Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Lost in Translation

If one had to inspire a whole generation by reminding them of who they are, at the same time translating an inconvenient truth about the past and present, how best could you do it?
This was the task at hand for the African National Congress and its new dispensation in South Africa marked on 8 Jan: celebrations of 100 years of the liberation movement/ struggle. The celebrations most likely where felt only in Bloemfontein, the Free State city was the host and the place where the historic formation of the ANC began; notably far from the euphoria that was felt when Nelson Mandela was released from Robben Island. In those days you simply felt the atmospheric buzz and an energy that took over for days, South Africans were full of hope and had a sense of an overwhelming victory.

The centenary of ANC's existence comes at a time when the ruling party in government is experiencing rive factionalism within its organization and marred by corruption coupled with mismanagement of tax payer's money. As a result a spring of service delivery protests reached their all time high in 2011, and likely to continue in 2012 as more and more South Africans living in poverty and despicable conditions without basics, are growing ever impatient with the ruling party.
But perhaps this is nowhere near the real rot of the "fruit of the pie"! What can be termed as "lost in translation' is seen in how the ANC, at a cost of R 100 m sought to inspire the people of South Africa at the Centenary celebrations. Where did it all begin and more importantly where is this Titanic ship sectioned into upper class and poor class, where the upper class are enjoying most of the ship's delights amongst a few and the bulk of the poor are cramped at the bottom sharing left overs.

National pride
 The proceedings of the Centenary celebrations kicked off with a service at the Wesleyan Church in Waaihoek, where the ANC was founded in 1912 known then as the South African Native National Congress.
This ceremony was followed by a formal address at a stadium and ended with musical play and act called Tshihumbudzo (the remembrance), which quite literally related the story of the ANC. The musical play meant to tell the story of 100 years in 100 minutes failed dismally to live up to the moment, and can be easily categorised as the worst theatrical display for a 21st century African audience. Tshihumbudzo lacked depth or a core theme,  loosely directed with very little creativity in set design, props and costumes.

Instead the most that was achieved out of this rushed musical was an overbearing cliched euro centric image of South Africans, failing to even distinguish time lines through spoken language and dress code, but most appallingly a complete disregard for cultural heritage and what it truly means to be a South African today.
Mirror our cultural heritage

A missed opportunity, this turns out to be for the ANC, leaving alot to be desired and more questions than answers. @PAYT embraces culture and employs ways to discover African heritage through discovery and an artistic expression of the indigenous. Tshihumbudzo should have explored a basic but yet powerful approach and theme to translate the historic by sampling the very man whose words inspired the inception of the ANC, Pixley Isaka Seme when he said "Forget all differences among Africans and unite in one national organization. Key words being Africanism and Unity @peace,love & understanding>>

What does it mean to be African?

Saturday, 7 January 2012

A Digital Narrative

By:SA Photographer & Designer: Digidi Dyse
showcase of the best digital narratives and digital news design for the iPad, mobile apps, tablets and ebooks have a captured audience ready to jet on a new media crusade that has changed the game altogether. The launch of the Ipad, arguably the most desired gadget of 2011, has since seen a surge of digital news cast including the likes of iMaverick.

The trick of course is to have the most user friendly, smart applications such as Blackberry Messenger (BBM), but have the capacity to deal with the heat that comes with high demand and the people's conventions. Blackberry suffered a set back towards the end of 2011, frustrated social media addicts experiencing withdrawals symptoms during "blackouts" we could say- "it was long time coming". Hijacked social media platforms such as BBM that assisted in mass mobilization of young activists for whatever the cause are "HERE 2 STAY". InfoTech is key in advancing connectivity, and in a place such as Africa its thriving,  the Arab spring certifies the power of digital media.

Perhaps far more compelling is the transformation of mainstream media affected by twitter, blogs and facebook, which now faces a tough time trying to compete with updates and news feeds shared online faster than you can say "Breaking News">>#tag has taken over!

As for the "Bad&Ugly">>the cellphone scandals and Household media woos xposed in 2011 reared its ugliness and left alot to be desired.....Now we know that what was once perceived to be informative, should be considered to be manipulation of the truth.
 So now we are witnessing an exciting era where the truth depends on who's telling the story and most bloggers and twitters have become advocates of #truestrory. Lets call it the reign of independent media>>new point of views and broader perspective. It may be said also that the digital media has created an opportunity for Digital Artists to stretch their range for creativity with graphic designs or visual content that coincide with today's applications ranging from smart phones to ipads and 3D motion picture.

@payt would like to shine a spotlight on digital narratives in Africa that tell African stories or a point of reference thats fresh and progressive. A review of the Audiobook "A-Dollar-A-Day", brings us closer to what the future holds for digital narratives in African context, seeking the solutions for Africans right here in Africa. "A-Dollar-A-Day" is a compilation of commentary as well as poets and musicians with a common vision the "rebirth of Africa". The Audiobook is produced by MM3rd of Dextraw Multimedia, a digital music producer who has his pulse on sounds of Africa with influences by JDilla, Madlib and MF Doom, maintains an authentic African experience, but most importantly has managed to sample some of the best narratives on political issues that range from Zimbabwe and its landreform policy, negative-ethnicity to African mindsets and population control.

"A-Dollar-A-Day" is a 2012 Souvenir marking 100 years of the Liberation Struggle of the African National Congress. A free download will be available @paytafrica.blogspot.com /@maishayetu.wordpress.com, so stay tuned in!!!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Marking 100 years of the Liberation Struggle

The Early Years – Part 1 by Richard Rive
During 1911, a thirty-year-old black lawyer with a growing practice in Johannesburg, South Africa, took the major initiative in organising a nation-wide congress of black representatives. This was an idea that had already germinated in his mind eight years before while he was still an undergraduate student in New York. His name was Pixley ka Isaka Seme. He was a Zulu barrister-at-law, practising in the Transvaal as an attorney of the Supreme Court of the Union of South Africa.
In this historic call, he emphasized the necessity for black unity.
The demon of racialism, the aberration of the Xhosa-Fingo feud, the animosity that exists between the Zulus and the Tongas, between the Basutos and every other native must be buried and forgotten... We are one people. These divisions, these jealousies, are the cause of all our woes and of all our backwardness and ignorance today.”1
On January 8, 1912, his hope seemed to be realised when personalities from black communities all over Southern Africa converged on Bloemfontein. Appropriately Pixley Seme, as the initiator, gave the keynote address.
Chiefs of royal blood and gentlemen of our race, we have gathered here to consider and discuss a theme which my colleagues and I have decided to place before you. We have discussed that in the land of their birth, Africans are treated as hewers of wood and drawers of water. The white people of this country have formed what is known as the Union of South Africa – a union in which we have no voice in the making of laws and no part in their administration. We have called you therefore to this conference so that we can together devise ways and means of forming our national union for the purpose of creating national unity and defending our rights and privileges.”2
The assembled delegates then sang Tiyo Soga`s hymn, `Lizalise Dingalako Tixo We Nyaniso` (Fulfill Thy Promise, God of Truth) and Seme formally proposed that
“...The delegates and representatives of the great native houses from every part of South Africa here assembled should form and establish the South African Native National Congress.”3
His motion was seconded by Alfred Mangena, a fellow lawyer, who had been called to the bar two years earlier at Lincoln`s Inn, London. The African National Congress was born.
ANC President Jacob Zuma and Zimbabwen President Robert Mugabe expected to attend the Centenary Celebrations in Bloemfontein starting  Sun 8 Jan 2012

Delegation from the South African Native National Congress [today known as ANC] that went to
England in 1914 to convey the objections of the African people to the 1913 Land Act
Back Row (L-R) - Walter Rubusana, Saul Nsane; Front Row - Thomas Mapikela, John Dube, Sol T Plaatje

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


A-Tell It Like it Is Youth Venture!!!

I'd call it "SET-IT-OFF", but if we have to be literal then its a fresh release of what young adults in three separate parts of Africa voicing out their views on global politics and the course for Africa and its future. Inspired by the four strikes facing every African, plight of Ppoverty, HIV/AIDS, War and underdevelopment, coupled with a stretch period of bad leadership, there is alot to be desired..

A window of opportunity presented itself when PAYT invited Kenyan Social media journalist Muki Garang on an exchange program that lasted a month, hosting him in Mahikeng South Africa. The cultural exchange and network snowballed into an impromptu audio and musical recordings of the likes of Poets, MCs and Professional pioneers that each had a unique point of reference in piecing the picture for change towards a better future for all Africans. [Ounce and for all!!]

What makes this initiative unique is its broad perspective relating African issues from regions including South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe,Libya, Sudan and Kenya. The audio book "A-Dollar-A-Day" is a non profit initiative by a collaboration between PAYT and Maisha Yetu with a major publicity campaign in SA and Kenya within social media. The intention is to spread the word for young people to first rediscover themselves as Africans (#concepts>>Proudly African, Made in Africa and Made-4-Africa) and then start contributing to the bigger picture of decolonizing and breaking the cycle of slavery.