listening…

My pot-plants are always the first to suffer when I’m busy. Nature doesn’t speak human. It speaks logic. It may not happen immediately but we will all bow to nature in the end. Water your plants. Feed your pets. love yourself.

Footprints…

Ive been home for a while, resting, and yesterday someone sent me a text saying “hey you’re on tv.”

In less than 15 seconds I had the television on and I was both excited to see the insert my band recently shot and upset that the producers had not given us pre notification of its airing.

To my slight disappointment it was not Zuko Collective on my Telefunken screen but “Glori” of LoveGlori talking about the journey. 

Now there’s something about the way Wanaya Visuals Company shot Sisters with Soul that makes it difficult to switch the telly off once you’ve given it even just a few seconds of your attention.
Its gripping story telling!(Helps when they stories are interesting too). As result I ended up watching, even though I own a copy of this particular episode.

I watched myself talk about LoveGlori, a movement that started because when Lerato sang to me for the first time, I never wanted her to stop (EVER)

I also saw/heard Lerato laugh for the first time in almost 7 months. I saw love in both our eyes. For music. For each other but most of all for God. 

It saddened me ever so slightly because i then thought of the last time Lerato and I spoke to each other.
There was so much anger and hurt between us (there still is) that I had begun to feel negatively towards both God and Music.

I felt I had become a sinner and a liar because on 2 occassions Lerato and I had sung as LoveGlori on days where we had failed at even the basics. “Good morning.” “How are you?” 

Ps: those were the wackest performances of my life.

We were fighting. More than fighting. A verbal turned physical war had manifested itself in my living room on the 27th march and like true humans neither of us would apologize.

I believe she felt left out and sidelined but after that night I felt violated.

Needless to say, due to that messy situation, there is no LoveGlori today but this note carries with it two messages.  

The first is an apology/explanation to everyone who watched that funny voiced girl named Nozuko today. Many of you have sent me messages, wishing LoveGlori well. Congratulating us on our progress. Asking for links to the music. 

I regret to inform you that LoveGlori disbanded. It was a conversation with big brother T from the V that made me realise the media is both our friend and our enemy for it is through media that you came to fall in love with LoveGlori (some of you only yesterday, months after her disbanding) but we were unable to use the same platform to announce the loss.

When Diliza Moabi (one of the producers of the documentary) called me about Sisters with Soul he was calling “Soulsta of SoulSociety”. A young 20year old he had met at House of Nsako in 2008. He was doing a show on soulful women in the industry and lucky for me id made enough noise to be recognised as “up and coming. ” 

“Im part of a duo now” was my response. I wanted to mobilize LoveGlori and its all I was interested in talking about. Diliza loved us so much he offered to shoot a music video too. My work was done.

Now if we were in America I think our break_up would have been more of a thing. I would not have have to come back here to find the words to explain.

We used to joke about the headlines that would introduce the dramatic retells of our adventures. Lol. There would have been no need for notes. Dr Phil would have fixed everything and the magazines would have had a field day with the story of reconciliation within the sisterhood… but they didn’t and so all we had were our two little statements on facebook. 

Mine: https://m.facebook.com/notes/zu-nomagungqu/for-love-for-music/117041491825862/?__user=100005600349111

And hers: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10200573609035592&id=1019946447&__user=100005600349111

Breaking up was never part of the plan. Who plans to have a baby then terminates just as they are about to give birth?

The second message is THANK YOU! I would like to send my heart felt appreciation to everyone who has been walking and dancing with me. 

Blaq Pepper (2006)
Soul Society (2008)
LoveGlori (2010 -2013)

Every instrumentalist. Evey listener. Every wanna-be manager. Every venue owner/promoter. You grow me and the music God sends to you keeps me resilient. Makwande.

I am told LoveGlori is releasing an album soon. I would like you to know that my original work will not be part of this project.It is my belief that music is a conversation with God and once recorded, the material is a preservation of that moment. Once it is released it should be a mobilizer. 

At the moment,I am working on a studio album with my new band (Zuko Collective) This is part of the next chapter of my book and is a collaborative project of works composed by the Collective as a band as well as contributions from individuals within the Collective such as myself, Dylan Thomas Silk and Lwazilubanzi Mthembu.

Music is so many things to me. A sickness. A calling. A blessing. A spirit i channel. You will not stop hearing from me. Some stories you may have heard before, others we will write together. 

Ato once told me that our songs are like pages torn out of our personal journals. With LoveGlori being her first born I respect her desire to honour the beginning of her journey with this offering from her journal and she does so with my blessing. 

My inner stalker knows no truth beyond the lyrics to call me and when you hear monday kisses please know that that is my favourite LoveGlori song EVER!

Let us continue to tell our truths. Mine is music and no matter my flaws, no matter the challenges I face. This, my musical truth, remains my constant.God bless you all.

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Lady pains.

It was a beautiful night. We were inspired. A birthday night in july 2013. I went to a friend’s birthday braai with my sister and a friend. On our way home we stopped at a 24hr supermarket two blocks from my apartment. As we were standing in the line to pay we were approached by two young men whose advances went from drunken compliments to passionate suggestions that we take their “whatsapp”.

After a short dialogue (made up mostly of no’s, why’s and “akafuni’s” from our end) the energy became aggressive. Though I will never condone aggression as a positive means to resolution, I suppose, when I think about it,I can understand that one might respond negatively to rejection, especially under the influence of alcohol.

What happened next bruised my spirit. I turned around to grab something of the shelf and felt this young mans hand on my waist. After turning around and telling him not to touch me his response was this; “ngathi bangak’Rape-a ngob unenkani” (losely translated: you need to be raped to cure your stubbornness).

You can only imagine my shock, standing in a supermarket in my own neighbourhood being I think this moved me even deeper into desperation because the friend whose braai we had been to is a lesbian woman who, one evening (not too long before that weekend) had been chased down the dark streets of Johannesburg by four who were eager to know if she had seen the (then) most recent episode of intersexions (a south african drama series).

The episode they were referring to was one in which a lesbian girl gets raped because of her sexual preference. “Correctional rape” as it is termed.

It was a car full of women that stopped and gave her a lift and saved her from he situation. They didnt know who she was or what was going on. They saw a woman in trouble and they extended a helping hand.

In this life of emotion.. in this time of technology… In a world where the spread of HIV/AIDS has become a very light yet real and heavy norm. It is sometimes the most difficult thing to be a woman.

What kind of world are we living in??!! What kind of men are we raising when RAPE is the solution to ANYTHING?!? HOW DID WE GET HERE!?!

Homophobia doesn just affect women but guys are stronger you know? The other day I heard a news report about a young woman who had been raped and killed in Thokoza. Her attackers had shoved a toilet brush up her vagina.

I hate it when women hurt. I hate it when being a woman makes me feel weak.

Every story. Every scar. I feel as though im experiencing these injustices personally. Every death almost kills a part of me somehow.

Ive heard of place in the world where young girls are not allowed to go to school. A place where women’s minds are not really valued, never mind empowered. I don’t know what I would do in such a place.

Nature also seems to have chosen pain to be part of the woman’s journey. From her first menstrual cramp to the first time she has sex to the day she gives birth and beyond. Even sexual inter course is a probing of sorts.

Look, im not here saying being a woman is some sort of curse but it definitely is not a walk in the park and more than anything this note is to women. Only a woman can understand how boring, frustrating yet beautiful being a woman is. That even when men hurt us we hurt each other more. That our lack of support,patience and understanding towards each other is the core of some of society’s cracks.

I believe in God/Light. I believe in the energy human beings radiate. Maybe it is because I have been watching a lot of supernatural stuff but I genuinely feel like women have this energy. This power. Strength.

For all the pain you will experience there is a sister out there who has been through it and has advice that could help.

White flag

Erect
index
fingers
penetrate
personal
spaces
forcing,
thrusting,
angry.
My
vulnerability
violated by
vicious
verbal
vengeance.

I come in peace…

For you and for me…

Micheal Jackson sang:

“There’s a place in your heart
And I know that it is love
And this place could be much
Brighter than tomorrow…

…Be God’s glow.
We could fly so high
Let our spirits never die
In my heart I feel
You are all my brothers
Create a world with no fear
Together we’ll cry happy tears
See the nations turn
Their swords into plowshares
We could really get there
If you cared enough for the living
Make a little space to make a better place.”

I don’t think we took Micheal or that song seriously enough. He gave us some of the best dance music ever but the message behind that heal the world song man… I think its most relevant to me right now. There is SO MUCH violence in the world. In our time, there are people making bombs out of pressure cookers. Men beating grannies. “Friends” beating on each other and as though war and AIDS were not enough, there are people killing strangers for their material good. For meer possessions.

My friend was murdered in a hijacking this past weekend. When I heard I felt like finding a mountain where everyone who inhabits the earth would hear me screaming at the top of my husky ability. “Help!!! Someone help me make it right!!!”

I thought of so much. There I was, crying on my bedroom floor. In pain from the inside out… I hadn’t spoken to my friend in such a long time. But there was something else behind the pain. My pain was for these people who are so lost, whose lives are so far gone that not only are they stealing from innocent hardworking men (UNlike themselves. Better than them) they are also taking lives??? What evil spirits are these that nurture the rotting of souls in our communities??? How broken is this situation though. My pain is for my son and his children.

Why is the world this way? When did we start losing humanity? Is it really because people don’t have jobs? I’m scared of the things happening around me. As a mother. As a sister. As a woman. Im in pain. I feel like I should be doing something. Like there is a key/a chain/pattern, SOMETHING! Something we’re missing that could tell us what we can do to heal the world. These acts of violence. These brutal killings. Isn’t there something that can be done???

I really feel sick and desperate right now. Had to get it off my chest. We can’t live in bubbles. I want to make it right. I feel responsible. Its so overwhelming though…

Beyonce sings:
“I will leave my mark so everyone will know. I was here. I want to say I lived each day, until I died and know that I meant something in, somebody’s life
The hearts I have touched, will be the proof that I leave. That I made a difference, and this world will see
I was here.”

I think the most powerful ways of ridding the world of darkness is making sure you’re a raging fire/light where you are. A positive force of love and goodness.  Im not saying open a homeless shelter but there’s actually so much that seems small or meaningless that makes yhe world of a difference. Im figuring out how to help you do it.

As an artist I think I’m fortunate enough to have a platform. A voice. I want to use that voice. I want to be your voice too. If you allow me we will do amazing things you and I. For generations to come. For love and peace. For you and for me.

Nomagungqu. (A mouthful of Glori)

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“Gungqu” is a xhosa word for round sweet. When we were younger and visiting my mothers village, amagungqu amnyama (more commonly known as nigger balls) were one of our favourite treats.

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I was given the nickname “Nomagungqu” because of the way my cheeks pop when I smile. (And because I’m a sweet thing 😉 I, Nomagungqu am a growing brand based on a smile and all the nice things behind it.

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You know that smile that makes your eyes wrinkle, light up and sometimes water all at the same time?
That warm, fullfilling feeling somewhere between your belly and your chest. You get it from the good stuff in your life. Teaching a child how to make something from scratch. Making your deadline with an impressive product to show for it. Having a good night with your family. Being awarded for a job well done. Getting a new recipe right the first time around. Figuring out how to overcome something that’s been challenging you.

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Being happy isn’t just about money. Its not just about your relationships and your background. The imperative is NOW. The messages you emulate. Beyond just the company you keep. Music.

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Its about loving yourself and making sure that regardless what your circumstances are, your life is fullfilling. More than satisfactory. Food. Conversations. Fashion. Comfort and progress. Sometimes it’s about calling someone out or being “selfish” to preserve your “gungqu feeling”. Those moments when you have to say Niks mapha nge gungqu lam (you can’t have my gungqu)

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Taken by Liam Lynch

Group growth. Sharing. All this and more are what I consider (really) nice things. Things that give hearts smiles. A lifestyle that promotes connection and ubuntu.

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Nomagungqu is a brand about a smile and all the nice things behind it.

Hate < Celebrate

SA Mzansi Ballet recently produced a wonderful rendition of Don Quixote; A love story based in Barcelona.
The show was held at The Johannesburg Theatre and a good friend of mine, Keke Chele,was part of the production.

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Something that stood out for me was the young dancers that performed during interval. Harvard University had used SA Mzansi Ballet as a case study and one of the suggestions given was this, a platform for young up and coming performers to present in a professional set-up. They get a taste of the backstage energy and take one more step towards realising their dreams and SA Mzansi Ballet gets to further tribute to the development of young potential legends.

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Now, id like to be completely honest with you.  Ive been struggling with this post because initially my approach was so negative.
My opening paragraph was on the racial statistics in ballet and how out of place I felt when I took a moment to absorb my surroundings. I even went as far as referencing a report by The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education http://www.jbhe.com/news_views/58_cultural_divide.html

Before I continue, im well aware that this is an American study but I was on fire and I wasn’t sure who to call out first. To say we cannot afford to be at the theatre once or twice a month is absolute hogwash as I know most of my peers (all around the world) are out thursday to Sunday partaking in all sorts of yolo activity. Why don’t we attend these sort of events? Almost immediately my response to my own question was “live and let live! Not everyone WANTS to go to the theatre to watch Ballet of all things.”  I think my concerns are from a place that wants everyone to have a fair shot at life and happiness. you know, true fulfillment. Will we be able to be parents that teach their children that they can be anything they want to be? Will we remember to expose them to ALL the possibilities. I think most of us realise way too “late” in our lives that the trick is to focus on a combination of what you are good at and what you love. As parents,guardians, brothers and sisters, I think it is really important that we keep reminding ourselves and those around us that the possibilities for success are endless. Part of this is challenging our perspective. Trying to avoid dwelling on the negatives of the reality but rather appreciating. Let’s broadcast the nice things too. Anyway that’s my 2 cents worth. I look forward to finding more nice things to write about.

Nomagungqu

The Girl next door

“I went to a Word N Sound session the other day and Rosie Motene and Ntsako Mkhabela had been invited to the platform to speak about activism. Ous’Rosie was up there saying things like “the individual can constitute the majority” and “as artists we have a responsibility”

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Rosie Motene

This sparked something . I felt charged! There are so many things I want to change, (and just because they are important to me does not mean they will be if top priority importance to you but) these women were basically saying can we just make sh*t happen already.

It felt like a defining moment. A time for action. “If these things move you,they may move someone else out there” my inner voice was loud and talking about the power of a meaningful conversation. The power of Skuif  (Sharing) but more importantly, the urgency and necessity of action.

“You don’t have to be those chain yourself-to-a-tree type activists to make a difference.” But you can’t just talk about it.

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Ntsako Mkhabela

Sista Ntsako shared how Miyela was founded. Miyela means “keep quiet” (think about the things that resonate with your spirit and then ACT)Taking qualified individuals to under-privileged and disadvantaged educational facilities for instance in an attempt to improve the quality of education. They call this project “teacher’s pet”. They see the lack of employment for young graduate students and the desperate need for good education, take time to think about the situation and possible solutions then “boom” Progress!

Since then I’ve been trying to understand and express my understanding of activism and I think this might the best way to articulate my thoughts right now.Lets entertain this analogy for a moment…
Imagine yourself as the owner of that “dream home” situated on the corner of two really long streets. Just take a moment to visualize it. Your dream home. Do you see it? Ok. Now, do you see the other houses? Imagine them too. Other people’s dream homes surrounding yours. All sorts of houses with all sorts of people living in them.

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The-house-on-the-corner-Chris-Lord

The houses represent our characters and personalities and they are furnished by our life experiences. Our upbringing and what we have been exposed to.Still with me? The neighbourhood represents life. Your neighbours are everyone from your mother to the lady who cleans your workspace and the old man you buy your morning coffee from. The people in your life.To upgrade your hood(life) you need to upgrade your neighbours(family, friends, associates and such)
House-keeping guys.
We all have that unresolved issue/broken shelf that we refuse to deal with/throw away.You get it right? We need to be supportive and interactive and be aware of our surroundings and
contributions/investments. As a young woman, mother and sister, every child on this block is part of my responsibility. Call young girls out for wearing close to nothing when they go out with the intention to draw the right attention and score a good time.

We have a lot on our plates as human beings;Global warming. Racism. Poor health care. I promise you, I think about those things but I’m also worried about the young girls and boys being exposed to sex,violence and other harsh realities prematurely. I worry about the things they are exposed to by the media and I think about my role as a mother/sister/artist/woman. As passionate as I am about Aids awareness and prevention, I know we also need to find ways to empower young  minds so that they make the best decisions. So we can feel safe in our neighbourhoods.

Things that will make your neighbour happy.
•keep your household in check
•keep your house looking good
•invite them over to break bread with you sometimes

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•be considerate
•don’t let their home burn down•skuif your nice things
•let your kids play with theirs
•look after their children/plants/pets when they need you to
•love their children as if they were your own.(I’m sure I could come up with a really long list but I’m going to stop now)

Fyi I’m fully aware of the idealism in all of this but here’s how this life/property business works. You can’t always control who buys a house in your neighbourhood but everyone has to contribute to neighbourhood watch and community development.

How any times have you walked past a scenario in your neighbourhood that made you sad/angry/numb and done nothing about it?

A neighbour is someone who is nearby wherever you are.

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Ben and Suzanna

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Karabo

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Joe

Be a good neighbour.
Love your neighbour as yourself. 

Nomagungqu.