Today you’re Linton Kwesi Johnson, tomorrow you’re Clinton who?

29 April 2009, 5:27 pm

No chance, but thus the said man said, explaining his constant touring as making hay while the sun shines.

It’s 7 years old, but here’s a great inter-overview with him by Maya Jaggi at The Gaurdian (May 2002). Check it.

A gracious friend offered me a ticket to his show on Friday, May Day; I had initially toyed with going, but it’s open air (I think), and it’s Cape Town in May. The weather might play a role. Besides, if it’s Denis Bovell’s band, you want that shit indoors, so that the bass reverberates off walls into your gut.

Anyhoo, I had to decline the ticket as I had then already made alternative plans.

I’ve been listening to LKJ quite a bit lately, especially ‘Reggae fi Radni’ (about Walter Rodney, for the uninitiated) and ‘Reggae fi Dada’ (about his dad’s passing). The latter remains one of my favourites. Some of the lines could so easily be about Cape Town:

Mi nevvah have no time when mi reach
fi see no sunny beach when mi reach.
Jus people a-live in shack
people livin’ back-to-back
‘mongst cackroach and rat
‘mongst dirt an disease
subject to terrorist attack
political intrigue
constant grief
and no sign of relief.

Always Delicious: The Kitchen

23 April 2009, 4:38 pm
The Kitchen
(Karen Dudley)
111 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock
021-462 2201

JUST BACK from a quick lunch at The Kitchen, caterer Karen Dudley’s new kitchen-cum-lunch-bar. Well known for her catering business, Wonderful Food, she has finally opened a place of business from which she now conducts the catering, but also sells food to the hungry passerby.

Lunch items consist of sandwiches at ZAR25.00 (made to order), a take-away salad at ZAR25.00, and a lunch plate which costs between ZAR40.00 and ZAR45.00. Items change based on what is available and what’s cooking on that particular day. Today’s sandwiches were bacon & avocado, roast chicken, melanzane & feta, honey-mustard sausage, among others. A range of fixings, from pickle to harissa, is included.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dagga – Part Three

6 December 2008, 2:48 pm

Part One

Part Two

Mervin Morkel, a classmate, introduced me to reggae at some point during the long months that we were out on national school boycotts in 1980. Deep in winter, and bored with the ‘alternative education’ programme – listening to speeches, singing ‘freedom songs’ that were mostly old spirituals or hymns – or wary that police action may be imminent, we stayed home. Mervin would visit, carrying his sought-after army knapsack brimming with vinyl records: Linton Kwesi Johnson’s Forces of Victory, Peter Tosh’s Equal Rights, Jimmy Cliff’s Follow my Mind, “Remake the world” from the latter featuring as a freedom song sung at ‘mass meetings’ at school:

Too many people are suffering
Too many people are sad
Too little people got everything
While too many people got nothing

Remake the world
With love and happiness
Remake the world
Put your conscience to the test…

Bob Marley in there also, of course. Kaya, Natty Dread, Rastaman Vibration, Zimbabwe, later Uprising. Read the rest of this entry »

Afrinauts to free the airwaves in Cape Town

27 May 2008, 6:34 pm

The Pan-African Space Station, a music festival from 1-4 October 2008 and curated by Ntone Edjabe and Neo Muyanga, hopes to broadcast free-format radio from Cape Town sometime from September to October this year. They need your support to help them convince ICASA to grant them a licence. Read about these Afrinauts here and sign their petition.

The man who would be eaten

3 July 2006, 6:58 pm

ONE DAY, I joke with friends: ‘If you were a cannibal, which author would you eat and which herb would you use?’ I almost immediately go for J.M. Coetzee – slow-roasted over coals – and simply but deftly flavoured: salt, pepper, tarragon. Now, every time I have bearnaise sauce, I think of slow roasted Coetzee and tarragon. Read the rest of this entry »


3 July 2006, 5:36 pm

SOME AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL reflection on the interplay and tensions between Afrikaans and English, published at LitNet.

Fuck Colouredness and the Coloured Voice

3 July 2006, 3:38 pm

(appeared in slightly-edited version in Chimurenga #1, 2002, pp.45-47)

ALLOW ME some biographical indulgence, editor and reader, black, white, ‘coloured’, or any of the other million identities for sale.

I spent 10 months in the USA, on a scholarship and just after I had voted in 1994. There were moments in that country where I longed for SA racism, more visible, less sinister. So I was happy to return to my own backyard of racism in 1995. Since then I have been following the buildup to our present, often hysterical discoursing on race and racism. And here I am: hysterical, tired of the even tones of reason, angry. An angry black man. Read the rest of this entry »

You can’t get lost in the samoosa triangle

1 September 1997, 1:37 pm

(originally published as “‘n Moerse Samoosa” in Student Life, September 1997; to understand the racial ‘anthropology’ behind this article, first read “Fish and chips for the Soul“.)

THE TRIANGLE is geometry’s favourite form. Circles, rectangles, squares, trapezia — all are composites of triangles. And the triangle is powerful. In soccer, keeping players in inter-connected triangles is effective as attack and defence.

Some mysticism surrounds triangles. There’s Pythagoras and his hypotenuse. And there’s the Bermuda Triangle.

A triangle can be divided into smaller triangles. Take the Samoosa Triangle. Nationally, one can plot the points of a giant samoosa from Cape Town to Durban to Johannesburg. Apartheid kept the samoosa out of Vrystaat, but Euclideans say things are changing.

Read the rest of this entry »


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