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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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.

Ncamisa Nqana 


You could almost always guarantee that where she is present there is laughter and a whole lot of noise. In my first year in the Jazz & Popular Music department I knew Ncamisa as the girl who set the music building alight (not literally) with her quircky dances, fits of laughter and friendly banter with almost everyone. I had no clue as to what lay beneath all that sass.

And then I heard Ncamisa perform ‘Body and Soul’ for a peer’s recital performance/exam and I was taken aback. Her rendition was almost flawless, shaming some singers who came before. This was jazz… We started talking and soon became friends. Ncamisa would assist me with music theory and backing vocals for live gigs. One of the few people who would give me feedback regarding the flaws in my performance, and I could walk away feeling enlightened, a better vocalist, as I knew it always came from a good place with the intention to help me grow.

Many of us constantly nagged Ncami about going solo. Personally, I now feel I was still not aware of the magnitude of her talent. When I saw the poster with the details of her performance, my heart leaped. I had heard Ncamisa perform some of her original pieces at a charity event organized by her older sister (also a musician), family and I. Her writing was impressive. Her co composer is Teboho, who is also her and my pianist, ( His feature is coming soon). Now lets skip to the good part.

Friday night, the stage was embodied with greatness. Clean jazz tones, creative lyrics, humor, classic vocals, a warm and put together band. Ncamisa had her moment and lived her truth. After what had been an intense week, my heart was lifted. Not only by seeing a good friend finally live her dream but what a worth while, quality performance. I cant really describe it, so here are a few snippets.

Her name is Ncamisa Nqana, find her and follow her musical journey.

 

 

 

Link to Ncamisa’s biography will be added soon

 

Lu Chase media launch 

  

It was quite an intimate affair. Guests quietly mingled in the foyer of the Yamaha World venue, while waiting to meet and hear from Lu Chase in the venue’s theatre. Welcome drinks and finger foods were served as we waiting for the grand performance. I spotted the likes of RJ Benjamin as well as a few industry practitioners.     I was in attendance with my friend and assistant Katlego Katly Sethlare, and together we eagerly waited for the music to begin. The event’s commencement ran slightly over time, but we soon found it was all worth the short wait.  

 
We were met inside the intimate venue by grandeur. With her strong and well rehearsed band behind her Lu Chase shared with her audience her big voice, big personality and true passion for the music . Her sound, she has classified as ‘Soul’ but one cannot miss the tempo and excited aura of Rock n’ Roll. Through costume changes, choreographed musical movement of wings and songs that kept you on your feet, Lu Chase kept us well engaged and entertained. The set was not long, but its impact was felt.  Here is a short snippet, with a dash of long legs for effect

I met with Lu Chase to chat for a bit and below is a snippet of what I discussed with this talented South African beauty.  

• Tell me a little bit about yourself, where you come from and if it is allowed, how old you are 

I am 33 years old, I’m from Cape Town born and bred, but I now reside in Johannesburg and I absolutely love it here. It has really shifted my perspective on my brand and my industry quite a bit. I started off working in Musical theatre when I was 5 years old. So from 5 until 1997 when I performed for Quincy Jones I was doing musical theatre. After that I started a couple of bands and I was the head writer for a couple of labels, so I was writing songs straight out of high school, for a German label. I never thought that I would be the person in the front because my self esteem was so low, but through self discovery and costant seeking of the spiritual self I’ve now gotten to a place where I am ready to front. 

• Was music always your first choice and why or why not? 

It was always my first choice. As I said I suffered from really low self esteem so I didn’t think that I was worth it but, the very first thing I remember, being 5 years old, being pushed onto stage by my aunt and I had to sing a song. I got onto stage and I was so scared, but they gave me the mic and the light went on. The second that light went on I felt so safe. Im sure you can understand, its that feeling of absolute safety. There is nothing I can compare it to, its like home. So I knew at the age of 5 but, growing up in the area and community where I grew up, everyone always wanted me to sound like someone else. And so I always tried to sound like someone else. And then I did that show for Quincy Jones in 1997 and I said to him “everyone wants me to sound like singers you’ve produced before” but I don’t sound like Diana Ross or Tamia, my tone is so husky  and so dirty and he said ” But thats your tone. No on is going to come from America to South Africa to buy what they can buy in America honey”. So I said ok, and that set me off on a path of distinction. 

• Who are your 3 biggest musical influences and why? 

Prince! Prince just brings it man. You know he plays every instrument? And his ear is so tuned. He will go into a mixing studio and say “could you please cut 5mhz off the end of that bass roll” and if you don’t do it he will come back, listen and say ” well its good but I don’t hear that 5 mhz gone”. As horrible as he was, Ike Turner. Tina Turner has the voice that she does because she was blessed with it, but Ike Turner is the reason Tina’s voice came out the way it did. The musicallity around it just absolutely amazing. There are so many others that my brain is going like ‘ting’. I also love Andrew Lloyd Webber. 

• How would you describe your genre of music? 

Its Soul. It’s pure soul. Soul with a sprinkle of Rock n’ Roll. That is what it is. 

• Please tell us about your debut album, when it will be available and where we can find you on social media etc… 

Social media http://www.facebook.com/luchase  On Instagram it is @luchase26 Im born on the 26th of May not because I am a gangster. Twitter @msluchase. My album will be released at the end of Spring. It is my favorite season and a time for people to get social here in South Africa. The album is titled Soul’d Out because it’s all Soul. My first single has been released to radio stations, they are taking their time with it but coupled with the music video we have shot I hope it will take off. It is called ‘By my side’ and you can find it on 750 online platforms. Simply google Lu Chase – By my side and you will find it.  

 Thank you Lu Chase for the good music and the invite to enjoy not only your music but your being as a performer. 

Thank you Goldie Styling for allowing me to cover this event. It was a total pleasure. 

https://www.facebook.com/.GoldiestylingLoveLocal.Culture

Keep an eye out for Lu Chase’s upcoming album. Follow her on social media and check out her live performances. She brings a lot of heat to the stage. Something for the soul, rock n roll and live music fans to enjoy. 

Thunzy for Goldie Styling 

  

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  

Chad Alexander – Asaman

31 year old musician and music director Chadwin Alexander sits down with the Asaman team and shares his story 

Could you share your definition of what a man is in a short paragraph 

A man is someone who keeps his word, at all costs…even though it hurts. Who makes it up to someone he involuntarily disappoints. Some one who takes pride in his work and always looks for solutions instead of focusing on the problems, no matter how tough they may seem. I was taught never to leave the house looking like you just woke up, so I think a man should always smell good, look good, and be courteous and polite and be gentleman like at all times. A man is someone who never gives up on a dream, despite what the world says and what society deems viable and safe, even if his family is included in that society. A man always puts the well being of someone else before himself. Contrary to popular belief, I believe a real man is one who is not ashamed or afraid to cry, not for the odd “rom com” but when its necessary to cry. A man is one who should be meek and humble enough to say “Im Sorry” when he has to, gentle enough to pay attention to the little things in life that count and strong enough to stand up for what is right in the face of adversity, and no matter what people may say or gossip about. A real man is not afraid to cry for help, on his knees in prayer.

Do you feel you were exposed to such men in your life growing up, if so kindly share who they were and their impact on your life


If there was one man that always had my attention, that man was Rocky BalBoa (Sylvester Stallone’s character in a boxing movie for those unfortunate ones who have no clue of that movie!!!?!?!?!) Jokes aside though, my grandfather was that man… IS that man!! A man who always reminds
me of how important God is, and that knowledge is power. I later deduced that knowledge is only power in the hands that understand how to turn that knowledge into Wisdom Power. My grandfather was the consummate gentleman, the benchmark of style and etiquette and one of the most Godly, God fearing men I’ve ever come across. He is definitely responsible in defining and grooming me into the man you see today.

Kindly share what you do on a professional level on a day to day basis


Before, when asked this question, I used to get befuddled at how to answer this question, but as time passed, I found that the easiest answer was to say that I am a musician, in its entirety. To simplify it, I am a professional pianist, what I do the most and what I am now, amongst many other things, is a Musical Director for a few South African artists and television shows and the occasional gospel show/concert
.

Does music integrate into your personal space as much as we see it impact you in professional spaces?


Most definitely!!! I am practically immobile at home if I don’t have music playing in the background. When I wash the dishes there’s music, when I shower/bath there’s music, when I do the washing there’s music, when I fall asleep there’s music, when I’m driving
, there’s music. I hope that answers your question.

Do you feel a religious outlook influences morality and what are your own moral convictions?


I do believe that any religious outlook can influence ones moral compass in both good and bad ways, hence the Wisdom Power I spoke of earlier. It is my strong belief that an individual needs to make up his or her own mind on what is morally and ethically right and wrong, no matter what religious background may be brought forward. This is actually in my opinion a very serious discussion you are raising here… there are so many facets to this question, maybe that’s for another blog hehehe (⏎ am I allowed to do that??) Coming back to the final part of your question, my moral convictions might appear to be simple and archaic, but I believe that when you can truly put another before yourself and truly apply the thirteenth chapter from a book I like to read called 1Corinthians; (a chapter in the Bible which depicts Gods way to love people), to every culture, every creed, no matter your religious standing and ethnicity, so much right can be done and so much wrong can be averted.

They say  ‘when you look good you feel good.’ We know you to be conscious of your appearance; does it affect how you feel about yourself?


An emphatic YES!!! I must start off by saying that I’m quite new to the fashion movement. I’ve always been known to possess my own sense of style, and thank goodness its evolved over time, cause when I look back, I just laugh at my fashion sensibility. I just wear what I’m comfortable in and
what feels right for that day. I think you dress the way you feel, and vice versa. I look at it as my social right, my humanitarian responsibility to look presentable at all times, for all occasions, whether I’m playing tennis, golf, squash, or cycling or even when I’m going for a walk in a park. I was raised to always look the part, even if you’re an amateur hahahahaha (⏎oops I did it again!?!?)

Do you wish to be a father someday and what would you want to teach your children?

This is a sensitive topic for me, but to hit straight to the question I would say YES. I would like to be a father, but more importantly I would love to be a great dad someday.

I see you said “children” I think lets start with ONE first and then take it slow from there hey!!?? So, what I would teach my “child” is to dream big just like daddy, cause I think having ONE wife and ONE child IS DREAMING BIG, let alone children and a few other wives!!! I digress, my child would know and understand that God and family and friends are important. I honestly think the only way to teach my child or pass on any good values I’ve learned, and warn them about the negatives and the “not so good” tendencies I was subjected to as I grew up, would be to show him/her how to love, and for me to LEAD by example. I do not want to be the parent who says “Do As I Say, Not As I Do”…I want to instill in them to “Do As God Says, And Practice As He Has”
In terms of roles in society, where would you place women? And how do you feel women should be treated in respect to this?



I would place women right beside all men in every way and in every sphere. I have a high regard for women in society, this respect I have gained for all women, was by seeing my mother and grandmother raise their children in times of great adversity and circumstance. I come from a broken home, so I know the pain and struggles I see in so many young people I come across today. That certainly did not stop my mother and grandmother from raising their children the best way they knew how. Yes they made mistakes, who doesn’t, but such strength I have seen in them that we all see -or may not see- in all women around the world, fighting and praying for their children and clawing and struggling
in the face of great adversity and insurmountable circumstances. I am proof that those seemingly insurmountable circumstances were NOT insurmountable AT ALL… and only through a mothers sheer will and faith in God, raised a man like me, and as a man, …“I will honour my mother and father so my days might be plentiful on this earth…”


Determination, coupled with a passion for what you do, seems to be essential when overcoming the negative effects of the unfortunate parts of your upbringing. Thus allowing you to fully explore your potential whilst creating a better foundation for the generation to come. 

  Circumstances and negativity can be a stone that breaks or builds. Iv chosen the latter. 

Photography by Aaron & Hur 

Simphiwe Kulla – Asaman 

Asaman meets with 27 year old musician and producer Simphiwe Kulla. A member of the fusion band The Muffinz. Here is what he had to share  

How would you define manhood?

 Manhood is a responsibility for all men who want to define themselves worthy of being man.

Has a career in the music industry always been your first choice or did you have different prospects?

I probably was the most confused kid around my peers. My grades were always sub-standard till about grade 9(std 7), and even then when my grades improved, I still didn’t know where I’d end up in life. I always dreamt of a lot of things, but felt some of my dreams and aspirations were influenced by my surroundings and society. A reality I battled with for three years in my varsity life. It hit me hard, so hard I sought counselling. Music was always there, a gift God gave me to keep me happy and sane. It just got to a point where it was a no brainier for me. So yes, I think music was my first choice. I just kept avoiding it because of how my surroundings were setup. Music wasn’t an encouraged form of income or career.             

How did your family, especially your father respond to your decision to pursue a music career 

Firstly, I think my parents didn’t do too bad with me. Actually, I think they did great, especially my dad. But I don’t think he understood how much of an impact he had on me as a person. He inspired me in ways he wasn’t aware of. It’s like uploading a video on YouTube and not realising how viral it might go. When it does go viral, you try your best to avoid the attention it comes with. I think that is how my dad raised me. He wasn’t for the whole music idea, society had successfully influenced him in thinking it wasn’t a proper and fruitful career. But yet, he bought me all the music I desired in the world. He supported me with my dreams and all my extra curricular activities as a kid. He bought me musical instruments. He flew me across the world to experience life in its totality. He didn’t know it, but he gave me a story to tell in my music. He helped stretched my influences and inspiration. He shaped me to have the mind for music production. Definitely a man worthy of the title father.            

Do you feel or believe children are well exposed to the Arts in this country? 

No not entirely. I feel like a lot more is done in selling sports, and economic benefits. It’s deemed better for you to represent your country in sports than in the arts. Funny thing this, ’cause Europeans and Americans are known more for their everlasting artwork. Even under colonisation, us Africans were taught more about the west’s art and its history as opposed to the random sportsman or sportswoman. It’s quite ridiculous actually. Back to the arts.  ‘Celebrity’ is more the focus than the actual art. Peoples skills are not being developed because the plastic world is what’s being sold to them. There is a huge gap. This is a matter that is very personal to me. Not enough is being done.   

Women tend to be objectified in the industry, what are your thoughts on this?

I think any real man who loves their lady dearly wouldn’t want her to be objectified… This topic is quite sad, in the sense that woman find a liking to being objectified. To be honest I even find myself liking it too. Sex sells, that’s the force, if you are not for it, you are considered conservative, therefore you are not progressive,hehe, ya ne! Self appreciation has been twisted. I don’t think I’ve also quite grasped my head around this topic. I’ll don’t think I have all the answers in life generally. I really don’t believe what society says is the end all and be all though. I can’t stand for something I don’t believe in. I fear for the day God blesses me with daughter.      

Do you think, with the values you currently live by, you could be what we term ‘a good father’, and how so?

Good father. I think only my future child can truly determine that. All I can do is try my best. But yes, I do believe I’m grounded enough to be a father. But nowadays that doesn’t seem to matter much, we focus too much on the expectation part of parenting forgetting  that this human we are raising is a person in their own right. All parents can do really is guide. Children will determine on their own where they want to place their beliefs. 

Rest assured, I’ll be going into fatherhood with the experience of being an uncle ;  the experience of being raised up by an amazing father ; and having the ever so good and faithful Lord by my side.  

 Do you participate in any social development programs for the younger generation and how do you feel about the Asaman campaign? 

I used to. I loved teaching others about music. Did it for about three years straight. I’ve stopped to concentrate on my career. As for the Asaman campaign, its needed. A lot of the wrongs in our society can be rectified by men who can take a stand and be progressive in the betterment of our current trying times. We need to drive ideas of a “good man” and not just an “ok man”.

Have your religious beliefs been compromised by the lifestyle adopted when pursuing such a career?

No my beliefs are still the same, from the foundations of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. My lifestyle isn’t lavish or plastic. It’s still similar to the days of my upbringing.    

Please share any other things you would like to pursue and how you feel they would benefit you and those around you? 

I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved so far. I’m still going to be pursuing other avenues of music and the industry. I’m still finding myself in this big and scary world of music, it’s going to be a beautiful journey ahead. I’m currently in school furthering my studies in my passion. Education is something necessary to us all. Knowledge is a treasure for me.  
The fear to pursue what we are passionate about is a common error, driven by possible ridicule. Ridicule of this nature usually comes from those closest to us, who have chosen to only believe what is true to them. Music also seems to be a popular topic in the Asaman space. I wonder why 

 I pay attention to every single detail in my life. Especially in my work and interactions with people. It helps me to be a step ahead and to appreciate the beauties of life 

Photography by Aaron & Hur