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And scene (2017).

I peeled off my legendary  ‘mask of composure’ for all of two seconds but the tears continued dropping for roughly an hour. I had my Samsung in hand, plotting via Whatsapp text, the moves and manoeuvres I have prepared to carry into January 2018. Most of the faces on the other end of the line will not be able to tell that on some days my heart still shatters. On some days, I really don’t have it all together.

The year 2017 has been far more gracious than the two years that preceed it.  Thank God! So much so, I finally caught a glimpse of my not so familiar “happy weight” and I remember to eat at least twice a day. Again, there are earthly angels who have held my hand through even these things, that seem small, like chewing and swallowing more than one spoonful. 

My Montessori practicals brought about routine, which was necessary.  I had forgotten that my best days are Mondays, just before sunrise. Should I tell you about Mondays? The promise they carry? Maybe another time.  I am so beautifully privileged to live, learn, grow and love amongst children in the Montessori environment.  These humans cleanse my spirit. They are God’s tangible reminder that He can make anything new. And that when He creates He does this with great delicacy coupled only with the agape kind of love. That even through challenged speech, crooked walks and difficult tantrums there is so much beauty and potential. So so much. 

I laid my favourite uncle Stephan to rest on my birthday, 06-04-2017.  I walked into my parent’s living room and my father held me as if he would never let go again. My mother tried to break the news as gently as possible; This birthday like a few others would be heavy.  I smiled, genuinely on that Thursday afternoon.  Every mother who raised me, remembered that their little girl was growing up, painfully yes, but growing still. One mother sang quietly whilst holding me in the warmest embrace at the gravesite. Oh the joy.  My cousin sister Phumzile loved to sing. She had a stunning contra alto and was so humerous. She has 3 young children who with us bid her farewell about a month before. Death snatched her before her very own birthday.  The Wednesday after her passing, my mother would lose her cousin, my maternal uncle. I could continue with this morbid list but rather not. I will share this however; Never have I anticipated and yearned for a text from the being who became a stranger as I did during that time. If not for my comfort, just to know that they are still breathing.

I got rid of those dreadlocks that most of you had come to appreciate. And they will not make a return in the new year, or ever. There were a few lessons locked in those loose curl locs though, such as patience. Could we learn to be just a bit more patient with ourselves? Allow ourselves to break down so we can build bigger canvases for the masterpieces we were born to become. We are made of so much, to be so much, so why the rush? Who are you pitted against except you, that you must hurry sometimes with no plan or pleasure in the moments pocketed in your journey? 

I am realising that if I attempt to breakdown every pivotal piece in 2017, I may lose you half way through this blog. We can’t risk this in case I have some epic one liner to share right at the end. So please stay with me, almost there.

Music. We are still an “old married couple”. We bicker quite a bit but the love? Endless. I placed The Verse on a partial hiatus for many reasons, including seriously not having enough time to be as dedicated to the music and management affairs as I should be. Also because I am exhausted of coming home with only enough to cover petrol for a night and squeeze in those horrid burgers from that place which is closely matched to my surname. I have the pleasure however of working with the most talented artists, who constantly feed my soul and mind with their art. I am grateful for this. Theatre fits into the neat bag of goodies carrying the better part of my year. What a beautiful medium. Stories that break your heart and mend it all at the same time. Have you seen Masasa Mbangeni on stage? You should. 

“You need to own the fact that you are an actress” said the director after the acting workshop. “You are magic” said my gorgeous Tess after the shooting of a pilot with our mutual friend Kabomo. I had completely forgotten this. I became so familiar with appreciating what was around me, what was inside me was brutally silenced. I reach into the bag of better things and scream chants of gratitude to the angels that walk in dust as humans do because I am now AWAKE. 

I can not call you all by name but know that the God who sees me, sees you. 

I’ve stopped crying, for now. I have things to giggle about. I have things to sit in praise about. I have stuff to pray for and pray about.  Because I want laugh as I did in this year; tenfold at the break of a new season. I want to blush and bite my lip while my eyelashes fall in a dry(tearless) curl. I want to make you laugh too. I want to be strong for you. So I cry when life asks me to, so that I better understand your tears and gently drag you to a place of quiet.  You can then choose to burrow and break so that you can begin to rebuild but if you need a bit more time for it to make sense, that is okay too. I have been here. 

Mondays are full of promise. So is a new year. The 1st of January is just another day, if you choose to see it that way. I thankfully have OCD, hahaha, so the first of anything is brilliant really. Ask me personally about this

Happy New Year 

@Mluart 

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Thought Box, Uncategorized

UNdo (18.09.2012) 

Five years ago today, at roughly 08:00, I stood waiting outside the magistrate office. I would legally and otherwise bind myself to the picture of forever that I had carefully woven in my heart and mind. Today, I can’t commit to a celebration. So instead I will rabble in reflection below… 

“That only happens in movies” they said. We defied their limited notions with a timeless kiss in the dirty streets of Johannesburg, while clinging to our pockets lest those who picked them, found them. Weeks later a meeting you would have with a familiar stranger would anger me and have me tuck my heart’s keys away lest YOU found them. But your eyes sparkled with ambition and your hands struck me with desire; I loosened my grasp. 

My father said “dare not be unequally yoked, how then would you raise your children?”. He said this deeply simmering with delight at your wish to take my hand and make an honest woman of me. We lay excitedly gazing at the single pearl on my finger, speaking of what WOULD be. Rarely did we speak of what COULD be if we lost the keys we both had been entrusted with.

My diamond ring which pardoned the single pearl, after the familiar stranger made a mockery of it would be tainted still… My old lover would leave this earth. You asked me to mourn, maybe wishing that, that would wash the corners of my soul that you still hadn’t occupied. I could only dream of being called your wife. My tears were aimless. Was I mourning the one who was or what was predestined to be.

Before you watched me walk down the isle, fame, money and adoration found us. No, wait… It found you. I happily walked with you, sapphire and diamonds in hand. I had a piece of paper now that carried all the promises of “for better or worse, till death do us part”. This little piece of paper wrapped the keys inside of it and invited my mind to it’s warm abode. I became delusional. Your eyes never wandered and neither did mine, why worry about those would pry lustfully at my flesh and your status? Our cellphones carried no weight of passcodes. Our home reeked of pleasure and satisfaction. Our eyes glistening with promise. We have found what we were looking for in that timeless kiss on the dirty streets of Johannesburg.

I remember the first time I cussed at you. The first time I threw something at you. I remember how I broke the promise never to slumber in anger. See, we understood that heart’s stop beating in the mornings too. What we didn’t know was that the covenants of lovers had hearts too. 

“In 5 years we will review this contract.” We laughed loudly. 

I laugh now remembering the fourth. The fourth of six. Six years of analysing the colours in your eyes. Six year of birthdays and deaths, of humans and covenants too. I want to forget. The death of the colours in your eyes that painted my heart’s canvas. 

Year seven pending year five, I bought a bucket of paint. Black. I poured it over my soul. It dripped. Down to my feet and left bare the lessons I HAD to learn from YOU, from LIFE, from LOVE, that were specially crafted FOR ME. 

Love with no reservations. Love stupidly. Love completely. Love to death. Love beyond death. Love beyond pain. Love your scars. Love the flowers on the graves of your hand written happily ever afters. Love YOU first, after God. Love the journey. Love him. Love him despite. Love him inspite. Love prayer. Love commitment. Love recreation, rehabilitation, restoration. Love your children. Love their children. Love their joys. Love LOVE.

This piece of paper no longer holds my mind. This was no choice of mine. Life spat in my face often enough and entrenched it’s vile stench in my hands; Each time I dared to wipe my tears I would smell the struggle. The struggle to be who I promised to be while loving you. Loving us. Loving this. So my mind detached in search of cleaner spaces. 

Almost eight and safely at five, I would only changed two things. The deaths of the beings we coloured in hopes of creating masterpieces.

The rest should stay the same. How else would I undo the knots of premature promises I made to you. How else would I learn to celebrate what has become at FIVE.

It was/is NECESSARY 

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Thought Box

The UNposted Post 

There are roughly 30 (thirty) posts uncomfortably sitting in the drafts folder of Mathunzi Macdonald’s personal blog account. Ridiculous? 

There are things I have been unable to speak openly about for fear of ridicule and possible public shame. There are topics I realized I had very little interest in and would be posting, well for the sake of posting. There are things I could have shared that had the potential to label me a complete “sham” as they would simply be depicting my “social media appropriate life”. 

The launch of my website http://www.mathunzi.com came with a promise of regular blog posts about everything Mathunzi. I assured friends and family that I was ready to wear my scars proudly and share in my “Johannesburg City Life” and all the various things that I do work wise and in my leisure time. What I did not anticipate was yet another dramatic twist in my lifes story that would leave me seriously wounded. That wound would be left gaping for cups of salt to be splattered inside throwing me into blissful constant agony.

The launch of my site in itself was, to put it mildly, a MIRACLE.

It would surprise even the developer himself to know that the means to compile content and afford his services, literally streamed from heavens windows. Poor health sent my photoshoots soaring into black holes leaving me indebted and without a single pretty picture to continue the public display of “I am fine, but not if you look close enough”. Dazed by my circumstance, I fell into habits of mismanagement of funds, neglect of studies and business development (let us not speak of the neglegence of self, we will need a bit more time on that), disregard of good health, grooming or/and an ordered environment (OCD took leave on most days). The short of it; Things were a mess, I was a mess. 

Two therapists have shared common opinion regarding my failure to grieve and process traumatic events, having suffered quite a few in a short space of time. Knowing that this process is necessary, I still have barely begun. So how could I possibly write about something I have not yet experienced? Instead I would continue recycling pep talks which are constructed around what I assume my readers may want to hear, may sympathise with or what may blind them to how devastating certain realities really are. What is the point then? Why am I the “conversationalist” having this conversation if I am not willing to HAVE the conversation? 

For instance, the cutting of my hair and re-design of my first tattoo (yes brethren, I am inked).               These were not fashion statements, neither was it testiment to my Malawian genealogy which allows for rapid hair growth in a preferred texture or the seemingly new found “liberal rebellion” exercised within the church by openly flaunting ink and piercings. I simply wasn’t and probably still am not ready, to discuss in a meaningful and purposeful manner, what carrying the lifeless body of your baby until it is surgically removed really feels like and spells out for the rest of your life. Or the symbolic meaning behind the removal of the product of the hair journey you started only because he said he preffered it on you. How you trusted it would be part of a new beginning that never came and how life not so politely shoved your nose in the dust and said “Start again, and please leave that mess on your head behind. I doubt you can afford to maintain it anyway with that odd textured curly hair without the support of a suitor”. 

Call me a liar however if I deny that I remain blessed and well set up, and that I should have less excuses around the commitment to these conversations. 

I have lived a relatively charmed life in the greater scheme of things. I am surrounded by beautiful beings who indulge me in genuine support, love and memorable shared experiences. I am blessed with talents, intent and a know how in multiple fields. “Broke” remains relative as I still enjoy certain luxuries and perks. (Necessary)Opportunities have been made available to me by both man and the universe. I am able to better discern as far as who is FOR me and who is simply there to add colour to my already colourful life. And I have learnt to have a very different kind of conversation with God.

I have spent a lot of time asking God to fix IT and not to fix ME. I have asked Him to help me forgive him or her and forgot to mention how I need to forgive myself. I prayed (or rather recited the popular petition text) for my daily bread and failed to simply ask for assistance in meeting my blog deadlines.(We only talk to God about serious business huh? In our best English?)                                      God had become some mystical figure and not my father and friend. I had to reintroduce my self and allow Him to do the same. My conversations with Him now make for better conversations with YOU.

May I kindly not make any promises at this point but assure you that I want to be in constant, honest, purposeful conversation with you. 

My site http://www.mathunzi.com, developed by Sibisi Media Group, will be updated as regularly as possible to keep you up to date with what is happening in my life and the work that I will be doing and progress I hope to make. It will open a window of communication to explore what can be achieved in collaboration in the various fields of work and play. 

Thembekile Tsoari, with the assistance of other artists, will help document the interesting and exciting moments in my life through photography and videography. Most of these engagements may be found on my Instagram accounts, my personal account being @thunzy_ 

I will be healing, learning, living, laughing and loving. I will be going through this life thing understanding that I only get to do it ONCE. I will be having conversations with YOU.

Here, 29 August 2017 at 03:30 – POSTED. 

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Uncategorized

But I couldn’t 

If only I could say what I really mean. 

With a passion for writing and a natural ability to engage, you would assume that I would take any opportunity to bare my raw thoughts, but I couldn’t. Not with prying eyes and spectators who are more concerned with the business of others. Not as a practioner in the entertainment industry who’s partner is growing daily in celebrity status. Not as someone who has already suffered front page stage lights and lashings on the Internet. 

I am also a musician. I could have written songs that tell my stories and choreographed dance pieces that paint the picture, but I couldn’t. My eyes would swell up with tears, my chest would grow tight, my hands numb with anxiety, I would simply buckle.

For a while now I have alluded through my blog, social media and other mediums that I am having some difficulty navigating this ‘life thing’. I can now attest to a human flaw in the digital age. We rarely can draw the line between what we share and our personal lives. From rants to encrypted status updates to bible verses, we hold back very little. People close to us however can usually tell. They will send a kind text warning you of the possible repercussions of airing your dirty laundry. But, when you are filled with enough ills you begin to emit the vile toxins, sometimes without intention.

My anxiety disorders are amplified when various stressors present themselves. My disorder also presents itself physically. If you have had to say to me “Mathunzi, you look tired”, this is probably why. In itself, anxiety is something that is very hard to explain. Even those closest to you, who have perhaps observed an intense panic attack, or have read a page with your diagnosis cannot always fully grasp what you are experiencing. I have grown tired of trying to explain it or how recent events make it almost impossible to get through it quickly enough. Everyone has a solution by the way. The most popular is “Pray”.  Do not get me wrong, I sincerely appreciate these sentiments. Sadly my silence does not give you a large enough scope to allow you to prescribe a remedy. (Prayer is always appropriate, but is it enough).

An emotion I experience quite often is rage. I am angry. And even angrier that I cannot speak as I please. I am angry that some decisions about my life were made void of my presence or opinion. I am angry that my temper and reactions to being taunted and abused were used to guilt trip me into submission to suffer more, and sometimes even more aggressive abuse. It upsets me greatly that, more so as a woman, you must find ways to mask your pain and still miraculously show up. The horror in discovering that women are woman’s greatest oppressor. From vague disrespect to out right cruelty. A generation of inhumane social predators.

Not all my experiences were cultivated by another person or people, some of it was beyond human control. It however does not take away from my failure to comprehend the active and purposed participation of humans in destabilising anothers entire existence. Obviously no one has the power or capacity to achieve this, but they will at least try. With a need to feel superior or greater than, humans who are made of weak moral fibre and poor self actualization will do just about anything to “thrive”. Sometimes sadly, the people closest to you will embark on this damaging assignment, leaving not only you and loved ones empty, but themselves entirely worn. When this occurs the most likely turn is that of ambition to bitterness, causing for more evils to stir.

Someone said to me recently that I refuse to accept that there is very little good in some people. This then poses as a problem in accepting my circumstances which are conditoned by such persons. Maybe this is why I fail to speak. I fail to speak because I am yet to process. I fear being ridiculed for premature outlandish vocalisations of my truth. I fear my decisions to protect myself may not be seen as “normal” enough to be found acceptable.
I have said enough in writing this to trust that my voice has not been consumed and one day I will speak. It’s funny how I always urge others to speak. Not only speak, but seek help and support. To value themselves and the one life they get to live. To love themselves fiercely. I ask them to come to be and never fear judgment. I ask God to make things right. To elevate them from the confines of confusion and hurt. But I couldn’t do this for myself.

I am not ashamed of my scars or my fresh woulds which are salted on occasion. I am simply enslaved by the fear of exposing what lays beneath these bandages in case I fail to recover. I love myself enough to have started the process off removing things and people who do not serve me well. I simply don’t know how one learns to ‘unlove’ in learning to better love themselves.

I will write about learning to forgive myself another time. What a necessary process. My apologies again to the reader whom I did not satisfy by leaving out all the tantalising details. Maybe over a cup of coffee 

 

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Tshepo ‘Crocky’ Modiri  – Asaman 

The Asaman campaign seeks to inspire, create mentorship opportunities, and create a safe and constructive space to engage, for the younger generation. Asaman sits down with 21 year old Tshepo ‘Crocky’ Modiri, a BSc student, social activist & vocalist, to gain insight on the thoughts of the younger, upcoming generation of men.  

Who is the one man, whether you have met or not, that you find inspires you most? And how?


Jesus Christ. There are many reasons why Jesus inspires me. His ideologies, how he related with other people etc. But, the one reason He really inspires me was His perseverance. We live in a world where it is extremely difficult to be who you really are and to say what you really want say. Jesus was ostracized for His views, and how He kept true to Himself amongst so many adversities is the one thing that stuck with me the most from His story, and it is the one I try apply in my life.


Authenticity. Honesty.

Do you believe guys in your age group consider good value systems as something to consider in their daily living? Why or why not? 


I think definitely yes. I think the reason it sometimes does not seem that way is due to the fact that most guys in my age group are at a stage in their life where they are still finding and creating their value systems. Early twenties are the years in which you find and settle into yourself, that includes choosing the value systems you want to live by, and applying them to your daily living
.

What are you currently studying and are you happy with your choice or do you have different prospects? 


I am currently studying a Bachelors in Science degree. I would say I am happy, but having said that I definitely do not think that this is where my passions lie. I’m yet to know for sure where my passions lie, but I am excited to find out. Right now I am going through the motions, learning and making the most of every opportunity awarded to me.

Do you ever feel pressured to behave a certain way or make certain decision in an attempt to become what someone else believes is a ‘man’ and how?


Yes, everyday. This, in my opinion speaks to a bigger societal problem and that is the problem of socially pressured gender roles/stereotypes. Too often have men been told that they should not show vulnerability, that they shouldn’t cry etc, and this type of thinking can lead to a lot
of internal distraught. This thinking is dangerous as it presents a blanket definition for manhood and any deviation towards self actualisation is stigmatised. Men need to recognise this problem, and consciously tell themselves that they are the masters of their manhood. They decide what what they manhood means to them, that way they shall lead fulfilling lives.

You are very passionate about music,why is this? 


I grew up in a very musical family. All the members in my family sing, two even play musical instruments, so music is something that’s always been in my life,and I think that’s where it comes from. Also one thing I love about music is that it brings people together, irregardless of background, culture and race.

Your social media page seems to suggest that you are very up to date in terms of modern trends. Is this something you actually pay attention to, and why or why not?  


I think yes it is something I pay attention to. I pride myself in being a global citizen. I enjoy knowing what’s happening around me as I do not think its healthy to live in an isolated bubble, as you don’t grow as much if you do. That by the way does not mean I subscribe to all the trends out there, it simply means that I am aware
of them.

What are your thoughts on girls, women and the notion of marriage?


As a Christian, I fully support the notion of marriage as this is something my religion has taught me, but even outside of Christianity I believe its a beautiful thing to have a life partner. This life is not an easy one, and having someone with you through all the difficult and pleasan
t motions is lovely, and it is the type of bond that would be difficult to find elsewhere. I really do believe that modern day marriages can last. Having said that, it isn’t easy… relationships are hard work.

The men you see around you today, do you feel they are doing enough to inspire you to be a better person? 


Yes, they do. I purposefully surround myself and stay in contact with people, in this case men, that I can learn from as I feel that this is what friendships and relationships should be about. Seeing the men in my life chase their dreams inspires me to do the same
.

Do you think the Asaman campaign will achieve the desired effect of inspiring men both old and young now that you have taken part and know what it is about?


Yes I do. Mainly because this type of discourse on masculinity and manhood is one that does not happ
en enough, and many men, young and old, rely on gender stereotypes for guidance on their manhood. Many men will read these stories, and have the courage to narrate their own.

What is the one perception people have of you that you are uncomfortable with?


One perception that I’m uncomfortable with would be some people thinking that I am quite arrogant. Think the reason for this misperception is that I generally am shy and introverted in nature, and because of this I tend to keep to myself, this behaviour then gets misinterpreted. Oh well 🙂

I had an interesting conversation with Tshepo that inspired my last question. Perceptions. A lot of ideas and behaviours are influenced by perceptions. Unfortunately, one’s perception may not always be true or even come close to the reality of what or whom they are observing. I now hope that Asaman helps break down this system of perception and allows men and woman to engage openly and honestly thus truly learning from each other. 

 It is important to remain humble and modest. Remember though, humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s simply thinking of yourself less. 

Photography by Aaron & Hur  

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Uncategorized

Dumisani Ntandane – Asaman 

Asaman meets with 28 year old Dumisani. Husband, father and civil engineer by profession. A dear friend who I enjoyed engaging with on this platform. 

  
Has engineering always been your field of interest or have you had other interests? 

 Engineering has always been my field of interest but it was always between engineering and psychology and I suppose as the time got closer to making the decision in my matric year I decided to go with Engineering and I have never turned back. I do plan to find my way back to psychology because I have an underlying interest in how the human mind functions.

What values do you carry with you in the workplace that you feel create a more positive working environment and experience?

 I am a perfectionist and carry this everywhere I go even to the workplace. This tends to filter to my colleagues because my work environment is an environment that can be multidisciplinary at times with the different specialities in the engineering field working together. I always say it must be done right, and I don’t compromise, 2nd best is not enough. This attitude helps me to excel at what I do and has created a good reputation among my peers at work professionally.

You made the decision to get married at what people may consider a relatively young age. What compelled this decision? 

As I’ve said earlier I have an underlying interest in how the human mind functions and that has made me to be very analytical of different personalities and how life happens in general. This also helped me to quickly define the kind of wife I wanted to have in my life. Having been able to mentally build and define the kind of wife who would compliment my personality it became very easy to identify my wife as the one. What helped also was the fact that I knew her as a friend for a very long time (close to 7years), and she also played a major part in defining the kind of wife I wanted to have. My career started relatively early and having found the perfect partner getting married was an easy decision. Age was never a concern, I believed in my capabilities #Asaman to look after her and be the husband she needed, even in that early age.

Is the experience of marriage one that helps mould what you found were your ideals in terms of becoming a man?

My wife is a very strong woman and has played a big part in building me to be the the man and husband I am today. Marriage comes with its challenges and those challenges have definitely moulded me, and in a way changed some views and opinions I had about being a husband and a man in the marriage environment positively.

You now have a son. Are there similarities in how your father related to you with how you relate to your son? What are some of those things? 

My father and I have an almost friendship relationship (obviously with its boundries) and that has worked well for us. I’m still kind of overwhelmed about being a father (two years later) and I’m working on building the kind of relationship with him like one I share with my father, where he will see me as a friend, as a leader, and as a role model.

Moral fibre wears thin in this day and age. What principles do you absolutely live by?

The Bible is my guide in my journey through life. I am very reluctant to change with time because I serve a God “who changes not”, I have a wife who looks up to me as the leader of our family to lead the way, and a son who looks up to me and will copy everything that I do. I can not lead them astray by making irresponsible decisions. Fear of God, absolute love for my family, being a reliable rock for my wife, and being the light that leads the way through darkness to my son are what keep me grounded.

What other passions do you have that you enjoy participating in or engaging about? 

I love cars so I when I do get a chance I attend track days and drag races, one day I’ll participate!

I love talking about human development, human belief systems and current affairs, I love having deep conversations about society and its stimuli. I enjoy debating about relationship topics, religious conversations and anything that will develop my mind to improve me and my thinking capacity as a person.

3 things you hope your younger brothers will learn as they transition into young men

1.Life is tough and as a man you’ve got to be tougher, take charge and take responsibility, take up your place as a man in this life


    2.You only live once, do it responsibly so that you can reap from it in the future. what ever it is.


    3.Nothing is impossible, you can have what ever you want if you work hard at it.

How was the experience of shooting the Asaman campaign? 

Yoh! that was weird I must say. I don’t take a lot of pictures of myself, I don’t smile a lot so having multiple camera shots and posing was completely out of my comfort zone!! Having those flash lights up in my face made me realize how much I don’t want to be famous. The experience was great because it was something out of my comfort zone and completely out of my league, but yoh..it was just so awkward. Smiling when there’s no reason to smile? respect to the celebrities, this isn’t easy, I will stick to my day job!  


I have been friends with Dumisani for roughly 12 years. His meticulous attention to detail has not wavered. Neither has his firm stance on issues he believes in. Being a father to one of the most gorgeous kids in the planet is a bonus, but also a challenge. 

Asaman is about imparting knowledge. Here stands someone who is tasked with this, with no room for compromise. 

  
‘ I am a firm believer in hard work. This is how I was brought up. I believe that hard work has definite results.  What you put in is what you get out’ 

Photography by Aaron & Hur 

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