick – I hope you’re reading this.
I’ll have to say both. But for the kind of projects I work on - I find my computer is an invaluable t o o l i n
What’s your take on South African illustration and graphic design? South Africa is brimful of exciting world class talent. I can only talk for Cape Town - but a host of local illustrators and designers are regularly sought out by clients beyond our borders.
implementing my ideas.
In book cover design, putting a face on another creative’s work is something I take very, very seriously. So if both the author and publisher love what I’ve done – that is usually what makes all the late nights and
We must be doing something right. What does ART mean to you? In the distant past, people told stories through art as a way of communicating ideas to those who were unable to read. So to me, Art is about telling a story. But whatever you define as ‘Art’ - in the end I think it should always move you in some way. By: Phumzile Twala
She’s known as an all-round entertainer. She’s known for her struggles. She’s known for being part of arguably one of the most famous American showbiz families. She’s regarded as a sex symbol, stylista and a pop icon. Before the Nipplegate saga; before the yo-yo dieting; before the cosmetic enhancements and before the engagement to a billionaire, there was little Janet.
orn May 16 1966 in Gary Indiana, in the US, Janet Damita Jo Jackson is the last born of ten children, born to Katherine and Joe Jackson. Growing up, Janet had aspirations of becoming a race-horse jockey. But growing up in a family of entertainers meant her path was set-out for her quite early on. She once commented, “No one ever asked me if I wanted to go into show business…it was expected.” While her older brothers found mainstream success as the “Jackson 5,” Janet started her career on television on the CBS variety show The Jacksons (1976.) The following year she got a role on the sitcom Good Times, playing Penny Gordon Woods. Her first recording was released in 1978, called “Long Song for Kids.” For the next few years she continued her career on television.
In 1982 her debut album (Janet Jackson) was released, under the tutelage of Angela Winbush, Rene Moore and Leon F. Sylvers III. Her father, known for running the careers of her brothers, oversaw the entire production of this album. Two years later he roped Tito, Jackie and Michael in to help produce her sophomore album.
“When I think of You,” “Control” and the abstinence anthem “Let’s wait a while.” This album put Janet on the map as a pop megastar. 14 million copies sold and Grammy nomination for Album of the Year in 1987 certified Janet as a rising sensation in the pop world. Her follow-up album in September of ’89 symbolized a move towards more socially conscious messages in her music. “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814” peaked at number one on the Billboard 200. She later had a tour, in support off this studio album- which became the most successful debut tour by any recording artist. In 1991 Janet signed with Virgin Records- penning a deal estimated between $32-50 million. She went on to work on her first feature film role in “Poetic Justice”
Shortly afterwards Janet decided to separate her business affairs from her family. Signed to A&M Records at the time, producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were hired to work with her. The resultant album was called “Control.” Jam commented, “We wanted to do an album that would be in every black home in America…we were going for ‘the’ black album of all time.” The album spawned hits like “What have you done for me lately,” “Nasty,”
(co-starring Tupac Shakur.) When she finished working on the film, she began recording her first album for Virgin Records. The album, which she titled “Janet,’ as a way of separating herself from the notions that she was riding on her family’s name, was an announcement of her sexual maturity. Worldwide sales of this album exceeded 20 million copies. The number one hit single “That’s the way Love goes” won the 1994 Grammy Award for Best R&B song. During her success as a female entertainer, Janet has had her fair share of relationship ups and downs. In 1984 she eloped with James DeBarge, a popular R&B singer. The marriage was annulled in mid-1985. Hr second marriage came in the
form of dancer, songwriter and director Rene Elizondo Jr in 1991. Rolling Stone Magazine featured Janet on its cover in September 1993 with Elizondo’s hands covering Jackson’s breasts. The pair divorced in 1998. Four years later she began a relationship with record producer Jermaine Dupri. Seven years later she ended her relationship with him. Her collaboration with her brother Michael, “Scream” is featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the “Most Expensive Video Ever Made” at a cost of $7 million. Her renewal of her Virgin Records contract for a reported $80 million dollars established her as the highest paid recording artist in contemporary music, at the time. “The Velvet Rope” was her sixth studio album release and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.
The release had 3 hit singles: “Got ‘til it’s gone,” “Together Again” and “I Get Lonely.” In 1998 she began her Velvet Rope World Tour. By the time the tour ended, in 1999, Billboard magazine ranked Janet as the second most successful artist of the decade, behind Mariah Carey.
Abdul, Michael Kidd and Tina Landon. Many of her videos were choreographed using influences from Broadway theatre.
deeply sexual- and don’t mind letting the world know. For me, sex has become a celebration, a joyful part of the creative process.”
Possessing a mezzo-soprano 3 octave vocal range, Janet has endured much criticism over the years for not having a very powerful voice. Many critics noted that her voice is often enveloped by the production of her music. Her voice has often been called ‘thin’ and ‘strangely erotic.’ David Ritz has compared Jackson’s musical style to that of Marvin Gaye, stating “Like Marvin, autobiography seemed the sole source of her music. Her art, also like Marvin’s floated over a reservoir of secret pain.” During her career, her style has gone from politically aware lyrics to sexually stimulating vocals. During her promotion for “Janet,” she said, “I love feeling
Jet Magazine reported “Janet’s innovative stage performances during her world tours have won her a reputation as a world-class performer. Various artists such as Aaliyah, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Rihanna have named Jackson as one of the biggest inspirations of their careers.” With nearly 30 years since her breakout album dropped, Janet Jackson has mesmerized millions of fans around the globe. She continues to transform her repertoire and has truly earned herself legendary status. By: Phumzile Twala
At the beginning of the new millennium, she starred alongside Eddie Murphy in “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.” In 2001 her 7th album’s title track “All for You” debuted on the Hot 100 at number 14, the highest debut ever for a single that was not commercially available. She embarked on a tour in July 2001, which received mixed reviews. Over the years, Janet’s tours have been lauded for the explosive theatrical performances she’s worked with professional choreographers such Paula
ON THE BRINK OF LOVE
CREATIVE CHRONICLES Standing outside the imposing entrance to the venue, I hesitate to knock as a voice filters through,” Silence on set… and…action!” Gontse is clearly braver than me as she knocks during one of the silent moments. A friendly gentleman (Mdi) opens the door. “Hi I’m Phumi, from Barcoded magazine, I pipe up.” Seated his in his director’s throne, Tumi (Motang) recognizes the name and motions for us to enter. We greet everyone around the room and are met with warm responses. We’ve arrived just as they’re busy with a bedroom scene. Noticing the equipment and items across the counter tops, it’s evident that it’s been a long day. Man of the moment Clint (Brink) comes over to introduce himself. We’re at the video shoot for his first solo single, called “All I have to Give.” His good friend Tumi has lent his directorial skills to the production for the day. Clint tells us they’ve been at it since 8am. One of his Scandal co-stars is wrapping up the bedroom scene while another (Lorcia Cooper) says her goodbyes as she departs. Statuesque Lindo Dlamini (who’s the coordinator for the shoot) strolls over and introduces himself. Another genuinely hospitable character, he gives us the lowdown on the cast and crew involved with this production, while effortlessly putting us at ease by mentioning “Everyone’s family here.” “We have Mike Sono as D.O.P, Clint as producer, Petronella Tshuma as lead female actress, Linda Zondi handling wardrobe, Zolani Bokwa as EPK and Mndenge Sibande as first assistant A.C,” he begins. Nicole Beeby’s apartment lends itself to a seemingly smooth production. I get the sense that Lindo is the kind of guy everyone wants to have on set. He carries a “voice of reason” type of aura, yet is firm enough to run a tight ship. As cocoordinator, he ensures everything runs smoothly and on time. Thankfully, he’s also very forthcoming regarding promotion of the work. “The video’s sponsored by Jean-Paul Gaultier, so you’ll notice in a few shots, we focus on the brand. It has a very
warm and intimate feel to it. We wanted to capture an aesthetic feel to it. It’s similar to your Victor Duplaix kind of sound. We tried to move away from over-selling the glamour really,” he elaborates.
Clint jumps in, “It’s my first solo single.” (Clint was previously part of a group called Soulstone.) “This is my first solo video as well, having produced two videos before. I just wanted to get an organic sense to it and we really just wanted to make sure that the visuals correlate with the audio,” he continues. Social media is a platform that local entertainment personalities have utilized advantageously to keep in touch with their fans. “Even when we were looking for a female lead, I went onto Twitter to give newcomers exposure. I wanted it to be fun and interactive.” The woman who ultimately got the part is his petite Scandal colleague Petronella Tshuma. “To be honest, I always had her in mind for the role,” he admits. Describing the direction his music’s taking Clint says, “It does have a “lounge” kind of element. I’m always keen to try new things, you know? But it’s still very much influenced by R&B soul.” His love for this genre is evident in the gleam on his face as he alludes to the type of generation from which he comes. “I love your Mint Conditions, your Tanks, you know?” The album features the talents of Mr Callum, from the Mother City, as well as a singer, rapper and Good Hope FM DJ, E.B.I. “I also worked with Nothende and have an R&B track called Sex Movie featuring Ferdy Ferd.” Not signed to a major label presently, the album will be released by his company, On The Brink Productions. “You know, if I do sign with a major, it would have to be something in line with what I’m about- integrity and not about cheapening the kind of music I do. Something holistic and that’s about growth,” he states.
“Stand up for your art,” he advises. I couldn’t help but admire Lindo’s vocals when he was harmonizing earlier on, so it was interesting to find out that he’s working on his debut EP, under Clint’s guidance. Is there a tour lined up? “Yes! If people book me,” he enthuses. “I will say though, that I think the SA market’s still a bit confused by me. I think they’re struggling to get their heads around me succeeding at the different media I use to express myself- acting, producing, singing… But this album’s all about love!”
With that said, we get back to watching Tumi doing his thing. Observing him and Clint interacting, there’s a clear sense of camaraderie and understanding. The crew sets up for the last shots at the present location. Mike “Black Jesus” Sono is an imposing figure on set, yet he executes every shot with expert precision, working hand in hand with the rest of the crew and director. Tumi, who has a multitude of experience in the film industry, tells us that they hope the video gets a message of love across. “It’s about promoting love!” he explains. He possesses a very calm, inviting energy on set, and appreciates everyone’s efforts. He goes on to crack a few witty jokes in between takes. With a charming demeanor, the only time he raises his voice is when he yells “Action and Cut!” as he goes about getting the perfect shot. The second half of the shoot was at the newly-popular Zone 6 Club, in Diepkloof Soweto. Here we meet the rest of the cast. The talented Tshepo Kgame performs a capoeira set in the video as well. All in all, a day well-spent! It was refreshing getting a better understanding of how much work goes into creating this particular work of art. Hopefully fans will appreciate the final product offering from Clint Brink. For now, it’s All he has to Give…
By: Phumzile Twala.
Photography By: Gontse More
AB C THE
orn in Graskop, Mpumalanga, Tumelo Dibakwane is a name often mentioned in hip hop circles around South Africa. Okay, maybe not his government name, but definitely his stage name: AB Crazy.
Cashtime Fam. The ensemble, which originally also included AB Fab and Molly released an album called Now or Never. The album’s hit single, Goodbye, produced by AB, charted on various shows countrywide.
He’s worked his magic alongside numerous local artists over the past few years. His first foray into fame came after winning a hip hop competition in his hometown in 2001. This created more buzz around his name and increased his popularity among hip hop lovers.
A short while later he became the third member to leave the group. AB attributes his departure to his desire of pursuing a solo career. He released the single Man of the Moment to much acclaim; setting him along the path towards further success. The track served as an exciting prelude to his debut solo album.
He later worked with production unit Octave Couplet (They’ve written and produced for HHP, Khuli Chana, Teargas, Zeus, Morale and Maggz.) Upon leaving Octave, he continued producing for a while. Needless to say his exceptional skills landed on the pinnae of the right people. In this case it was SA hip hop super-group Teargas, who decided to form the collective
With his music’s popularity and hard work, it wasn’t long before his efforts paid off. His talent got him scouted by Kalawa Jazmee and he signed with the label. “I’m still young and new to the game, so Kalawa is perfect for me to achieve my goals. These guys know the industry and how things work. I’m learning,” he reveals. BARCODED
His self-produced solo offering, Homecoming was released in 2012. He admits that he hasn’t reached most of his expectations yet, although the album has a number of tracks which have achieved commercial success. His love of neo-soul and RnB is evident in his work; he raps and also does vocals on some of the tracks. Regarding his decision to produce 99% of the album, he says,” I always wanted to produce my own album; at least the first one.” With a heavy Kanye West (US hip hop producer/rapper) influence, it’s interesting to find out which other producers he admires. “Just Blaze is a dope producer too. Locally, it would have to be Amu,” he says. Revealing some of his trade secrets, AB lets us in on his creative process: “I make the beat first and the rest follows.” The album content is peppered with a few autobiographical songs- laying the foundation for the message he’s portraying. AB admits that it was his intention for this album to introduce the listener to who he is. A track laced with Heavy 808s (produced by Bongani Fassie) is one of two tracks on which he’s featured with other artists. Pro, Mr Selwyn and Stoan share some classic bars with the young buck on the track Pop Bottles. 46
Industry critics have described his sound as ‘soulful hip hop.’ His opinion on classifying his work is,” To me it’s just hip hop. I guess it’s just more honest than most rap albums out there.” Asked whom he’d still love to work with, his response is a succinct “Professor and Berita.” The first is a kwaito stalwart who found mainstream success with hit tracks like Current and Jezabel. The latter is a Zimbabwean-born Afro-soul songstress with a soulful, mature contemporary sound laced with Xhosa lyrics. “I’ve recorded tracks with Uhuru, Lando and Busiswa. So look out for that,” he points out. The journey towards Homecoming has been great, according to AB. “Everything went as planned; no regrets.” A brand that is sure to climb to greater heights in the near future, AB Crazy seems to be a man focused on what he wants. With the right amount of support his name will be mentioned with legends of the game in no time. Homecoming is available at LooknListen, SuperCD, Reliable music and Musica outlets nationwide. By: Phumzile Twala (@PHUMIT)
GUESS WHO? So we decided to have a bit of fun and compile a feature with a few snaps of some of the worldâ€™s most famous musicians. Can you guess who they are?
eteran songstress Mariah Carey has been recruited to record a song for the “Oz the Great and Powerful” soundtrack. The mother of two co-wrote and co-produced the track, called “Almost Home.” The clip for the track will debut March 8th, the opening day for the film starring James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz. The pop icon is also working on a new album. Producer Bryan-Michael Cox told MTV News, “She was committed to making it before she got pregnant. Then she got pregnant and she took time off. Then after she came back, we started really vibing again and we picked up right where we left off. I just feel like between Jermaine [Dupri,] myself and her, we came up with a few things that are really really a solid body of work.” Her latest single, Triumphant, features Maybach Music’s Meek Mill and Rick Ross. Carey is also a judge on American Idol.
he city of Cape Town will be hosting the inaugural Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference. The iconic Cape Town City Hall has been named as the location of choice for the conference, which aims to encourage networking and sharing of information between everyone involved in the African music community. Exhibition stands, a networking lounge, workshops, panel discussions and a concert showcasing African talent are lined up. The conference director and Black Mango Music founder, Trenton Birch said, “Our aim is to make the conference inclusive by including representatives from all genres of music and cultural backgrounds.” The organisers want people new to the industry to experience the artist empowerment workshops and to have the opportunity to engage with music business stakeholders. The conference presents an exciting list of keynote speakers, panellists and workshop leaders from all over the world. Dates: Monday 1 April and Tuesday 2 April 2013.
orldwide You-Tube online music show BalconyTV hit Mzansi shores over a year ago. The phenomenon features bands and solo artists from around the world performing on scenic balconies. The Joburg edition sees Braamfontein’s exclusive rooftop venue, Randlords selected to showcase the country’s finest musicians. With over 70 performances so far, the channel is steadily growing and building up an impressive collection
of unique performances. The SA edition has featured the likes of The Fridge, Lonehill Estate, Josie Field, McCree and Uju. Visit www.balconytv.com/ johannesburg to check out some of the country’s hottest talent performing at one of the city’s most spectacular venues- with the stunning backdrop of Jozi’s skyscrapers. Balcony TV Johannesburg is hosted by Elle Franco and Julian von Plato. 51
T R I
According to research presented May 6 in 2009 at Johns Hopkins Universityâ€™s â€œLearning, Arts and the Brainâ€? Summit in Baltimore, children who receive training to improve their focus and attention perform better not only on attention tasks but also on intelligence tests. Researchers found that Art training might similarly affect a wide range of cognitive domains.
WHY THE ARTS PURE ART REPORT
MATTER: ACCORDING TO JEROME KAGAN, PhD OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY. SIX REASONS WHY ART EDUCATION SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED DURING PRIMARY SCHOOL – (BRAIN CONFERENCE: MAY 6 2009, BALTIMORE, US)
1 Art education boosts the self-confidence among children who are behind in mastery of reading and arithmetic. 2 An arts curriculum which has a more recent history may help the middle-class children who have been infantilized by over-protective parents who were excessively concerned with the child’s grades and talent profile. 3- Better ability to balance 3 distinct forms or tools that the mind uses to acquire, store and communicate knowledge. 4- The opportunity to provide youth with some values they feel warrant consistent loyalty. 5- It allows a number of children to work as a cooperative unit when they compose a mural or play in the school band or orchestra. 6- Art and music provided opportunities for all children to experience and to express feelings and conflicts that are not yet fully conscious and cannot be expressed coherently in words.
PURE ART FOCUS
BANKING ON ART.
Absa Bank, which was recently voted as the number one retail bank for the 2012 Sunday Times Top Brands Survey owns one of SA’s most prestigious art competitions. The Absa L’Atelier Competition offers emerging artists aged between 21 and 35 the opportunity to receive recognition for their work and develop their talents abroad.
he South African Art industry has attracted the interest of corporate entities over a number of years. Being able to associate a corporate brand with a viable art brand or initiative is the incentive that has kept corporate brands interested in such an arrangement. Looking at South African banks, some of the major commercial ones have a rich history of supporting the arts industry. Every year new initiatives are introduced to support the arts.
The bank is also the custodian of the largest South African corporate art collection. This competition offers the top two artists a range of prizes as well as an opportunity to study at the Cite Internationale Des Arts in the heart of Paris. This brand’s association with art has even led to it being referred to in the media as ‘the bank inside an art gallery.’ The Absa brand has linked its support to various events, such as Aardklop, Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunsfees (held annually in Oudshoorn.)
Standard Bank, with over 150 years of banking history in South Africa is a brand that has thrown its weight behind events such as the Jazz Festival held every year in Grahamstown as part of the National Arts Festival. The bank also owns a collection of corporate and African art. The African art collection is jointly owned by the bank and the University of the Witwatersrand.
A popular event sponsored by this institution is the Design Indaba. According to their website, “the fundamental belief of the Design Indaba is that creativity will fuel economic revolution in South Africa, and it seems to be achieving this goal year on year.”
With a range of African headrests that date back to the Old Kingdom of Egypt to wood figurines, drums, masks, beadwork and ceramic pieces, the art offers insight into development in Africa’s culture. Another one of the most popular arts initiatives Standard Bank is known for is the Standard Bank Young Artist Awards. Established in 1984 as a way to recognize young emerging South African artists who demonstrate outstanding artistic talent, they offer winners a cash prize. Winners are selected from 5 disciplines and are also afforded a platform to create a new work for the National Arts Festival, with sufficient financial backing.
First National Bank (FNB) has used its brand power to support initiatives such as the Joburg Art Fair and the renowned Dance Umbrella. Held since 2008, the event fulfills a vital educational role for scholars and for those interested in becoming more art literate. It’s encouraging to see local financial institutions supporting the arts industry by providing much needed resources. 56
THE WORLDâ€™S TOP TEN MOST
(ACCORDING TO THE LATEST FORBES LIST) IBM (Brand valued at $48.5 billion) Apple (Brand valued at $87.1 billion)
Cisco (Brand valued at $26.3 billion) General Electric (Brand valued at $33.7 billion)
McDonalds (Brand valued at $37.4 billion)
Coca-Cola (Brand valued at $50.2 billion)
Google (Brand valued at $37.6 billion) BMW (Brand valued at $26.3 billion)
Microsoft (Brand valued at $54.7 billion) Intel (Brand valued at $32.3 billion) 58
LYRICAL DEVIANTS ‘ZEROGRAVITY’ PULLING MASSES TOGETHER
hey describe themselves as a brand by the youth and for the youth. Three guys who go by the name of ZeroGravity aim to change the world- one song at a time. Originally a duo formed by rappers Mjayx and Tahsaw, who hail from Diepkloof, Soweto; they added a third member in February 2012- one who goes by the name of Medaphorz.
unorthodox style of rap, which they say is closely related to the now popular ‘Kasi Rap.” Blending their socially conscious lyrics with club-beats and elements of ragga vibes is what makes this collective stand out. “What we are doing is music for the masses not just for the hip hop heads or for street rappers who host cipher sessions at the corner,” they say.
ZeroGravity’s lyrical content is about addressing positive and negative issues affecting South African youth who hail from locations all over the country. The trio describe themselves as a voice for the youth of SA and is “lyrically defying the laws of nature.”
They have a collective dream to conquer the African continent by showing the continent that it’s possible to come from a disadvantaged background and overcome challenging conditions.
What makes ZeroGravity unique is their
Contact them here: Facebook- ZeroGravity Twitter- @ZeroGravity126 Bookings- 071 885 5444
PURE ART - 5 DOWN
QAIRO OF SA HIP HOP BAND, FUTURE HISTORY GOES DOWN MEMORY LANE
here are more than a handful of brands that I remember from my childhood that remind me of the type of art I do and evoke nostalgia when it comes to the type of music I do. With an advertising background and a passion for brands and aesthetics, to limit myself to only 5 is quite a challenge. I first had Converse, Roland, Yamaha, The Source, Vibe and XXL magazines memories roaming my head but I eventually settled on some others… APPLE The brand on top of my list and probably the same for many people in various creative
industries is Apple Mac. Everyone always speaks of the Apple Brand as synonymous with Steve Jobs but I’m the honourary tech nerd who went and read Steve Wozniak’s biography instead. To understand how I qualify my brand choice you’d have to know a little about me, so I’ll elaborate. I studied Graphic Design at some unnecessarily expensive college. At the time, despite my rich family history of music, I was too cowardly to choose music since the average struggling musician seemed so poor to me. Chuckle. So design was my next choice. I often spent my college days pulling several all-nighters completing design
PURE ART - 5 DOWN
projects on an Apple Mac. Today it’s anyone’s toy but back then it was specifically made for creatives. (Ahem. Please don’t estimate my age but back then it was the Power Mac G3 that came in different colours.) Soon after college I worked briefly in advertising before going to market research where I enjoyed video editing on the Mac G5. It wasn’t long before I decided that I’d much rather pursue these grandeur dreams of a music career. So after abruptly handing in my resignation one fedup day, I took my last paycheque, paid off some debts, enrolled into music school and bought myself an iPod with all the accessories! That Apple advert with the silhouettes still sparks nostalgia for me. I used that iPod daily to and from music school and made friends with it that are now my band mates. Nowadays we plot our musical ideas on the iPad Garage Band & other useful apps as well. ADIDAS I recently spotted my first pair of Adidas kicks from when I was 15 around the house; all white with navy stripes. It took my memory way back to when I was the only girl in my high school that loved hanging with the white boys for imports of new rap albums that they always got first … coz I was tryna hear THAT! They had the new Wu Tang Clan, Onyx, Grave Diggers, N.W.A, Fugees, Eric Sermon, Ice Cube & Ice-T to mention just a few. Music that made me curious and when I went to research more about Hip Hop I came across The Sugar Hill Gang Rapper’s
Delight among other things…but what really caught my attention was Run DMC in Adidas branded gear head to toe! Over the years for me that brand became synonymous with Hip Hop culture since they had made it so cool and then later Missy Elliot made it appealing for women too. Now if I put my Adidas jumper on for FUTURE HISTORY band rehearsal nights only to find that Truth (rapper) is wearing his Ghostface Killah Adidas sneaks on, it makes me feel ready and hyped for the music we’ll create. YFM It’s common to hear my age group say “Yfm aint what it used to be”. But really we’re the ones who grew up along with our favourite DJ’s and co-hosts who have since found more age-appropriate homes at other radio stations to further nurture their careers at. We moved with the times and passed on the baton. That’s the part we often tend to forget when we reminisce about the good old days of a strong Yfm brand that inspired us in how we lived our very lives. To know that there was finally a platform for youth to express ourselves and to slang how we wanted to and listen to the type of music that spoke to us gave me the courage to wanna do this music and be heard too. It was a brand that boasted this exciting lifestyle and finally made our own music popular as well as gave poetry a voice on broadcast media. Yfm pioneered
many things, and as a movement and a brand it ignited the passion within me to pursue my songwriting and my calling and quit hiding. The network of people it got me associated with one way or another resulted in collabos, features and performances from then until now with artists including (but not limited to) the late Lebo Mathosa, Lebo Mashile, Dj Mbuso, Kabomo, Mxo, Sol Phenduka as well as producer Big Dreamz with whom I had a soulful lounge track that Yfm gladly playlisted last year. TDK CASSETTES When I was young, TDK Cassettes were the difference between you knowing or not knowing the lyrics to the hottest, most current song on radio. As long as you weren’t the sucker who left a tape out in the sun! Our young minds knew nothing of copyright infringements and such. We simply wanted the music quick-fast and first. I’ve never met anyone of my peers who didn’t tape from the radio. The TDK brand got me mixtapes galore. If you got yourself the 60 you were alright…but if you got the 90 back then, it felt like you had a terabyte of audio storage space. And I was so young I wasn’t even aware of the concept of studio yet or how these awesome songs got onto the radio. All I knew was if I pressed record on my Boombox I could tape myself on that TDK singing too and playback to listen. So on a simple level it helped me with
self-discovery at an early age as a vocalist, as well as how to commit to memorizing lyrics to a whole song. SPRITE As part of FUTURE HISTORY, a Live Hip Hop Band, it would be only right that I acknowledge the contributions that Sprite as a brand has made to hip hop as a culture. Sprite gets into the heart of the culture and last year I saw it quite visible as a sponsor at S.A events but I’m also waiting to see the brand use our hip hop artists in S.A on TV commercials too. Looking back on early childhood because we were largely influenced by the U.S we saw a lot of those Sprite adverts- Ads that spoke to a generation who had their own way of doing things. I can remember the one with Grand Puba and them (Pete Rock, CL Smooth) in studio; “I give a pound to my man with my right hand, coz I, I keep the Sprite in the left hand…” The definition of fresh!
Qairo. Twitter: @qairomusic Facebook: Qairo Muso soundcloud.com/qairo-muso http://qairo.wozaonline.co.za
SONY XPERIA Z
t’s that time of year when major companies declare their stake in the running for coolest gadgets on the market by introducing what they think will be a consumer favourite for the year. And all this goes down at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Nevada where gadget addicts pretty much go to drool and well yah… today I’m profiling a profiling a phone that reads like a dream on paper but I’ll await the time when it lands in my hands allowing me to have my way with it. The arrival of the Sony Xperia Z was announced at the C. E. S. They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas but in this case I hope that rule does not apply when it comes to these awesome gadgets. As always Sony are maintaining their standards of delivering quality products that prove to be a problem for their competitors and a guilty pleasure for their loyal customers. They’ve taken their experience in TV
Technology coupled with that of their camera technology and compacted it into this latest offering. The Sony Xperia Z, the Exmur RS feature for mobile making it the world’s first image sensor with HDR (High Dynamic Range) video for smartphones. Meaning clear and dynamic images against strong backlight ensuring that you capture razor sharp pictures and videos in whatever conditions you might be faced with. All this gives you a Full HD 5” reality Display with mobile Bravia Engine 2 for brightness and quality viewing. Easy and fast One-touch functions to wirelessly share music, photos and videos to any NFC enabled Sony gadgets including speakers, headphones and new Bravia TV and can also be used as a remote control making the experience of viewing your photos and videos that much more enjoyable. The new design is water and dust resistant for those of us who enjoy
extreme fun; Omni balance with a reflective surface that is 7.9mm and a high durable tempered glass with an anti-shatter film on the front and back. Full HD 1080 reality snapdragon 54 pro quad core, 13 megapixel camera for those photo maniacs and yes it’s a fast capture camera (46LTE). The Sony media apps offer constant entertainment and content that now gives you new ways of sharing Walkman for music and downloaded content. Movie apps that enable you to discover online and offline content through a single access point. Access to TV series and movies will be much more convenient. The album allows for facebook integration with photos also browsing photos by location. There are NFC enabled headsets or those who enjoy their tunes. It’s the SBH 20 and the wireless DR-BT N200W both which enhance the experience of the Sony Xperia Z. Now from my observation one can
see that Sony went all out to bring on outstanding product that packs a punch when it comes to its technological offering. I’m all for power but if it comes at the expense of other essential features to the phone then that kind of defeats the purpose of it. But Sony have wisened up to this problem and have installed a feature on Xperia Z called the Battery Stamina mode that improves the battery life by 4 times longer by shutting down automatically those battery draining apps when the screen is off and starts again when it’s on. Basically it has all the specifications expected from a premium smartphone coupled with Sony’s unique technology, design and connectivity that delivers rich user experiences. The Sony Xperia Z will launch on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and will be upgraded to 4.2 and it launches in South Africa this February. By: Bafentsoe Dopeill Art Molete
artists have many Jo’burg places they can claim as their terrain around the CBD.
These are places where they can express themselves and hone their crafts. One of these places is at the epicentre of Maboneng Precinct: POPArt Centre. The area has steadily gained popularity since inception. One of the founding members, Shoki Mokgapa tells us that initially it was intended to be an actors’ centre. “POPArt stands for People of Performing Arts. It was started by myself, Hayleigh Evans and Orly Shapiro. We were a group of actors who wanted to create a centre for performing arts.” Little did they know that their idea would morph into something else… “It actually became more of a theatre. What we do is give performers a platform for showcasing their plays or shows. Typically your artists who may not have opportunities to have their work showcased elsewhere,” she continues.
A major selling factor for the centre is the fact that the show content is unrestricted. Shoki mentions that it’s part of their mandate to “do away with bureaucracy.” “Another thing I should mention is that the shows we have on are all originals. From there on they move onto different venues.” The arrival of the centre couldn’t have come at a better time. At a time when young urban artists are returning to authentic art experiences, this venue opened its doors to create an environment that welcomes the quirky, the raunchy and the underrated. According to Shoki, the brand is doing far better that they thought it would. “It’s actually become more of an indie theatre that allows for more experimental type work,” she explains. Shoki tells us that “We think a lot of people are loving the brand because it’s new and interests them. We’ve had overwhelming support from
people. I mean, in the 18 months we’ve been operating for, our reputation has improved in a major way.”
hosting workshops for inner-city kids. So we’ll be drawing on some of her experience to initiate programmes involving communities in town, like old age homes and inner city youth.”
A familiar phrase that’s often mentioned when it comes to various facets of the arts is “lack of funding.”
They’ll be picking up from where they left off in 2012, where they introduced “The Box,” which is a platform for standup comedians to strut their stuff. “A lot of comedians are approaching us for opportunities to showcase on-man shows,” Shoki notes. “This year we’ll be having two international productions- one from the UK and another from the US. We have lots more in store for 2013. People can check out what’s coming up on our website: www.popartcentre.co.za. The space has an intimate setting, so it lends itself to a more acoustic kind of set-up.”
Unfortunately the ladies of POPArt have also had to grapple with this monster. Asked about the challenges they’ve encountered along the way, Shoki says, “Funding will always remain a big issue. Since we started, right up until now, everything’s been self-funded. I mean we’ve had to find a way of sustaining the space. So managing our time also comes into it. Hayleigh is also the brand manager for Maboneng Precinct and Orla is also a mom. I guess one of the greatest rewards as well is that all three of us were friends before everything. So merging our three different personalities is something we’re working on too.”
The centre can accommodate up to 80 people and is a popular rehearsal space for dance groups as well.
Shoki reveals the centre’s upcoming plans: “Hayleigh has experience of
By: Phumzile Twala
The POPArt Centre is open from Wednesday to Sunday, with the line-up including: Wed: Open Stage Night | Thurs:A Night with a Songwriter. Fri: Causing A Scene | Sat: Jozi House of Poetry. The Box Stand Up Comedy. 68
OFF RAMP - OPINION
or me, the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions brands is fashion. Admittedly, I’m no fashionista whatsoever; (I survive on a staple diet of sneakers and jeans with a smattering of stylish accessories.) But I have a few friends and cousins who absolutely adore branded wear. Some only wear Reebok, while others swear by Nine West handbags. While the West has had brands such as Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Calvin Klein and Versace for years, South African fashion has only recently witnessed the blossoming popularity of brands like Stoned Cherrie, Loxion Kulca, Black Coffee, Sun Goddess, Amakip-Kip and ButanWear. Early into the 21st century Stoned Cherrie grabbed the industry by the hemline when their urban Afroretro designs changed the way fashion was viewed locally. Their range of T-shirts featuring popular brand “Drum magazine” as well as the iconic figure of apartheid martyr Steve Biko, changed the local fashion landscape at a time
when South Africans were finding their identity, postapartheid. Founder Nkhensani Nkosi signed a deal with Baley’s Historical Archives in Johannesburg in 2003 for the exclusive right to use images from Drum magazine directly on fabric. Whereas in the past, Biko’s face emblazoned on t-shirt prints was used as an act of defiance towards the apartheid system, Stoned Cherrie used Biko’s face on their designs for different reasons. Nkosi has stated, “I am proud that we are able to translate what are old ideas into something new and provide the nostalgia that is part of our celebration. I am proud that we have been recognized by the industry as being at the forefront of redefining African street culture in a way that is exciting and revolutionary.” (Cape town Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2005/6 www. capetownfashionweek. com) The t-shirts rapidly gained popularity and set the platform for other labels. Living in a cosmopolitan city like Johannesburg, I have
on more than one occasion found myself fascinated by fashion stereotypes among the various races. In my experience while growing up, white people were associated with brands like Billabong, while coloured people were mostly associated with Carvela. Over the years these stereotypes have subsided slightly, but it just goes to show how much power a brand possesses. This point leads me to one of the most shocking trends we’ve witnessed in recent years: An astonishing craze which originated in townships in the east of Johannesburg, known as “is’khothane” which has shocked people nationwide. Followers of this trend made it popular by differentiating themselves by wearing specific expensive clothing brands and going on to destroy these clothes by burning them. Doing this is a way of showing off and proving that they can afford these costly brands. Depending on whether you see the cup half full or half empty, brands associated with this group such as Carvela and DMD (floral shirts previously associated with the pantsula culture) have found themselves thrust into the spotlight. The downside to this is that many people now refuse to associate themselves with these brands. I can’t help but wonder how loyal consumers of the Carvela brand are now consuming the brand. There’s no doubt in my mind that “izikhothane” have made a
powerful fashion statement using these brands, which has surely caused some kind of ripple effect on consumer perceptions. According to Wikipedia: Brand is the “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”1]Initially, Branding was adopted to differentiate one person’s cattle from another’s by means of a distinctive symbol burned into the animal’s skin with a hot iron stamp, and was subsequently used in business, marketing and advertising.
Even though people may preach the gospel of “quality” when it comes to fashion brands, I believe that appreciating the art of the actual design has lost its meaning. The world’s best designers are lauded for their creations at various fashion shows, so I suppose critics are consumers of this art form in a sense. But I’ve always wondered how much time the ordinary consumer takes to appreciate an item of clothing without subconsciously loving it because of the brand name attached. Thinking of the brand name before buying an item, instead of considering the amount of craftsmanship that went into creating it, is something a number of people do (some consciously, others unconsciously.) There’s no doubt that mainstream advertising and endorsement deals by celebrities have had a major role to play in influencing popular culture
and the way brands have become more well-known. I think that fashion is a medium of art that’s made brand names more accessible. For instance, it isn’t uncommon for music eras to be identified by the fashion trends most popular at the time. For instance, when referring to the 1990s R&B era, one could speak of a time when FUBU gear, Doc Martens and Kangol were the ultimate wardrobe must-haves. The marriage of these two concepts is one I see ongoing forever, especially with new designers popping up every five minutes worldwide. I think it’s a fruitful marriage though, which is still going to produce many more spring collections!
By: Phumzile Twala
old in Australia, New Zealand, France and Canada, ‘Tsonga Tslops’ are set to expand in the US market this February. The South African brand exports hand-made leather thong sandals to various countries and provides income to more than 400 people. During the 1990’s ‘Corrida Shoes’ identified an opportunity to create unique quality shoes (to counter the influx of cheap Chinese products) by using the traditional hand-making skills of women from rural areas. Founder, Peter Maree explains, “When the project started, the key driver was to uplift the women of the rural village of Lidgetton using business, not hand outs.” The company currently has six mini-factories, which produce 144 handcrafted pairs daily. The brand has a five-year plan of producing one million pairs of Tslops. “Tslops have been created for those in mind who love the world around them. Purchasing decisions are now more-so influenced by the ethos of brands. By simply purchasing a pair of Tslops you directly give a hand up to those in need,” says Tsonga Tslops director Adrian Maree. The brand has revealed plans to release a winter range, with soft, unstructured shoes as well as a range of accessories for ladies, men and tech gadgets. The positive growth shows that the brand is on course towards achieving its sustainability goals. Available from R192, Tslops are on their way to becoming a global brand.
OFFRAMP - ARTICLE
MIXING IT UP WITH
fresh young fashion brand called ‘uNopotyi’ is redefining the urbanretro movement in GP. We had a chat with the brand’s founder, who tells us more about it. uNopotyi is an accessory and fashion label that was started in 2010. Founder Nomsa Qangase explains, “I started with earrings and it eventually became a label. My family and friends supported me and I decided to register uNopotyi as my own.” In her calm tone she continues to tell of the moment she realized she had a passion for art:” It was when other people wanted what I had. That’s when I realized that hey, I should keep doing this.” Drawing inspiration from everything and everyone, Nomsa’s designs are Afrocentric and are about promoting culture and tradition. “My designs are about being proud of being African more than anything,” she says. With an education background of Accounting, she doesn’t have a formal education related to design, but feels that her talent comes naturally. “The brand is a business now, so I’m looking doing something related to business studies or entrepreneurship,” she tells us.
Nomsa plans to expand to other areas of the continent soon. “I’d like to see the uNopotyi brand expanding not just across SA, but to the other 51 countries on the continent. Even if I don’t achieve this, I’d like to reach at least half.” Some of her products have been on some television programmes and music videos. The brand is targeted at ‘soulful, often labeled as conscious’ types of individuals. However this year the aim is to broaden the market. “We want to reach what we call the ‘dot com generation.’ Youngsters within the hip hop nation as well,” Nomsa reveals. Working with the older generation is something she feels could only better the brand, as it would give it a different edge. “When someone’s wearing my jewellery or clothing I want them to feel proud
of where they come from. When someone’s wearing the brand, it should be as if they’re telling a story of where they’re from,” Nomsa enthuses. The next question, (How much time goes into creating each piece?) was a bit more difficult to answer. But Nomsa explains that as soon as the creative juices start flowing, it becomes difficult to stop. “I could take a peg, and add some colour to it, or use a box of matches to create a pair of earrings or use the lid from the Ntsu (snuff) container to come up with something. So it’s quite broad. I don’t have a specific time frame.” uNopotyi is currently available at Ritual Stores (OST) in Newtown, Johannesburg. Orders can also be placed on the website (www.uNopotyi. webs.com.) Alternatively, Contact Nomsa on 074 572 7272. Twitter: @Nopotyi Facebook: Nomsa Qangase.
By: Phumzile Twala
OFFRAMP - ARTICLE
SOWETO APPAREL: LIFESTYLE BRAND FOR THE PEOPLE
ou’re an Arts activist and entrepreneur. Tell us about your love of art? Art is my everyday life. My love of art: you cannot compare it to anything in the planet. Well I started engaging in art at an early age. As time changed my art grew with time. What’s the story behind Soweto Apparel? How did it all come about? Soweto Apparel is simply a lifestyle brand for the people by the people of the township. It was formed in 2009 by Mazwi Lionel Hadebe. The brand’s approach is highly concept driven, focusing on high quality and innovative designs- Soweto based. What’s the most challenging aspect of your business? I’ll just name one, Load shedding. “Eskom”- just to say it out loud. Due to that we never finish some things on time. What items are
included in your range? Caps, t-shirts, bottle top earrings, CDs, DVDs, hoodies, bottle top fridge magnets and bottle top badges. We are working on new accessories for 2013. There are a lot of street wear brands out there at the moment. How do you keep your brand fresh and innovative? When buying one of the clothing products of Soweto Apparel you receive a proudly produced art talent from South Africa in the form of a DVD or CD. It might be a movie, documentary or music. To date we have packaged with Siya Shezi, Cast the First Stone, Itkrokide, Caysoul Musiq, Surfing Soweto and Meropa. Where do you see your brand at the end of 2013? On a better level than the level the brand was in previous years and creating more jobs.
What aspect of the arts in South Africa do you think needs improvement? Most of South African aspects of art don’t need improvement; they just need support and investors who believe in South African art the way they do with sports. Tell us about SA Pocket Book. What’s it all about? WOW SA Pocket Book is an online publication; a township storyteller in the form of journalism, photography and videography. The Pocket book consists of history, education, sport and entertainment.
www.sapocketbook.co.za coming soon. For now check the latest issue of SA pocket book out on www. issuu.com/sapocketbook and the visual interviews on www.youtube.com/ sapocketbooksa. How can people contact you to get hold of Soweto Apparel? It’s simple: just visit www. sowetoapparel.com then click on contact us or email sowetoapparel@gmail. com. You can also contact us on facebook: Soweto Apparel. What does Art mean to you? Art is life.
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
SEASON 9 COMING SOON
President of CBS Entertainment, Nina Tassler said in a statement: “Through eight years, ‘How I met your Mother’ has mastered the art of leading- edge comedy, emotional water-cooler moments and pop culture catch-phrases.”
GRAMMY AWARDS 2013
he 55th Annual Grammy Awards took place on the 10th of February 2013, in Los Angeles, USA. As usual, the stars were all glammed up for one of the social calendar’s biggest shindigs. Latin megastar J-Lo strut her stuff on the red carpet in a dazzling leg-revealing number while award winner Adele rocked a red outfit. The Brit star won the statuette for Best Pop Solo Performance (Set Fire to the rain-Live.)
eil Patrick Harris, Cobie Smulders, Jason Segel, Josh Radnor and Alyson Hannigan are set to return to television screens, reprising their roles for the final season of popular CBS comedy ‘How I met your Mother.’
MOVIE IN THE WORKS
o-produced by Mark Wahlberg, Doug Ellin and Stephen Levinson, popular HBO series, ‘Entourage’ is heading for the big screen. An adaptation of the series, which ran from 2004 to 2011, is in its planning stages. Starring Adrian Grenier as rising film star Vince Chase, Kevin Connolly as his best friend and manager, Eric ‘E’ Murphy, Kevin Dillon as his TV actor brother Johnny Drama and Jerry Ferrara (his childhood friend/driver), ‘Entourage’ had a highly successful run on TV. Warner Bros announced that deals are currently being made with the lead actors as well as supporting cast. 78
Hosted by LL Cool J, this year’s event also saw Power couple JayZ and Beyonce clinching awards. Jay got the nod for Best Rap/sung collaboration “No church in the Wild” JayZ, Kanye West ft Frank Ocean; Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song, while Bey won Best Traditional R&B Performance for” Love on Top.” R&B Crooner Miguel (who’ll be hitting Mzansi shores in March) won the award for Best R&B Song for his smash hit “Adorn.” Best Urban Contemporary album went to Frank Ocean. One of the most coveted awards, Album of the year went to Mumford & Sons- Babel. Newly -wed Justin Timberlake took to the stage to perform new material from his forthcoming album. Pop superstar Rihanna won an award for Best Short Form Music Video for “We Found Love,” while Janis Ian’s effort Society’s Child: My Autobiography won Best Spoken-Word Album.
Fans should be excited as the series creators have decided to finally reveal the identity of the “Mother.” Co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have previously said that they would be ok with ending the show with Season 8, but they’d do Season 9.
BACK TO THE CITY AGAIN!
illed as Africa’s Premier Hip Hop Gathering, The Back to the City Festival is about to take over JHB once again. Due to take place on the 27th of April 2013, this year’s event aims to be bigger and better than ever before. Since the 2012 edition saw a capacity crowd showing support, it makes sense to move to a bigger venue this year. The organizers have moved the gig to the Mary Fitzgerald Square just across from OST. Pre-sold Tickets are available at Ritual Stores and Thesis Concept Stores until the 15th of March for R60. Another addition to this year’s line-up is a Basketball court and Game Zones. The country’s hottest hip hop acts will be gracing 3 stages and there is also one surprise international act billed to perform.
GP’s youth will be celebrating their freedom on the day with a multitude of performances by emcees, b-boys and b-gals, beat-boxers and dance crews. The festival also has stalls for fashion and accessories. Presidential cards are available for R180-00. For more info, visit www.backtothecityfestival.com
GROUND UP EVENTS ENTERTAINMENT
DESIGN INDABA Sponsored by Woolworths, Absa, DSTV, MTN and Grolsch , the Design Indaba Conference will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre this year. The conference is about promoting all forms of creativity- that enhances every aspect of the world. Education, creative and corporate professionals have engaged with the world’s top creative minds at this event since 1995.
Media such as graphic design, advertising, film, music, publishing, broadcasting and performing arts are brought together under one roof. The Conference will be taking place at the following times: Wednesday 27 February 2013, 09:00 to 17:00. Thursday 28 February 2013, 09:00 to 17:00. Friday 1 March 2013, 09:00 to 17:00.
ART EXPO NEW YORK -year-old International 34 Artexpo is the world’s largest fine art trade show.
Qualified trade buyers from all over the world flock to attend the show in New York. The expo attracts and hosts an international audience of industry professionals seeking to discover new works. The show gives emerging and established artists an opportunity to showcase their work. Over the years, the event has hosted
ZABALAZA THEATRE FESTIVAL
he Baxter Theatre Centre in Cape Town presents the Zabalaza Theatre Festival in March 2013. Targeted at emerging theatre-makers, theatre companies, professional actors and actresses who want to venture into the field of writing and directing, the festival will be taking place from 2 March and ends 23 March 2013. For more information, call (021) 680-3980.
works by the likes of Andy Warhol, Peter Max, Robert Rauschenberg and Leroy Nieman. Paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography, lithographs and more will be on showcase under one roof for a few days at the end of March. Artists are encouraged to get involved so they can gain exposure. Visit www.artexponewyork. com for further details.
METRO FM AWARDS
ollowing some speculation from September 2012, urban radio station MetroFM revealed plans to host the annual MetroFM Awards ceremony in February 2013. In a press conference, Spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said,” We believe repositioning the awards is a good business decision. We also recognize the fact that there are many other awards ceremonies that are held around the same
period in the country.” The ceremony is due to be held on February 23rd at the International Convention Centre in Durban. KZN MEC for economic development and tourism Mike Mabuyakhulu revealed a three-year agreement with MetroFM for Durban to be the host city, possibly even becoming the permanent home of the awards.
Nominees for the 12th edition of the awards include crooner, Donald of ‘I Deserve’ fame, who got six nominations, Kabomo with four nominations for his sophomore album Memory Remains, and Zonke for Ina Ethe. A category that has serious contention is the Best Top 5 Hit Single category: HHPBosso; AKA-Jealousy; DJ Vetkuk vs Mahoota- Stokvel; Donald- Deserve; Fistaz
Mixwell- Hade Mabhebeza. Newcomers Moneoa and The Muffinz were nominated in three and two categories respectively. Voting lines are open so the public can vote for their favourite artists. To vote, SMS category and favourite artist to 34764.
because a few days after, also following an outcry from users, Instagram made an about-turn, with co-founder Kevin Systrom stating that, “Rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work.” There is no doubt that Instagram has contributed towards making some brands more popular- more notably those of famous personalities. Some of these individuals have used it to promote their personal brands, so understandably they’ll be concerned about a proposed change like this. Social media giant Facebook has tried similar stunts in recent years, without any success. Crossing the fine line when it comes to privacy, is one on which users will not compromise. The main argument from famous personalities is that a move like this could possibly tarnish their brands. Understandably so, because it takes away any form of control they have over public perception of them, in this instance. Only time will tell how else the company will implement plans for ‘monetizing’ the product. The company needs to be more cautious, especially in the uber-competitive technology/multimedia sector, where there are new products coming out everyday. By: Phumzile Twala
PHILLEMON L U N G W A N I
Born in 1975 in Giyani, Limpopo, Phillemon Hlungwani comes from a family of artists. In the year 2000, after matriculating, he attended the Johannesburg Art Foundation Fine Arts Course. He later honed his skills at the Artist Proof Studio in Newtown, Johannesburg where he studied printmaking. His work is often characterized by trees and his relationship with the environment. His influence comes from his Christian
background and the symbolism of trees as a place of prayer. He’s also worked on many wall murals. He recently facilitated the Picasso in Africa exhibition mural, at the Standard Bank Gallery. Hlungwani’s also participated in group exhibitions, like the Heritage Day for Arts and Culture exhibition (Belgium.) He’s had a solo exhibition at the Absa Gallery in 2008, titled: The Tsonga is the Shadow of Xigaza.
His technique of choice for printmaking is dry paint etching.
thorny Highveld landscape.
In 2012 Hlungwani ventured into creating designer objects, for the first time. In conjunction with Southern Guild and Arcelor Mittal, he took part in a commission for a limited collection of SA-made designer goods. Working with Pierre Cronje, Hlungwani contributed a monochromatic image that spanned the length of a table top made from a yellowwood tree. His artwork depicted a
A painter, art facilitator, papermaker and designer, Hlungwani has been involved in passing on paper-making skills since 1994. He currently plies his trade at the Artist Proof Studio, where he’s the co-ordinator and facilitator of printmaking.
Q &A NO 1 HUSTLER
Would it be all good if I greet you by saying Welele? (Laughs) Sure Sure! Welele!
When exactly did you start as a rapper? I started in the year 2000. My first time on stage was in 2003.
Who was the first person to give you a platform for exposure as an upcoming emcee? I’d have to say it was the guys at the SplashJam sessions…your DJ Zakes. At the time SplashJam was in Orlando West. Other places are Slaghuis …aboEnzo… and 1808, Graveside… I have to say though that if it wasn’t for talent, I wouldn’t have gotten that platform. At the time bengifosta (I was hustling.) I mean, vernac rap wasn’t popular at the time. People classed it as
kwaito. But we kept at it and created the kasi rap movement.
(guys from Zola.) We all had different styles and did what I can call Kasi music.
Do you still remember your first studio experience? Tell us about that? Ja! I was a bit nervous vele. But not as nervous as I was at my first stage performance!
Is it still around now? Yeah, it’s still around… It’s just that guys are pushing their solos now. But another thing that led to the disbandment was misunderstandings between members, and responsibilities, you know, ukukhula (maturing.)
Where was this? In high school. My hand was shaking badly that day (laughs.)
You were part of Deep Soweto a while ago. Was it a group, or a platform for exposure for Soweto rappers? How did it work? Deep Soweto was a movement. It was started by me and a couple of guys, aboSilas, aboFlo. We went on to recruit Chuck D and other guys too, ezaseZola
What was your biggest motivating factor towards becoming a musician? I’m gonna be honest here… I was motivated by guys who were doing well in the game at the time I started. Guys like Amu, Mischief, Spex, Skwatta Kamp. From watching these guys, it made me realize that this is possible. Another thing is that I have my own unique style of rap. I regard it as a form
of ‘edutainment.’ My music relates to anyone really. Love from the people motivated me to keep going as well. How did you go about making your brand more popular earlier on in your career? Honestly? It was by working hard. Bengifosta. (I was hustling.) I feel that my brand is still growing though. What I’ve achieved isn’t much really. It’s just the beginning. I haven’t reached my full potential yet. How do you want to take your brand further? For me, I’ll be very proud once I’m a household name; once my name’s known all over SA and all over Africa. We’ve already started with spreading my music in neighbouring countries, like Botswana
for example. Namanje (even now) it’s still a big deal for me to gain one more follower on twitter for example. I want my brand to keep growing. What has the response been like following the release of Iqaba? Yho! (Laughs) Yho! That’s it! (Laughing) People look at me like I’m a celebrity. I can’t walk into any mall in Soweto without getting recognized. I think the release of my video for UTshwala on channels like SABC1 and Channel O has also played a big part in this. I know you mentioned this earlier, but your concepts are quite humorous. You’ve successfully combined this with the ability to get positive messages
across. I’ve got to ask though…What sort of creative process do you have? Well sometimes inspiration comes from the beat and instruments. But most of the time I just write. Nothing beats that. Just writing. I write about relevant stuff and it differs with each track One track might take 30 minutes, another 3 days or 3 weeks. Coming up with a concept is a different experience every time, but I usually come up with the first verse and make sure that the second verse complements the first. From there I move onto the chorus. Now the chorus is what makes the song. So I make sure that the chorus is catchy.
NO 1 HUSTLER
Contact Siya here: Twitter- @siya_shezi Facebook page- Siya Shezi For bookings: Lindsey (Manager) 072 339 1656
Are there any topics you’ve been afraid to write about? Akhona (there are.) Yes! Tjo!
learned that there are a lot of people who want to exploit. There are so many opportunists out there…
You mention President Zuma in one of your tracks though…? Yeah, I do, but nakhona ngiyikha phezulu (I’m just scraping the surface.) I once performed after AKA at an event, and had the crowd going crazy. But I nearly got pulled off stage because of my lyrical content.
If you don’t know something, ask. And take your time. Get information as well. I had i-situation nge-sample from one of my tracks. We didn’t get permission to sample…
I was reprimanded for performing such material at a time when the country was close to elections. So I can say that although I have a lot to say, I’ve had to tone it down a bit because of my aspirations as a musician.
Exactly. So get information.
I can say that kukhona Amanga amasha (there’s a new version of Amanga) in my second offering. But no Zuma this time (Laughs.)
So where can people get hold of it? For now at Ritual Stores and from me at shows etc.
So you can’t get profits from it…
Tell us about your label Siyaphanda? We have caps, hoodies, t-shirts, iyi-poti(hats.)
What’s next in store for the Siya Shezi brand? My album. I don’t wanna say too much at the moment, but I have a surprise in store as well.
What’s your take on the SA Hip Hop Awards that took place a few months back? In my opinion, these awards were more about who you know. I feel that most, not all, but most of the winners didn’t deserve to win. I mean, ku-Best Producer, bezintswembu zonke (they were all great) and I’d love the opportunity to work with them all, but let’s be fair…Guys like KayMaster and Red Button had some great production work last year…and then 37mph wins the award? Let’s be fair… That’s my opinion…
Any more videos? Yes… But don’t want to reveal too much! I just need you to clarify this…Is Iqaba a mixtape or album? A mixtape. Right now I’m working on my album. We’re looking a late March or early April release. Any working titles in mind? Uhmm…Thinking of Ghetto Stories… But it’s not final.
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned on your journey so far? The industry isn’t what we think it’s about. The industry isn’t for the weak.You need to be strong.
What does Art mean to you? Art! It means creativity …It can come in any form. It’s varied, from dancing, to writing lyrics. But really good art gets people talking.
It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. I’ve
Iqaba is still available for sale. The upcoming album will be available nationwide. 92
Do you get art?
ave you ever wondered why someone would buy a single painting for $11 million? I’ve always wondered about that. The one thing that baffles me is that the people that’ll buy this work of art don’t know a thing about art in the first place. Which brings me to the main question, Do You Get Art? Most people say they do, but we all know the truth. If you’ve been at an art exhibition you’ve seen people staring at a painting for over five minutes (I often ask myself “I wonder what he sees?” maybe he sees the man that’s banging his wife”) It surprises me; we can’t all turn into deep
thinkers just because there’s a very ugly and too colourful painting in front of us without actually just seeing the fact that THIS IS AN UGLY FUCKING PAINTING. Why do people do this though? Is it cool to pretend you love/like art? I think it is sad that one has to try so hard to fit in, [laughs.] I’m sure a couple of you guys have lied to a lady and told her you love art and your favourite artist is Picasso until one day you mistake a Van Gogh painting for a Picasso piece… my heart laughs at you. Sometimes a work of art is just that- an artist’s art piece that doesn’t need to be over analyzed. Sometimes a piece is self explanatory or the artist has explained it in the note next to the artwork. Not all art is abstract and needs to be explained or understood. I never understood art growing up. It didn’t have meaning to me. I could draw and in my teens –I discovered that I’m gifted musically too- and I had a way with words (which explains the number of 94
ladies I’ve wooed in my time...or lack there of.) So I guess it’s safe to say I’ve always been an artistic person growing up. But when it comes to fine art and paintings and that sort of thing I never got it until about 2 or 3years ago. After going through some issues mentally & emotionally, it is safe to say I was a manic depressive(No, not self diagnosed like some of you) during that time I was often in a dark space mentally & literally in dark places, I was asleep most of the time and my thoughts were dark, no I mean literally dark, there was nothing and sometimes you’ll just see random colour schemes and images and strange figures, obviously all this was associated with my pain, after the whole depression ordeal, art was never the same to me...it’s not like Jesus came to me and said “You sad depressed Son of a bastard, you can now understand art...I love you!” no it wasn’t like that, it’s something that came naturally. I only started studying fine
arts a while back and I’m loving it. The art world is so much better than the world you live in (not to brag but it’s true [laughs]). Art has been used to articulate a whole lot of things, sex, drug abuse, pain, love & it has been used in protests, art like that is easy to understand. But do you really get art? Do you find it fascinating or boring? I love art whether it fascinates me or it bores the crap out of me and some times I don’t even want to understand it. I’d rather look at style used, the paint and analyze the rest of the work. I’m very far from a curator or an art director, but what I can do to help you understand a work of art, whether it is a painting or a sculpture is this, I’m going to do is give you a few tips, everything in a work of art is created to support an idea & most public art is designed to satisfy a need. HOW TO UNDERSTAND ART •If it is a famous work of art, don’t hesitate to Google, you’ll find out a lot about the piece and get a lot of explanations. Reading the title card also helps because some paintings have self explanatory names.
•Question the work’s location; is it part of a larger exhibit? Is it grouped with works part of a certain theme? •Check for any historic connections a piece may have (e.g. Warhol’s stuff is relevant in pop culture, he made pop art , most of his pieces were about public figures & celebs of that era 70s & 80s). •For public art, try to upraise the values of the intended demographic , minimalist towering sculptures appear outside minimalist towering banks or buildings for a reason. •If a painting is designed for your home, ask yourself what you like, it’s going to be hanging on your wall. •Be able to tell a story about the art work, from what inspired the artist or what made you buy the painting or sculpture, it makes it more interesting, and get people to tell you what emotion the work brings out of them, sometimes talking it through will help you make new observations and new connections. 95
By: Mduza vanGogh BARCODED