Wednesday, 31 August 2011

About Shisanyama!

Welcome to Shisa Nyama, so we've been postponing and postponing but we've finally managed to go online.
Let me save you the suspense and tell you what this Shisa Nyama thing is all about.

Over the past couple of years young black people have caught on to the habit of hanging out at different Shisa Nyama's around the country. Whether it be outside the Rock in Soweto, Mzoli's in Gugulethu or even outside Value Meat in Witbank.
One of the most interesting things (that I've found) about these settings is that they have a tendency of sparking some serious debate. Some socially conscious, some politically inspired, others are complex but practical intellectual dissection of the female/male species. In all the Shisa Nyama's I have been to, I have had the opportunities to meet some seriously intelligent, educated, driven and influential young people who have the same concerns and aspirations that I have.

You see, one of the things that I have come to realize about this thing called life, is that we all have similar aspirations, concerns, and fears. We all hate corruption, we all hate it when the power suddenly goes off when we were finally starting to warm up in front of our heaters, we all fear earning less than we spend, and we all hate Miss. Croissant-and-Blue-Cheese *cough-cough*.

I have always appreciated the value of quality engagement and progressive debate regarding the important issues of life and this precious land of ours. I appreciate it as much as I appreciate oxygen and microwaves. Furthermore I have always appreciated people who value quality thought too, and I try to avoid those that Floyd Shivambu says possess a serious bout of 'Intellectual Laziness'.
It is simple, when people partake in quality debate, it increases the quality of thought and ideas, it is the possession of such ideas that will spark and inspire a series of small acts that will effect change in our society.

This blog has been created to deal with exactly this, to influence the quality of debate in Emalahleni regarding some of our socio-economic and geo-political issues, we want to understand them and deeply engage on them.
Please note that this is not a platform for some self-righteous wannabe intellectuals who sing from the same hymn book as opposition parties, but we do hope to critically analyze issues with little use of bombastic words, you know those words only found in the heart of a thesaurus.

So there you have it, Shisa Nyama is a less expensive, more in-depth, and less alcohol-induced way to Shis'Indaba, and is a wonderful platform to engage on issues, let's call it: expropriation (of ideas) without compensation. (LOL)
-Simon Mtsuki




What state is Witbank really in through the eyes of its young citizens?  Is it all about potholes, power cuts, water cuts, partying and church?  We here at Shisa Nyama set out to find that out through surveys sent to various young bloods of Witbank to see what they like, what is it that they are doing for themselves and the city.


We all know of the chronic problems Witbank faces at the municipality, we may not have a billing crisis but other areas of service delivery are definitely in crisis.  A mammoth crisis at that, a week doesn't go by without complaints about the power, water, roads or should I say driving across the moon's surface on a daily basis.  Who needs NASA when you've got a drive through Witbank to navigate.  This definitely contributes  to a negative perception about the city.  Naturally  it should,  it raises various issues about what is really being done about these issues.  Are the head honchos at the municipality another typical breed of ANC cadre who are out to milk the city for all its worth?  It would be naive not to think so.  We should mobilise our rights as citizens to raise our voices for what we think is definitely not right with our city.


On the flipside there is positive sentiment emanating from the young of this city.  We all have a vision of the way we'd like to fix the ills of Witbank.  The obvious ills as stated above are top of the list of everyone's to do list if they were offered the opportunity of being mayor for a day.  If we all have this vision, why does the municipality not listen to the youth?  Well this is because the youth is not involved that much in their community.  Involvement can be broken down to a weekly service at Cappello on Saturday followed by the cleansing of sins the next day at various churches that have mushroomed around Witbank.  We complain but we are doing nothing about it.  Are we not being heard?  Are we as timid as mice or do we simply not care?


Like the world over, we are progressive in our thoughts, embracing various media through the internet.   Facebook, Twitter, blogs, magazines, you name it, we are reading it, we are tweeting and updating it on Facebook by the minute, nevermind the hour.  The Middle East Spring fires were lit on social networks.  We have the power through the internet to make our voices heard.  Lets stand up and be counted and not shout from the top of the hills like a certain president.  We are the future custodians of this gifted city.






I believe there's a thin line between all of life's elements and relationships.  Peace and war, love and hate, fear and respect.  The six degrees of separation.  The list could go on and on at nauseum but what I'm going to look at more closely is that thin line between fear and respect.  Do you want to be remembered because you had the meanest look in the hood and nobody wanted to step to you even to say "Hi" or do you want to be remembered for being that guy people could look up and say "I want to be like that."

Now, after an experience I had recently and what I see happening around me, I ask myself, are we living in a society where institutions that are meant to uphold what is seen as 'right' are feared or respected.  A few weeks ago, me and some friends of mine were arrested by those great men in blue who love to indulge in some nookie during office hours.  We were driven around the township aimlessly looking for more criminals but their manhunt only turned up a rape suspect.  So out of a great trek around the township all they could show for their efforts were three innocent passengers and a rape suspect.  Now the shocking part was what met us at the Vosman Police station. All you've read about the police in the papers, seen on TV, it's all true!  The only thing I didn't see was a homemade porno set, SIGH! As we entered the station's holding cells, our senses were greeted by blood spattered walls & pungent smell of rusty sweat. I saw 1st hand with these brown eyes of mine police brutality.  Information is beaten out of suspects, the kind of beatings you see in Kung Fu movies.  In the police station there is no thing as 'innocent until proven guilty.' The police are a law unto themselves.  Luckily we were let out in the wee hours of Saturday morning with no record of us being there.  So no criminal record, phew. 
What we must do as the citizens we are is report any rot we see in institutions meant to uphold the constitution of SA.   Institutions that spring to mind range from the SAPS to trade unions to government.  I see newspaper stories about police corruption, the recent sex-tape, police brutality and I ask myself do I respect the police or do I fear them?  The answer that comes to me is that I fear them and I shouldn't.  I should be able to trust them with my life but I don't.  I fear that my life could be endangered in dealing with them.  I don't want to say 'Hi' to a policeman, I want to get out of their path as soon as possible.  And Mr Policeman doesn't want to respect me, he's ready to give me the whole nine yards, ass whipping and all.  It's a sad situation.  Most of socities ills could be put down to there not being enough respect but more of fear.  It's all about a chain reaction of opposites.  I will do that because I don't respect you and you will do the opposite because you fear me.  It shouldn't work like that.  There is a lot facing our country at the moment but if we start with the little things, it could go a long way in solving our problems.


Have you ever had a conversation with a woman friend of yours as you normally do, conducting yourself in the normal animated way that you do, and all of a sudden this dear she-mate of yours snapped, telling you exactly how she felt about your childish insensitive ways, and walked away? Leaving you confused, wondering what it is you said that nearly got your head bitten off?
Or even worse have you ever taken your girlfriend out to an emotional movie, and she started crying and crying and crying and crying....
Doesn't that confuse you? I know it's emotional, but damn girl? It's just a movie calm down.
I've never been able to cry in any movie. The only time I ever cried during a movie was when I watched Hancock, and that was because I had paid R40 for a movie in Rosebank, and about the same price for coke and pop corn for a crap movie. I had to cry, 80 BUCKS wasted, on a student budget nogal. Emotional stuff I tell you.
And have you ever wondered why it is that women spend all their lives getting emotionally involved with soapies. Look I know there is a minority of men who watch soapies but we can all agree that this minority are men who watch because their ruthless wives/girlfriends force them, or because they are men who do not have DSTV and cannot bring themselves to watch a channel with an ol' Afrikaans man commentating on mating lions, so soapies it is.
But even these men don't get as emotionally involved as our sisters. Women get angry at the television screen, you find them swearing at the soapy character that stole the other ladies man. Have you ever walked in on a lady passionately involved in the scene, as if she was the one being cheated on? "Ngabe yimi bengiyo'mthela ngamanzi ashisayo" (If it was me I would pour boiling water on him).
I remember once at my friends place, watching something called the Bold and The Beautiful where Ridge Forrester's father left the mother for a blonde lady who once dated Ridge (the son). At the sight of this my friends' mother who was sitting right across from her husband underwent a transformation of facial expression, she evolved from her usual nice courteous self to a deadly look on her face and said 'Hayi mina ngingambulala, NYA!!! (I would kill him dead), I spotted a drop of sweat from my friends dad...I could tell he would never cheat on his wife, at least not with his sons girlfriend.
As we celebrate Women's Month, I would like celebrate women, I would like to send a shout out to all women and say thank you.
Thank you for dumping us when were really getting into the relationship and seeing you as our wife!
Thank you for ordering things that we cannot afford at the restaurant and acting like you didn't know it was expensive!
Thank you for coming to our parties and saving us from the normal father's day celebrations that plague all men!!
Thank you for tricking us into relationships with your small waists and then letting yourself go three months into the relationships.
But most of all thanks for being you. Contrary to popular belief we like you as you are, there is a certain charm to your existence that makes us want more of you. We like your company and your different points of view, it is in the difference that we find balance, reason and progression.
We don't want competition from you, all we want is for you to be the best you that you can be.
If there is any way we can help please let us know and if we are making it a bit too hard for you call us to the side and let us know. We love you ladies... NO-HOMO.
P.S. Rugby season is coming up, soapies can wait!

-Simon Mtsuki