Theatre Work On Sale

See this as a review.

‘Idyllic Lives’

You can walk out of a show not liking how it happened, ‘the structure’, but you can fall in love with so many aspects.

The wonderful dancers that move so well they make your muscle orgasm, no, truly my muscles still have a shaking spasm for how well the performers could move.

The design, oh, what a design it was, like sex for the eyes, not everyone loves sex, so replace sex with whatever you desire and be charmed by that image, yes, that’s the stage design.

The music, I suddenly wished the live musicians were the show but I understand how without bodies dancing, the music would have been useless.

The work as beautiful as I have described it lacked a certain structure. In the world of comedians, its something they dub “Callback” the work began a certain way, a very beautiful way I might add, it lied to me really, it drew me in with the opening, dancers rolling like hay on stage but so hypnotic, I was caught in their web but after that it was filled with “moments” rather than a line structure, I was left saying ‘Oh wow that piece is nice’

Yes, it didn’t really connect together, the movements/dance although very wonderful there didn’t connect to the concept of the work, there were so many movements but they didn’t feedback to the concept at all, I felt again I was left watching how these performers could move wonderfully but not necessarily how they are creating a working narrative.

I want to defend it and say perhaps if I was Chinese, I would have gotten it more, but the audience around me although enjoyed it, I felt they too sensed the disconnect.

Can I go back to talk about the design? I get jealous, perhaps it’s because I hardly get to work with designers on my works. The design was something to feast your eyes on, it wasn’t like the best stuff in the world but I envisioned so many ways it could have been utilized, I felt all types of emotions.

Sand falling from the sky, something I’ve seen before, but totally worth re-seeing, animation, it could have been used more, it really could have. Bamboo sticks, OMG, they used those sticks for just a short moment but I screamed no, you are using them wrong, bring them back here in this moment, so it connects with what you did earlier.

I walked out content, I walked out understanding that we create differently, we work in certain ways, while some of us work in imagery others work in narrative, I am the latter, I want to connect my work to a certain line that when it ends you understand how it began even more.

I walked out wanting to create again, to build that connecting story, now I wish I could steal those performers.

What work have you seen and connected with lately or disconnected?

Academic Orgy

Def: Orgy

-A group of people/friends or strangers that engage in sexual satisfaction with each other. It can happen in certain intervals of time.

I haven’t done anything creatively constructive in a while, not from lack of ideas rather from lack of inspiration; Inspiration to begin, other body inspiration etc.

However as I ponder on this, it occurs to me that I actually have something to speak out to the “world” in quotation marks because it’s not everyone who will get to read this, even though I’d like to reach that far.

I have different dialogues everyday, each uniquely interesting in its own way. Amongst these many conversations one that had awaken me was with my friend/brother Mlondi. We were again speaking arts and other things, what came up important was art academic writing.

I was reading a tweet that stated “when your dissertation no longer makes sense to you, it is then that it’s finished” I laughed out loud but became more sad as the statement went deep in me. I remember how that felt like, I remember going in writing my dissertation with a certain idea and what came out at the end was not entirely what I was saying, it’s not that it didn’the say it; the problem is it said things in a very complicated way that as reader you will get lost in translation.

This brings me back to the conversation my friend and I were having; Who are we writing these papers for? It becomes clear that we are literally writing papers to ourselves and the people in our closed spaces (academically enclined) hence the orgy title. I find that terrible, i hate it. For me,  part of the reason I delve into artistic creation whether it be practical or written, I want everyone to kinda have access to it, to experience my experience and either relate or find something that can help them.

An academic writing doesn’t seem to fairly offer that. My friend went as far as to say “who in the hood will understand what Stanislavsky is saying or even worse practically, who will understand the deep layers of a performer shoving a Bible into her vagina” frankly no one” these images are beyond their capacity; not because of being dumb, just a matter of understanding. I have seen it happen “what is happening in this thing?” As we watch a work that I watch and thought was very insightful.

Artist have such great ideas, but these ideas written on paper amount to nothing because the only person who will read it, is the person that wants to write an essay related to your work. The gentleman who is struggling to break through this idea that he has in the hood, where your paper could help will never get to see/read the paper, even if they do “wtf is it saying”

 So at the end you ask yourself is it really necessary, all this academic writing we do. Is it worth it, if it doesn’t help the majority, your written idea collects dust in the shelf or online somewhere. I’m sorry but I don’t what to write like that anymore; not many people read my blog but I can assure you many people read it then those who read my paper.

Which is rather messed up since I took more time writing the paper then a blog post, but this post is imbued with my honest feelings then a dissertation will ever be.

All this rubbing each  other out is tiring. Why do we have to distinguish ourselves as “academics” by producing papers that are difficult to read. Should we not rather aim to speak the simplest things that when any normal human being reads it goes ‘Oh shit! I could have said that too, I’ve seen that happen’ but nope we go for what the fuck did this person just say, do I need a dictionary to read.

I can tell you there are words in my dissertation that I still find difficult to grasp, because I don’t use them in my daily language or any language for that matter besides this academic orgy we all keep getting involved in.

So, what is the solution? How can we get better? I don’t know really, maybe we can keep writing blogs like these, open YouTube channels, you know for “Exposure” a word I am quite familiar with, and always tired of hearing. How much exposure do I need really, the sun has burned me already.

You can’t really attack academics head on, they will defend their reasons and frankly they would probably win with a lot of jargon words you’ll have to look up; out there someone has attempted it.

I actually wrote something similar to this years back titled What the Homi Bhabha? This new version confirms my fed upness about the whole academic writing situation.


What is your opinion?

The Race card II: What did you just say?

People are tired of race conversations; damn, I’m tired of race conversations, but I’m only tired because people take every little thing so seriously.

Some racial/racist things should really be laughed at. It’s only things were people are unfairly reaping benefits or causing harm that it should be taken seriously; other than that who really gives a fuck

“Did you die?”

If you didn’t, why does it matter; let that person be stupid. I really find humor in every racial stereotype that I can find, at most times I blatantly make the stereotype apparent and let us converse around it.

Mlondi my friend told me he got into a conversation were Chinese asked him why he was black, which he replied why do you guys have small eyes like this (imitating the eyes).

If you’re still going to cry like a little bitch when racial things/stereotypes/ non lethal/threatening offenses happen that concern race, then my friend there is a long road ahead.

This read will take quite long, get chips/nachos/tea/wine or whatever you freaking eat/drink in your place of comfort.

The least Racist person in the room.

Last month I drafted a writing that talked about race, I didn’t publish it; I thought it wasn’t a little immature, focused too much on self rather than looking at the bigger picture; However elements from that writing do appear in this, because I am looking at ‘Race’ in a sense. Conversations about race are always complicated aren’t there? More importantly lately racism. Who’s more racist? I think everyone is actually a little racist; either direct or indirect, if you can’t admit that then ‘my friend’ you need help.

As pre other writings I like making myself and my experiences as examples, this writing will be no different.

There has never been a time were I fail to mention the first person I ever had sex with was Indian.

Uhmm that’s a little bit racist right? Yeah kinda

What had triggered this writing? Well after vicariously experiencing a little ‘racism’ I began asking myself, friends and colleagues some questions; Perhaps the main question being: Should I be offended by every racist thing that happens?

Using a word I clearly did not know as a racial slur for a black person, someone next to me was insulted. I of course did not pick it up; because I wasn’t familiar with the word. I was a little bit confused so I then went to ask this question to everyone in my contact by phrasing it as follows.

Should as an African black person I be offended by the word Nigga?

The answer is as Chris Rock once said “not really”. I left the answer to the public and I got different answers some expected, others surprising.

  1. I can’t relate to the nigga word cause I or my parents or my ancestors never got to be called that or disrespected like that.

For me as an African, kaffir is what would make me livid.

Kaffir is a racist term used in the Southern Parts of Africa to offend the black person. Unlike like nigga it’s really hard to take ownership of the word, and use to it to greet fellow black brothers and sisters, it somehow still holds sensitivity towards others.

Please read What’s up my Kaffirs, I wrote it a. long time ago. It will shed some light.

  1. Every black person must be offended by the word. Racism anywhere in any form must offend us!

As a writer, my issue with the word nigga is that it has become an embodiment for the black racial slur… it’s the N-word; but honestly in context I don’t really relate to it. The word is famous because it’s American.

  1. JC intent Also matters .(why did a person use a word ?) I am questioning in a non-English speaking country, the person might not know the connotation attached to the word ?I don’t know. You could swear at someone unintentionally in Mandarin I imagine ??

Intention behind the use of the word. As stated the word Nigga has been reformed in a sense by Black Americans, they have taken ownership of the word thus in a sense making it null void.

The problem again comes back to the fact that for other words, ownership might have not yet been taken, the use of that word opens up wounds; this is not to say nigga doesn’t open wounds, it does according to who uses it and in what manner.

We are all technically a little bit racist, and I think it’s okay to be a little bit racist; it’s the overachievers of racism that make the world an ill place to live in.

Does it not count as a little bit racist to be excited that you slept with someone outside your own race, it doesn’t matter if the feelings are real or not, that little excitement is kinda of racist.

I’ve heard people saying it’s racist for white people to say ‘I’m not racist, I got black friends’, yeah it’s kinda racist but black people use that line too, so why is it not considered racist?

This all comes back to the question of who’s more racist than the other or a question I posed “Can black people be racist?”

Uhmmm yeah of course, depending on the situation black people are hella racist. I have come to realize however that in their own space/country/community people really do tend to be racist/indifferent.

In your own country you feel a sense of belonging and ownership, so of course you tend to act indifferent to anyone who is not from there; So ultimately that is what creates this racist ideology.

I don’t have all the answers though, I just have questions.

If you have something to add, feel free to add, I like having these conversations as long as we find humour in them.

Milestones and Relationships

Even relationships have milestones. How often did you think the friends you have in high school would be your best friends forever, I mean let’s go even earlier back, those young days, those young friends you grew up with; at that age you certainly believed that you couldn’t live without them. There are certainly some of us who are able to keep the friends we had when we were young, however unless both of you shared identical interest and ended pursuing similar education interest it’s likely you are no longer the same together.

I probably have written this so many times inside different post but whenever I go home I always feel that my friends and I no longer share the same interests, beside the fact that most times they end up placing on this pedestal in terms of life; I feel that our interest are never aligned, their life’s are totally based on the lifestyle of the hood while I have seen what the world has to offer and as Dave Chappelle once said “I know the game now”

So our relationships have milestones, and believe me I won’t only be referring to the bad stuff but also the good we can have in these milestones. In honesty the milestones prove something about us social beings, that we are forever changing beings, that what once made you feel a certain way can progressively make you feel nothing later. In this blog I will intertwine so many events that highlight such, perhaps you will relate and argue if I am telling the truth or not, I could be pushing air out my ass really but we’ll see.

In 1997, I just moved into the hood, Willowfontain, due to some events that happened in my childhood, link below

We had to relocate. I was the new guy in the location, did not help that I was a shy kid, but it helped that I was adventurous. I made my first friend Bongani he was quite older than me, but I remember we were best pals. In that time that guy made moving into the new location not bad at all, I certainly felt like I was forgetting the old town I was at. He lived quite a few houses from me, so naturally I believed we’d last like a soapie, but life doesn’t work like that does it. He was older as I mentioned, as we grew his mentality on what to do as a social being + male was ahead of me; he began to explore, I had other interests. What probably changed the dynamics of our relationship was that he introduced me to some of his friends and lord behold, I was more best-friends with them than him.

So we moved apart in life. Unfortunately, or rather very fortunately, the friends he introduced me too became my besties and are still in my life today, Bongani on the other hand has seen a lot of terrors in life. He certainly grew up quickly, looking at how his life turned out we clearly were destined for different lifes; now and then I see him, greet him and wonder if he remembers that we once were best-friends

A friend of a friend of mine.

In the earlier 2000s I made a couple of friends, stolen in my previous friendship relationship Thulasizwe “Engine” because when he was young when he walked he use to make an engine sound all the time, I mean all the time, and Sipho “Bones” because he was very skinny, it took me til my late 20s to figure out that name, I swear I never knew what it meant. These guys are still the only people around the location I grew up with I consider friends, we did everything together from smoking teabags, playing local baseball, soccer, karate clubs and fights, a lot of fights. However, life did create a huge gap between us; we never went to the same schools, I was, as I still am an education nerd, I saw something in life, I believed I could dig something out of it than what it was offering me, so slowly we were drifting away from each other without realising it. I will come back to them later.

Primary school

It’s possible to meet someone in such a young life who will become so close to you that you consider him a brother, and oddly enough our relationship didn’t begin very strong, it was rather here and there. In this life time I met Mduduzi ‘Ray” the name Ray came later in life; This man means a lot to me, if I consider one man a brother from another mother it is this man. Together we have experienced a lot, even when times changed and life took us in different directions calling this man when I was in need of something or calling this man to just say ‘hey’ makes me breathe easily. We’ve had our fair share of fights. There was a long gap in our relationship from secondary primary school to high school, a very long gap, but somehow life pulled us back together. Ray is a unique man, it hurt me quite a lot that at the end of our high school I left him behind; however, like I said we are all meant to take different journeys and most of those journeys make us who we are today.

High school

Stats say a lot of things; statistics say some of the relationships we create in this milestone lasts quite long. It is not for everyone however, but it is for some. Stats say some of the intimate relationships we make in this milestone last a lifetime, I was unfortunately not amongst those either, I am rather happy about that, as I am happy for those who found the love of their lifes in this time. I had a friends who got married in this life time and still married til this day, kudos to them.

Again that feeling grew in me, that the people I meeting here will be my friends forever, and for a long while it felt like that, for the who lifetime of high school it felt like the friends I was making in this era would be my friends forever, and I had crushes, being inlove for the second time felt foreign, I understood I was changing. I met Philani ‘Terry’ in 2005 the Mariah Carey years of We belong together, although that song is dedicated to the crush I had at that time Nondumiso. Terry and I were pigs in a pond, we vibed, we had the same interests, we loved books and we dreamt of making it big in Hollywood, a wish years later I wish I never had, I realised early on how hypocritical Hollywood really is.

We got separated the next year as our learning interest didn’t align but our friendship survived as it would survive til 2008 (the end of high school). As I said in high school a lot of us create relationships, I had a lot that lasted and l a lot that I thought would transcend time but again life has different paths. In high school I met Nkosinathi ‘Mazzi’ a man of honour. Our relationship did not have a great start, rather it was a confusing start but it grew to be a fruitful relationship that I appreciate til this day, and forever will appreciate holding on to it even after high school when things didn’t seem to go well for my brother; I was there for him and later he returned the favour by helping me back when I needed a place to stay in varsity. There is an old African saying, I know it to be African

“Isondo liyajika jika” which loosely translates to “The wheel always keeps turning, what was once on top, will be at the bottom someday”

There is a quite a lot people I could mention in this milestone of my life, but most of them just faded away. It is only I who now and then reaches out to see if life is still within them, I remember there is a gentleman Thamsanqa ‘Dollar’ that when I was in high school I promised myself that the day I get a dance school I was call him to come teach at it, that dream is still within me, it is with hope that he is still alive, life was never kind to him.

University and Work

Then perhaps there is this milestone, the one I consider to have made the most impact in my life, perhaps the one that has created a foundation to who I am today. When I was young I constantly would tell my location friends that life is bigger than the hood, we watched so many movies that clearly showed that there is more to life, that there is a whole world, last year we had this conversation, I was telling them I am going to China, they were not that surprised Bones said “I remember you use to tell us that you’ll travel the world someday, back then we laughed but you never laughed at yourself’

University taught me a lot of things, if not how to enjoy being myself, as it does for all those who went to it, and are still experiencing it. Again, I created relationships that I firmly believed would last forever, some never did and some today, I don’t know what I would do without them. The first friend I ever made in varsity was Vukani ‘mavuka’ this man was an artist in nature, a revolutionist that came from the hood. Vukan was basically the opposite of me, while I was still cooked up in a shy shell, Vukani was the expressive wild card, man loved women, and some didn’t’ shy from loving him back, we made work together, he disappeared for year at one time, I brought him back because he had something I wanted, he was a performer and I wanted him in one of my works. I still talk to Vuks til this day, he was the one who dubbed me “The joker” no one even me knows why, but I reckon if not from the crazy things I do, its clearly from the fact that joker has J in it like my name. I grew up a lot in varsity, the beginning years were a struggle as with most of us, no money, so you wonder how you will survive but the lady who gave birth to me, my mother always somehow came through for me.

I met a bunch of people here, perhaps the one significant place to me in varsity was the drama department, for a long while I never wanted to leave that place, it felt like home, like I would be there forever, a decade certainly is forever, I watch friends come and go, lovers come and go

In varsity a lot of life milestones get achieved really; it’s in varsity that I had my first “girlfriend” Roopen, I heard she’s about to embark on her new milestone. It is in varsity that I first experience what heartbreak was, from the above of course, worse I didn’t even realize I was heartbroken til a lady friend Fallon, who I recently tried reaching to, sat me in the sport field and made me realize I was actually crying inside. She, Fallon was quite a special lady, I’m not sure if she knew it, I hope she did. At one point we sat on the roof at drama thinking about what life might have planned for people like us. Yeah, it’s just a memory now.

There is quite a lot that happens in varsity, and as much as you make a lot of relationships, you lose a lot of them too. I met lecturers who dressed me in confidence Paul, and those that inspired me Mr. X, a man who’d later indirectly teach me that you can be close to perfect as you can but you’re still human. I consider a lot of people friends in this milestone, again some I thought I’d never lose but life has this idea about how our paths don’t really tread the same way.

I met TQ and Mpilo in varsity, these fine gentlemen, I’d see them right in front of my eyes become national superstars. It is with honesty that i can admit that we drifted a part, but everytime i see them it’s like we are young again. I made fun academic rivals, people who knew how create life around them; Kline was one of the people who did that. This milestone is important for those that are able to get into it because it teaches you things that you should value and introduces you to this foreign environment, these people who you’d have never met if you lived in the location your whole life. The first friend outside my race I met here, Neesa.

I still question why I never fell in love with her; Well could be I was enjoying being her friend and being friends with girls is something I was use to. It’s in this milestone that you make such deep friendship relationships that you mostly never realize when you’re in love with someone, that happen to me, with a white girl named Lynn, but race, I wrote a book about it, link below.

As varsity years blew by I made long lasting friendships that changed my life, I met Sanele, the man dubbed suspect, a name that fits him like a glove, he can’t OJ out of it either, although if he could, he would. I met Letho ‘Army’ who has moved on to his new milestone of having a family, if one knew the road he took to get there, you’d be asking, how is he alive. Well in fact most of my friends from varsity you’d have that question. I met Sizwe here, a man who contributed to inspiring me to dance later who said, I inspire him, remember that wheel, it keeps turning.

Then there was Simphiwe “Fiddy” “Mfalme” there are more names, the man has more names that Jesus does, in fact with his beard he could pass as Jesus. I learnt a lot from Fiddy, and not all of it good things either, hence why he has made quite a contribution to my life. I’very lived with Fiddy as brother, a friend, a son, a father… in each other we’very played quite different roles.

We have had a fair share of fights, I directly learnt that giving up on something you love is not an option, but like I said, he’s human. He has flaws, from his errors I have learnt too, those that he can manly admit and those that he is afraid to admit. Sometimes if not most times I want to klap him in the head for the worse decisions he has made, but he’s a brother at heart I forgive him.

In my varsity milestone I achieved a lot, I was a learner and transcended to become an educator, it is when I was in these milestones of work that I met lovers, again stats say that you meet the love of your life at workplaces, it doesn’t say in what manner. I met Londeka while I was a junior lecturer at a college, after that our relationship grew wings and flew. I was happy, I’ve been in flings throughout my varsity milestone before but I was never in a relationship, then I was in one. For the life of me, I had hope it would last beyond time, but life changes doesn’t, it diabolical like that. When I planned a new leap into my next milestone, life didn’t necessary allow us to transcend together, i hope she is happy whever she might be.

While I was in this working milestone at university I met Mlondi, who I consider my best friend. Some journeys only the people who have lived through them can tell the story. We’ve played a huge role in each other’s life, we’ve cried on each shoulders when life had knocked us down, we might have even shared a woman or two without realization at some point in life, well that’s no secret. If I were to share the actions and events we’ve been through, it would definitely need it’s own blog. To even think that our relationship began in a different milestone for me as his educator and transcended to what we are now.

We continue to learn from each other, we continue to make mistakes and guide each other through them. Together we are in a new similar milestone, working as foreign English teachers in China. When we talk he tells me stories of how different his life has become, how he is reinventing himself to better, like Ultron his body and mind keep evolving. That is what a new milestone makes you realize that you can keep things that matter and discard those that don’t add value to who you are becoming.

If you’re reading this and you know me, and you feel that some words come out harsh especially if we created a certain relationship, I’d advise you to not feel that way, but rather ask yourself in the life that I am in right now, what exactly do you know about it. Do you know that I was in a Chinese prison for 5hrs, lost in translation and afraid what would happen to me? You probably don’t, most probably you knew after months; the reason being, the people who could help me, even mentally/psychologically/spiritually were reached and I was able to get help. It’s not you, it’s me, okay maybe it’sthe way of life really.

In this new milestone I am still learning,you’d have thought at the age I am in, I would have figured life out by now.

I don’t, I fucking haven’t.

What I have figured, perhaps what I figured years ago is I know what I want for myself. I’ve worked hard to put myself in every possible milestone I could that I wanted; I won awards, I learned how to create poetry, I flirted with a lot of women. All of it matters cause without it, without learning from those relationships and the mistakes in between I would be a different person.

Perhaps without a doubt, the one milestone that will Always mean a lot to me was when I became a brother to a young sister; I sure love all my family members, my mom Busisiwe, my little brother Lindokuhle but the one person who means everything to me is my little sister Lockia, I never really know if she knows, probably doesn’t but being the first person in 1999 I ever said I love you too my sister holds a place in my heart that perhaps no one will ever have, Yeah she has problems and she’ll get married to some dude some day but she’still my sister.

You see what happens in life, in each milestone we go through, we break barriers. We discover that life has a lot to offer. Life has all these various things to offer to everyone, I mean it won’t the same, you won’t necessarily feel like it is making any difference but you’d surprised.

I can’t wait to reach a new milestone, become an owner of property ‘dance’, only work for my passion, that would be something, and having a family; that would really be something, however I am not in a rush.

What milestone has made an impact in your life so far? Do share and perhaps we might end up sharing reveal deeper ideas

My English teacher spoke IsiZulu

Years back I ran into a gibberish of words jumbled up, with no sense but I could read them; it was one of those things that try to make you feel guilty by saying “if you can read this you are lucky”

It’s such a small thing isn’t it, it seems small being able to read and write, specifically for this writing post, being able to read and write English. If you can read this blog and importantly utter the words as you read, consider yourself to have knowledge, well you have a tool that give you access to an abundance of knowledge/information that is waiting for you to discover it. However because you probably take things for granted, you will read and say whatever.
I am dedicating this post to my English teacher Ms. T.I Dlamini. 

I am currently a foreign language (English) teacher in China. I have a lot of history with this language, I have been a fan of reading and writing since I could remember, certainly it’s not something I will quit on doing soon.

With honesty I can say that it’s not easy teaching English to young kids. Can you Imagine it’s only been a week for me so far and I can tell how strenuous it will be. Again to be honest I think the strenuous part of it for now is that I have spent so many years doing more action than talking that talking seems almost foreign; gosh how do people talk so much it’s exhausting; and of course having been an academic lecturer teaching young kids might seem like an easy transition but gosh!! I can feel my voice box cracking already.

However as much as this post reflects on that; I want to reflect on something more significant. It refers to the title of this post.

During my tenure as a student, a high schooler, our English teacher while teaching English would break into mother lingo, this of course to explain better what she is teaching. I was trapped in two minds about that action of hers, loathing it to the core and finding appreciate how relaxed she was about teaching us this foreign language.

As an adult and an English teacher in a foreign country I am leaning more on seeing the bigger picture to her actions. My eyes have been widely opened about what she did and how it was helpful to us to learn a second language.

Let me explain how!

If this happened to you as a high schooler you’ve probably figured, maybe were I am going with this. Honestly English is not an easy language to learn, it is a foreign language. It is a pool with sharks, English being the sharks that you have to swim around. You have to know these punctuation marks, these letters and put them all together. Ahhhhhhhh!!! The headache.

So Ms. Dlamini would break it down using IsiZulu, something we were familiar with, something we grew up around, only then would be go “Ohhhh” I get it.

She would literally break down whole assignment/task in IsiZulu but she was very strict in how the writing was constructed. You still had to make sense, English was English after all.

Why am I noting this? Well being here I have seen that the Chinese teachers sometimes, well most times have a transition, they use the same tactic of using Chinese to teach English. Only in those moments were the language seems difficult. You can see the kids nodding in understanding afterwards.

So there it is, the trick, well it is not necessarily a trick, I think probably worldwide this is a utilized tactic. The English really did us nasty didn’t they? You can try deny it as much as you can… like how you deny that the Christians won the religion battle (just ask yourself what year is it) English is a universal language.

To communicate better as humans and interact, English is the form of language used. I think no matter were you go in the world, if you know English you stand a better chance to survive then if you only knew your native language…well unless you’re lucky enough to bump into a fellow native, but what are the chances you will find a Zulu man in Asia.

There is an advantage to learning languages, as many as you can. At the centre ofcourse there is English, French, Portugese and Spanish. Chinese is slowly squeezing its way in but damn, it’s not easy, so the race is long for it. The world is changing, quickly too, we are inter twining constantly; cultures are crossing borders, ideas and whole lot more. In the words of Pieter Dirk Uys it is time to “Adapt or die”


What are your thoughts?

Thembelani: Education is not a pedestal for success

I a been in the centre of education for a long time as learner/facilitator/teacher/lecturer/foreign-teacher. I haven’t been in the centre of it like my inspirational predecessors but I would like to believe I am making a difference too.

It is such a bold statement I am making isn’t it? but it’s true, especially for us who come from  ‘poor backgrounds’. Let me be clear that I will use my own experience in this writing, my own background, I mean I want to be fair, so whoever is reading is allowed the opportunity to understand the situation rather than me generalizing and then you find yourself arguing against me and saying

“Hai, that’s not right!!”

To deconstruct my “ill” statement above, I want to use a performance titled “Thembelani” I did for Jomba! Fringe 2019 in Durban, South Africa at the Sneddon Elizabeth Theatre. The Zulu name of the piece itself tells a story “Thembelani” which loosely translates to “The one we put our hopes on”. So much pressure in a name right?!

I have spent roughly about 11 years in Education, I am taking into account that from a decision I made to embark on a high education journey. Honesty the moment you tell yourself you’re going for a tertiary education you’ are throwing yourself in the field of learning and education, but it’s not as clear cut as that is it? Well especially for a poor background individual.

Now let’s look at the South African education system. OMG! right??? I haven’t even said anything but if you’re South African you could roll out your eyes so hard that you just became The Undertaker. Our education was constructed in the days of apartheid for the white minority (Koller, 2012). Yes, you are reading that right, technically it was for whites. I am in no way saying we don’t deserve to be educated, I am just saying it’s not for all of us and it’s not catering for all of us; more on that a little later. All of a sudden this writing is turning out to be a paper rather than a blog, but I have something to say, and if you read and listen you have the opportunity to learn something.

Thembelani was my first solo performance as a creative artist. To be honest i was scared; I always love working with other bodies, and this time I chose to work with just my body, not only that but I was during something I have never done before, use live text. I approach dance in my own way, I have weaknesses so I try at best to use my strength when constructing work and bring foreign perspectives. Foreign perspectives means i bring in strangers who have no idea what dance theatre is and i ask them to critically look at my work.

In this work I am interrogating education, the ideas of education, the structure of it and the future of it. Let’ me paint the setting for you first. On stage there are books creating a semi-circle, in the centre above hangs a graduation gown that has two books hanging on each side, and finally there is a mic stand at the centre of the semi-circle.


JC Zondi at Hexagon Studio Theatre 2019

On it’s own I wanted the setting to speak, in your head right now you can imagine for yourself what it is trying to say, yes? Unlike education there is no wrong answer, you let your own thought guide you; because essentially that’s what dance theatre should be about…interpretation.

Similar with any of my other dance work(s) I had a lot of ideas, luckily I kept the ones that worked best. I wanted my words to be the dance, I aimed to mold myself to become the text I spoke. The idea was that I wanted people to experience and see what education has done to me and ‘them’ out there in “South Africa”. I needed a structure to guide me, so I used the concept of rules of books, something I learnt in high school when I worked as a librarian (Library Monitor). I know, I was a geek, shusshh!

When I was young I learnt some basic rules about books, I want to share them today, in my own way.

  1. Don’t bend the spine of the book

Think of a contort creature that has been manipulated so much it doesn’t recognize itself anymore. This creature feels like it doesn’t belong. In this first rule so many thought came to me. I thought about how I have learnt so much that when I go back home to my friends and family who didn’t go as far, I feel foreign. I can’t seem to communicate with them the way I use too; It’s not because I think I am better but because I have learnt to see the world so different, I have seen how broad the world can be. So in the beginning I am multiple creatures that which include an embryo + A cockroach, which can survive an atomic explosion but merely turning it upside down can kill it. That’s what education does, it turns things upside down. Intelligent but stupid!

I bet you didn’t think dance theatre can be that deep huh?! Well suck it!

2. Use a bookmark, don’t bend the corners.

What’s the purpose of a bookmark? Yes, to remind you the last place were you read. I am guilty of still breaking this rule til this day, bookmarks are so hard to find. In this rule for the work, I was looking at where we come from in terms of education; How far it has taken us. That ability to read and write, the ability to break boundaries and talk to people from foreign countries. It’s a basic evolution of humans. This is were the books first come into use. The semi-circle resembles the idea of evolution. You go around learning and learning and suddenly you evolve as a person. It’s only then that you realise “You’ve been going around circles or rather half a circle”, you’re no longer evolving that much. You get mad, angry at yourself, the people around you and the world in general. but then…

3. Don’t lick fingers when turning pages and do not steal the books

In that mist of that anger, you try to think how education is trying to teach you how to be better than that. Its constantly trying to teach you how to handle yourself. Don’t be an animal it says…because apparently we “black poor people are animals”. We know violence and crime, so we are being educated so we become “Civil” creatures. Isn’t that why the education system was built in the first place for us South African Majority, so we can be civil and work for a living. Age of the British Empire!

You can imagine how frustrating it was for me to be in this situation. I love education and learning so much, but there is darker side of the moon that i know exists about education that it pisses me off.

4. Do not eat and drink with the book

Then there is that “PROMISE” in education. I am using the bold format and quotations so you can really see the sarcasm in the use of the word. I actually want to quote directly what i say in the work.

I was told education will serve us our daily meal, that it will be our daily bread. That is exactly why my mother gave me my name she told me, because she had hope, that I would bring bread to the table. So I learnt” ( Zondi, 2019)<<<< Yes, I am referencing myself.

I believe it’s about here in the work that i ran around collecting books “Knowledge and Education” so I can have a chance to feed myself and my family. Honestly there is that pressure isn’t there? For a black child, to feed your family and you haven’t even created your own yet! It really sucks to be placed in that position as a young person. That cycle of whatever finance you get, it must go home first. I mean that’s the reason the cycle doesn’t end, because now as a parent you’re fucking broke and living on hope that your kids will feed you; so on and so on.

In the work here I create this empire, this unstable tower using books, so I can reach the highest level of success in education above me. You know that graduation gown, that money, that PHD, that life; As I try to climb this tower of education it all comes crashing down and all I am left with is me staring at the roof and what could have been.

5. Do not write on the book, Ironic isn’t it?

I use the words ironic there because if not a book then where are we suppose to write? I believe that’s why the education system fails us so much, it keeps telling us what we need to do in order to succeed but when we do it; it goes and says “Uhmmm about that promise??”

Then we are fucked.

I was told education will provide so many things and i believed it. My mom and teachers beat me (Years of corporal punishment, yes I am that old); I was beaten, being told and forced to go get this education so I can get a better life. So in this part of the piece I beat education into me so much that my body is in pain… all over.

6. Do not rip off the pages of the book

What is education now?

I think it’s a question to ask everyone really; what is education? I mean as I say in the work

“The better question to ask is who is it for?” (Sir Ken Robinson, 2006)

We need to sell education better to people, especially black people. We blacks, poor background individuals are stuck believing a “PROMISE” that will never be kept.

“Education sells a linear idea, that if you start here (Bottom) and finish there (Top/ Graduate), you will be set for life” (Sir Ken Robinson)

Which is not true is it? Well not for most of us. Some of us spend a lifetime searching for the results of our education, and even that lifetime isn’t enough (Zondi, 2019)

We need to be told the truth. That truth is complicated but it does start with this KNOWLEDGE is important. It’s access to knowledge that has a better possibility to lead you to a better life rather than education. Access to knowledge gives eminent possibilities of self-discovery.

I am in no way saying education is bad, i just think it definitely needs a new approach. The future is ahead of us and some of us are stuck, especially those of us who come from certain backgrounds. Remember that question about what is education? Yeah ask it in your class and see what answers you’ll get, see where the common answers arrive from, you won’t be surprised.

I have great ideas, I really do. In this work there were certainly deeper layers that I want to leave for interpretation, those who were able to see the work can articulate those layers, even in the comments.

As a creative artist I watch the world and use what I see and my experience to deconstruct everything I possibly can. I am on that constant journey and I hope people can join me in that discovery.


Please do share this information, let others have access to this knowledge that I am dropping. You have a comment, do write to me. I will reply and we can have a conversation.