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  • Morena Leraba: Blending Our Stories with Modern Music

    A documentary by Blacknation Media, explores and reflects on discussions on Lesotho’s socio-political landscapes, artistic cultures, economic endeavours and tradition. To be screened again in Maseru, Lesotho at Alliance Française de Maseru (02/12/16), the documentary captures rural village life in Lesotho at Ha Nchela, Berea where Morena Leraba, a Mosotho shepherd and musician, broadly narrates their daily challenges as herders and his passion for music, while also displaying the potency of Sesotho language in music and poetry. Morena Leraba is originally a native of Ha Mojela in Mafeteng district, located south of Lesotho’s capital Maseru. Leraba’s music (especially lyrics) is deeply rooted in Lesotho’s traditional music, poetry, and it’s sub-genre, Famo, which was introduced as early as the 1920s when Basotho men were migrant workers in South African mines. However, the approach in the beat is significantly different as it hurls almost everything from Electro, Electronica, Afro-House and Hip-Hop, hence, dishing a whole new and unique sound. Leraba made his first appearance on the international scene in 2014 when he was featured in a song “Do You Know Know Lesotho” by a Cape Town/German band, The Freerangers. Carl McMillan, a filmmaker based in Lesotho was introduced to Leraba in the village of Ha Nchela, in Berea district (where he’s still based as a shepherd) and spotted his talent then. During the same time, he introduced Leraba to the band (friends he studied with in Cape Town); hence, did collaboration while visiting Lesotho. From there, Leraba released his first single, Bojete (Produced by Fritz Holscher, Germany) that got the attention of Brooklyn-based producer, Kashaka; hence, followed another collaboration, “Lithebera” and was premiered by Okayafrica in New York. His upcoming projects include a single with Mankind (under Blacknation Music), produced by Subterrâneo Recordsoficial in Brazil, and will be released in December this year. Another project include a 5-song EP with Kashaka (which will be released early 2017) and another single with DJ Spoko and Andre Geldenhuys from South Africa
  • Another June 16.

    By Edlin Chuene 2017, the 16th of June; morning and I am lying in bed after laying her brains and body numb; my mind then wondered somewhere amidst the skipped pillow talk into the possibilities of another sun-up sun-down and suddenly the date took me aback to memories of young me in a tie and grey fennels with yet a naivety in my zeal for what is honorable. Lying there, almost cuddled, I found myself going back to the timeless work of Sam Nzima during the 1976 youth uprising of the dead Hector in Mbuyisa Makhubu’s arms and then further wondering how the years of school uniforms and actual commemorations and speeches on this day had gone by all too quickly. The days of June 16 with streets filled with all generations of native South Africans in school uniforms and long publicized debates based on resolving youth struggles seem to be fading like the pages of decades-old outworn books from the Collector’s Treasury. The fiery passion of youth still burns within me and many others but I could never relate to the homage paid to the heros and heroines of this day over 40 decades ago; I do not really know those struggles. My struggle was never that of oppressive learning conditions or police hippos patrolling the neighbourhood – I have rather had money and societal esteem consume my greatest desires; the opportunities afforded by the unfortunate events of 16 June 1976 allowed me that much. The historic day has now become just another excuse to drink up a storm the night before, party and then spend half the day recovering from the hangover while prepping for night time to go at it again. It has become just another calendar date that bloggers can hashtag for greater reach or the poster title for most recreational institutions to attract a bigger turn out. None of these activities have anything to do with why this day became a national holiday and yet only a few are bothered. I am not one to point fingers from a higher moral stand point because I too am no different; what I do know is that our struggles are more tied to an identity drawn from a place of weakness; a history we had no say in writing; we suffer the most from lousy service delivery and a misrepresentation in all the offices of authority in the land. According to StatSA’s mid-year population estimate; those who are below the age of 35 years constitute about 66% of the total population in South Africa and this statistic is in no way represented within any government institutions.

    Reenactment of a June 16 in 2017.
    Photo by @benmoyo; Edit by @1454_

    At Blacknation Media we envision a generation of youngsters who would want to take to parliament on such a day to address what they feel are grievances that the government and the cronies in power are falling to do right by. We envision a woke generation that enforces the processes afforded by democracy instead of stand by dreaming or hoping for a change. A generation of such a mindset would birth many more Quinton Ndlozi’s who will challenge the self-indulging cadres currently running the show on their own turf. We are told that we are too reckless or too irresponsible but then again it was the recklessness of youth that lead to the revolt in ’76 or the “don’t care” attitude in the cadres that led to leave for Cuba to better prepare for when the country was won back from the oppressor I would like to believe that this is a vision silently shared by many young people including the voiceless and faceless millions in the townships and villages whom are left to suffer among many other struggles; poverty and unemployment; these conditions are then worsened by the actions of others. Protests are clearly not working as most of us wish they would; drastic measures are needed for these are drastic changes we want in effect. When culminating my thoughts on that glorious morning waiting for my lady to finally feel I deserve breakfast for my efforts I thought of wondering of to meet Sam to ask when he really thinks the great change shall eventually come or what he thinks it would take to enforce it.
  • Favelo International x Mankind

    Favelo International (est. 2014); every piece perfectly balances form and function for the young urban creative. Mankind walks and talks this balance through his urban sound of trap with a forever “trill” – true + real – message.

    Similarly like Favelo International, Mankind fails to follow trends but rather he chooses to carve his own path and that is the martyr of all the greats from all over the pages of history.

    From working with the likes of Morena Leraba and more recently Stilo “Tropicana Jiiig” Magolide, Mankind oozes versatility and and functionality.

    Here is a track that asserts to you the versatility that is Mankind.

    The creators of Favelo whom among other motivations took to making the clothes they longed to have but could not afford; today this is an internationally relevant clothing brand and the birth of another great.

    Favelo International’s collaboration with Mankind stands true to their name, the acronym; functional, active, versatility, equity, locomotion and optimism.

  • Smart Monkey – Mankind ft. Stilo Magolide

    Imfene ekhaliphile


    Direct translation. Smart Monkey – Mankind ft Stilo Magolide: 2017 June 16 new musical tribute to those who fell on this day 41 years ago; n. An informed young man or woman aware of how his society was rigged centuries ago to deter him or her at every turn but then realizes that to succeed; he or she ought to be smarter than the monkey he was set out to be from the jump – the Smart Monkey as Mankind and Stilo put it. Antithesis a figure of speech which refers to the juxtaposition of opposing or contrasting ideas. It involves the bringing out of a contrast in the ideas by an … how smart can a monkey really be? Personification A case where human qualities are given to animals, objects or ideas. In the arts, personification means representing a non-human thing as if it were human. As black people in South Africa the words monkey and baboon were used to refer to us in a derogatory manner, to dehumanize us and reduce us to as low we perceive the animals. The same antithesis perspective is evident in the words “I’m a proud monkey!” in Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 album titled To Pimp A Butterfly; this is evidently a global consensus amongst black rebelling against what was regarded as what we are for centuries now. As the youth of today we do not face the same challenges faced by our forefathers, our struggles rage from economic freedom to reinventing our identities. The words and underlying messages of this song are a sure guide in overcoming our own generation’s struggles.
  • Interview: DayPhotoLife!

    BN: Can you tell us more about Dayphotolife? what is it all about? DPL: Dayphotolife is a visual storytelling company focusing on creating content & creativity in general. BN: What inspired the name? and the creative process to create this  concept? DPL: Every life & culture, day to day life of people. BN: How different is it from every other creative collective that is already out there? DPL: There is no difference, we just telling stories the way we see it. BN: What is the future plan for Dayphotolife? DPL: The future is hard to plan, well you never know until you get there BN: What can people expect from Dayphotolife? DPL: You never know maybe photography school in years to come.
  • Instagram Style Crush

    Written by Nomsa Motale Her style is on-point! She is versatile and doesn’t mind experimenting with different clothing styles. She goes by the name of Nomalanga. She’s an actress, presenter, this woman is not only fashion forward but multitalented. This is why she is the ultimate Instagram style crush. Pictures: Instagram  
  • Mankind Drops New Video “Living Messiah”

    Mankind Born Tswelopele Tsotetsi in Emalahleni, formerly known as Witbank is dropping his first ever Album. His recent EP titled “Give Dat Tenda” which was dropped in June 2014. The content in his last EP (Give Dat Tenda) displayed a fountain of wisdom and memories of his life experiences as well as knowledge. The EP featured tracks like Tony Yengeni; an ear enticement covering real social issues within the global society, real matters that people normally turn a blind eye to and the society does this through kindness or as an act of humanity. Mankind grew up in Standerton, a small town in Mpumalanga where he began smashing drums every Sunday at a local church around the age of 13. While showcasing His new found talent in artistry, He would also recite poetry in front of various audiences. Now at age 25, He has only managed to work with His older brother to get through His first year of study in Journalism.  Music has always been a big and vital part of His Township, sometimes poverty stricken life. Another aspect to it is that His father was a religious follower of the Jazz sound and this led to a great influence on His exquisite taste in music. Certain about God’s existence, Mankind preaches greatness and shares on what He has seen, heard and believes to be. His new album will feature tracks like “Living Messiah” where He explores the concept of the living God through word and sound. ’’Living Messiah’’ gives an insight to a very depressing phase in His life. He had to face and overcome. The song gives hope to the hopeless and depressed while it emphases the power of God. Songs like ‘’Iso liwel’ umful’ ugcwele’’ which is taken from a Zulu proverb meaning, ’’The eye crosses the full river ‘’ which is a beautiful metaphor that means’’ A desire goes beyond the possible’’. Thus far, Mankind is only concerned about making real and positive change with His music, affect people in some way which stems from the irresponsible role that most artists have assumed as messengers.  His last words, GOD EXISTS! Mankind recently dropped his new music video titled “Living Messiah”. The music video was influenced by a very dark place that Mankind went through, it highlights conquering and overcoming depression and life struggles in general. It motivates whoever listening and gives hope to the hopeless. Mankind expresses his vulnerability and states how he felt. “Should you confuse, my light in my sight. Everyone’s light is inside. You’ll know your fight. The vision is to keep moving Tswelopele I did it, still doing it all for my family, and that is my fight.”, said Mankind.
    “A Man of He’s Father’s kind. The same man: Mankga Lefura nama ele seko While every man is trying to eat. A true Living Messiah, from being stuck. Living the broken life of a troubled artist, to serving another. Last Supper
    Courtesy of his Father above. Write him off as Jesus to the 21st century artist”
  • Adding Some Hope!

    Celebrities gathered in Alexandra to join Add Hope’s Hope against Hunger challenge leading up to World Hunger Day on 28 May. Personalities including Proverb, Jonathan Boynton Lee, Dr Alex Smile, Carmel Fisher, Nicole Da Silva, DJ Sabby, Bokang Montjane Tshabalala, Danine Naidoo and newly appointed Add Hope ambassador, actor Sthembiso Khoza, donated to help feed over 120 000 children around the country, challenging others to do the same. ambassador, actor Sthembiso Khoza, donated to help feed over 120 000 children around the country, challenging others to do the same. Head of Public Affairs, KFC Africa, Thabisa Mkhwanazi, says Tebogo is living proof of the real impact of Add Hope. “The impact of hunger on a child is much more than a grumbling stomach. Hunger effects how children see themselves, it impacts their self-esteem and what they feel they can accomplish. We need to work together to help children learn, grow and thrive. Every time you Add Hope, and that’s why we call it Add Hope, you actually give a child so much more than food. Head of Public Affairs, KFC Africa, Thabisa Mkhwanazi, says Tebogo is living proof of the real impact of Add Hope. “The impact of hunger on a child is much more than a grumbling stomach. Hunger effects how children see themselves, it impacts their self-esteem and what they feel they can accomplish. We need to work together to help children learn, grow and thrive. Every time you Add Hope, and that’s why we call it Add Hope, you actually give a child so much more than food.” Join the Hope Against Hunger Challenge this World Hunger Day and help Add Hope raise R3.5 million in May to feed children around the country. You can donate online at www.addhope.co.za or in any KFC restaurant in South Africa.
  • Things To Consider Before Exhibiting Your Artwork!

    Written by Nomsa Motale
    One of the many challenges thats artists face, is the challenge of getting their artwork on the right platform. They require the correct exposure so that their artwork can be in-demand. With that said, it takes a procedure for most artists to exhibit their work in well known galleries. I spoke to Zakara Raitt from Stevenson gallery and she had some advice for all the artists who want to know the 411 when it comes to exhibiting
    What is the biggest mistake that emerging visual artists make, when they submit their artwork to an art gallery?
    “I think the biggest mistake would be not taking the time to make a professional  portfolio PDF. Majority of the time artists submit their work without giving any context about who they are and what their work is about. Artists do not do the research about the gallery before submitting their work.I think the biggest mistake would be not taking the time to make a professional portfolio PDF.”
    What are the three essential things that every artist needs to have before they think about submitting their art work to a gallery? “Artists should have a full CV (including links to websites/blogs/instagram), a comprehensive artist statement and lastly a selection of their strongest works with full titles and possibly a short write up about the works.
    Do you think that it is better, when an emerging artist, books a space and has their own exhibition somewhere? or is it better when their work is exhibited at a well known gallery? what are the pro’s and con’s for both of these ideas/plans?
    “It is important at the early stages of your career to host exhibitions/happenings at independent spaces (not necessarily being a gallery or ‘art’ space) as these kinds of events have the potential of exposure to curators who might be interested in working with you or who would be able to give you input about your work.  Exposure via independent shows might turn into opportunities where you will be invited to be in a group shows which can only help your career.”
    For emerging artists who have excellent work but don’t have enough capital to showcase their work? what advice can you give to them?
    “Generally there are prestigious art competitions (for example L’Atelier and Sasol new signatures competition) which are a great platform that artists can use not only to get exposure but to also to win money that would be able to fund their creative practice. Vist the VANSA website for more details on current competitions.”
  • Creating, Documenting, Inspiring!

    Written by Nomsa Motale This artist goes by the name of Obakeng TH3KWL3ST. Inspired by blackness and it’s narrative, everything from rewriting it to simply re-emphasizing the greatness that is already known about it. Obakeng would like to delve into more serious issues within the black community through different artistic mediums. Obakeng would like to focus on topics such as intersectionality, patriarchy, and breaking the traditional mould of what male masculinity should be and look like. “Currently one of my favorite series I’ve worked on was one titled ‘Read More African Literature, Drink More Water‘ which I guess explains itself in the title but to elaborate, it was inspired by a Ted talk that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie did and she spoke about how reading more African Literature helped her learn about the greatness that being black carries as opposed to reading Western Literature which doesn’t communicate those ideas.” said Obakeng “The Farmers”, is a creative community that consists of Obakeng and friends. They basically help with bringing my ideas to fruition.” Check out the amazing work below

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