How the vibe in SA entertainment is inspiring us all right now!

As a Content Producer, I have already learned about all the misconstrued assumptions people hold about the broadcasting world.

For one, whenever I tell folks I am a Content Producer and Scriptwriter, they still ask, “So, what do you do?” I tell them that I compile content, which I turn into the scripts that presenters say on air. Confused, they ask, “So, those presenters are not saying what’s on their minds?” Then I chuckle!

While this is a silly misconception or lack of knowledge about the industry, there are other serious daunting issues, like the fact that broadcasting’s cat-fights and dramas are always played out in the public for everyone to see. Each knockout is captured, and to retaliate, the other one hits below the belt and gives the media the juice they need. It’s toxic and messy.

This, unfortunately, leaves a bad name for the industry, especially among women. “Women simply cannot get along,” most will say. This notion is, sometimes, fueled by the media because some claims of rivalry can often be unfounded, concluding to just pure lazy journalism and over-sensationalism.

Unfortunately, sometimes, the smoke that the media blows towards fans and ordinary people is often telling of the fire within entertainment. Yep, amidst its vibrant nature, the entertainment industry is one that we have all been warned against. It’s littered with heavy glitz and glam, drugs, hook ups and break ups occurring faster than the contrast of day and night. Those in it often praise its perks, lament over its fakeness and laugh or cry about speculations that make headlines every single day.

This “IT” girl hates that one, while this other one is now sleeping with that one’s boyfriend. And, although we, as the general public, like to act like ‘these people are so immoral and wild,’ entertainment is just a microcosm of the real world. It’s a window through which we see what’s going on out there. A reflection of our own daily nuances.

 

That said, recently – there has been an incredible paradigm shift. There is a collective energy making the rounds, and it has become very common for the most successful people right now to celebrate each other’s milestones. This is so important because it shows industry key players on one side and perpetuates a deep sense of patriotism. It could be that it’s always been there, but in the past, the story behind the story was left to the media because celebrities didn’t have the power of their own narrative through mediums like Instagram.

There is definitely a greater narrative at play when we see Somzi Mhlongo, Anele Mdoda, Unathi Msengana, Thembisa Mdoda, Basetsana Khumalo, Noeleen Maholwana Sangqu, and others at Minnie Dlamini’s wedding, partying all together and celebrating South Africa’s diamond in her new endevour. Yes, those screen grabs of video chats between Minnie and Unathi are so important, so are the shout outs Anele makes to her sister’s achievements, not forgetting the role of people like David Kau in comedy and Black Coffee in music.

This is definitely related to the idea of passing the baton and opening up the industry where one can. A good example of that is DJ Fresh, who seems to have been key in helping launch many careers in the music industry. Indeed, I have lost count of how many musicians I have heard saying “DJ Fresh actually made a point to play my songs in his show, and that’s how people got to know me.” Apart from his great music and legendary voice on radio, this is what also makes DJ Fresh ever more relevant in our industry – his maturity and understanding that lifting another DJ doesn’t diminish him. This realization is pivotal for anyone in a position to prescribe something to the public, and who knows that if s/he says we must look out for so and so, we definitely do.

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I am not suggesting that influential people have to be friends – that one is their prerogative. Their support of each other motivates and strengthens the rest of us in the smaller industries we might occupy. It also speaks to the idea that when one shines, we all shine and that instead of being bitter about another person’s achievements, it is better to celebrate them and get the lessons you may need from them to attract what is already coming your way.

This type of collectivism is a dire need everywhere; particularly among black people because white privilege and male privilege are already heavy burdens in all industries. People will treat us how we treat each other. If ten celebrities come out to congratulate their colleague in an achievement, viewers are more likely to follow suit.

 

Everyone wants to be #Queer until it’s time to be #Queer!

I’m a lot of colorful things. But, because we live in a world so fixated on everyone’s sexuality – I am a heterosexual woman.

Yes! I love men, I am attracted to men and to some extent, I love gender roles in a man/woman relationship. I love the traditional aspect of it, and I also love it when gender roles shift in a relationship. I love sex with men, and I would love to marry a man one day. I don’t know if I will always feel this way, but I have never sexually or otherwise, desired a woman.

When I moved to Cape Town from Port Elizabeth, I was so shocked by what seemed to be a ‘gay capital’ to me. Funny enough, it was normal for me to see gay men because I always had male friends who were gay. But, women! Wow. I was stunned. How do they please each other? What are the families saying? What’s the roles in the affair? As horrible as that sounds, I asked myself those questions because I came from a small city where you only knew one or two gay people at school.

It really seemed like every second woman I met (especially in the art world) was gay. So, inevitably – if I had twenty girlfriends in Cape Town, fifteen of them were lesbians and three of them were homosexual or bisexual or [insert another term her].

Although I identified as a feminist back then, I never caught feelings about the fact that sometimes, gay women seemed like the ‘only’ custodians of feminism – and they don’t have to agree with me on this. That was, often, my experience. The ‘how could you love men if you really are a feminist?’ was undeniable. Not only that, there was also always a ‘you should try women’ vibe going on – as if it was fashion to do so, and if you didn’t, you weren’t really certified as an ‘exploring’ person. This always made me uncomfortable, and in hindsight, left me feeling like appropriating queerness was also encouraged by homosexual women.

There was also the rise of the LGBTQI movement, and it was amazing to see my friends who had been marginalized having a voice, as a collective. Contrary to most, I never felt like the seclusion of this group was problematic, because they had been secluded by society all along anyway. Now, there was this boiling pot of hashtags surrounding all of this, and straight people rode the wave as well, attended Pride events and made themselves part of the narrative. I think it was amazing for us to support our queer pals in what was going on, stand with and by them publicly against the violence they were subjected to. But, I don’t think it is okay for us to go as far as hijacking their lived experience.

Look, I get it – our marriage to the LGBTQI movement was also partly because violence is violence, you know? We didn’t want to separate this plague, which affected all women. But, even so, things like being straight and identifying as gay, or saying you are attracted to women, but you’d never take it that far with them, so that makes you part of the party are a little problematic for me. What fuckery is ‘I am #queer on the inside’?

Yes, sexuality is more complex for some than it is for others, but I feel like the physical experience of it is valid here, because we are talking corrective rapes, murders, weird stares and so on, and those are things you get when you are walking down the street holding hands with the woman you love, maybe displaying some affection towards each other. No one subjects you to sexuality bias if you are ‘gay on the inside.’

My girlfriend who are in relationships with women don’t go to certain places as couples, because they know that men will challenge their union. That’s not something you get if you just internally identify as gay, or if you dabble with women behind closed doors, but really are straight. Of course – injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere, but let’s face it, as heterosexuals, we aren’t actually living the experience of constantly watching our backs because there are men looking to punish us on the basis of who we love. While we can be empathetic and supportive in every possible way, we don’t have the right to appropriate being queer.

Think about it, some white people have 95% black friends, only date black people and may be empathetic of the injustices we face, but they are not black, and thus, don’t have any black experience because when they walk down the street, they look white, regardless if they say ‘I am black on the inside.’ That’s unacceptable appropriation of blackness, because for us, blackness is something which we can never escape at any given time. We are always black even when we don’t want to be; even when it kills us. It’s the same for queers.

In conclusion, spending time with my gay girlfriends gave me a lot of insight into how violent society is towards same-sex couples. As a heterosexual couple, there are little things you don’t experience, mainly because patriarchal men sometimes respect other men – so having a man by your side can often ease the disrespect. But, two women who are in love in a pub are constantly challenged, and some men will even have the audacity to go up to the couple and hit on them both or suggest that D*&k might be able to turn them straight. It’s a nightmare; I won’t lie – when I hear my friend’s stories of constantly fighting men out there, I am kind of glad I am heterosexual yo! Being #Queer is fashionable and cool until your life gets threatened and you cannot love freely.

While we love our friends and empathize with them, this is their experience. Let’s support the telling of their story and help where we can, but, let’s not hijack it.

The right way to ‘stay’

I like going back to projects years after their release. I never stop recollecting all the wisdom I need from them, and we all know the meaning of art changes according to time and personal context. I get to really decipher my truth in and about them when there is less noise and opinions.

Albums like Lemonade are one of those, and before you roll your eyes and click elsewhere, please note that this piece is neither about the album nor personal indulgence of Bey.

But, let’s admit it, in pop-culture, Beyonce has become the poster woman for “staying,” especially after her hubby Jay Z released an album that speaks to his cheating (if it’s true), which also sees him manning up to his faults and almost opening up to healing. Confronting himself, in Kill Jay Z, Jigger says;

“You almost went Eric Benet, let the baddest girl in the world get away. I don’t even know what else to say. Nigger never go Eric Benet.”

Since Beyonce and Jay Z are an international couple, their projects have shown many that they can work it out as a couple. The song that cements this idea the most is Bey’s “All night,” and my favorite line from it is in the poetry before the song;

“So, we’re gonna heal. We’re gonna start again. You’ve brought the orchestra. Synchronized swimmers. You’re the magician. Pull me back together again the way you cut me in half. Make the woman in doubt dissapear.”

 

As a fanatic of pop-culture, I like to be critical and before I glorify international stars as pioneers for certain ideas, which results to latching on to associating things with those outside of us, I spend a lot of time on You-tube, google, books, Twitter and in my memory, wondering if these things have been said before to us, by us and for us. Most of the time, the answer is yes. Gender bender? Brenda Fassie. #CoupleGoals? Letta Mbulu and Caiphus Semenya. Romance? Ringo. The list goes on and on and on, trust me.

 

Now, for the right way to ‘stay,’ I found Zeb Matabane and Agnes Matabane – Isidingo’s power couple, believe it or not.

You will remember that Isidingo hit our TV screens in 1998 as a Soapie set in a small mining town, Horizon Deep. I was only seven years old back then, and probably started watching it in 2002 and was instantly captivated. Zeb represented my father and Agnes, my mother.

Their 16 years journey as a couple with success, love, hardships, infidelity and a love child shifted the paradigm of what black love could look like for me, because Agnes did both what my mother did and did not do.

One, she stayed. My mother did that. Two, she started being empowered in every aspect of what that word means. My mother never lived long enough to do that. Nonetheless, I held them on a pedestal as a mirror of what could have been my parents had my mother still been alive. To say I loved their story-line is an understatement; feel free to use the comment section to call out any biasness I have here.

When they left Isidingo in 2014, they made headlines; Destiny Magazine wrote “over the past 16 years they’ve made us laugh and cry, but this month marks the end of the journey for Isidingo’s much-loved couple Zeb and Agnes Matabane.”

It’s true, theirs was an inspiring journey from rural Thaba ‘Nchu in the Free State to Horizon Deep. They were our kind of power couple because they started out with nothing – initially Zeb worked as a miner, while Agnes sold chicken feet.

With hard work they managed to rise against all odds until Agnes was able to buy shares and own a percentage of the local pub known as The Rec. She was now a business woman. But, sadly, this was also when we saw the effects of how much a woman being a go-getter chops off manhood of traditional patriarchy. Zeb’s poor little fragile masculinity suffered a lot. He was forced to rediscover himself as times were drastically changing; empowerment fixated on black women, benefiting his wife’s career more than his.

What was his role now? Who was he in relation to her? And, what could possibly be the way forward, especially when he injured himself and landed in a wheelchair, unable to be the bread winner?

That, “a relationship is where two people meet, detect and heal their past traumas,” as Jada Smith puts it, was true for this couple. Agnes had to still see her king in the Zeb who was no longer a provider, and Zeb had to see his queen in the Agnes who was doing what would be considered “a man’s job.”

Agnes wasn’t going to leave Zeb; he was the love of her life. But, she was also not going to drown trying to save him. She was not going to let him abuse her. She was going to lay down the law about the kind of marriage she wanted, and give him an ultimatum. And, being a woman from a different generation, she was patient; it was going to take her husband years to unlearn his ways, and it was going to take her years to unlearn the expected role she should play as a wife. So, within that harsh turbulence of transition, they still held on to each other.

I want to make it clear that I am saying that staying should be with a person who is willing to do whatever it takes to save the relationship, as was in this case, you cannot possibly work alone in it.

For me, this was and still is a vital message for black couples, particularly. When two people come together, we give each other everything we have been given. If your parents gave you violence and patriarchy, that’s exactly what you are going to give your partner; and a relationship is your mirror to see your shit unfold.

Abandonment. Black depression. Depression. Violence. Doormatry (I made this word up). [Insert more shit here]. 

I believe that if the love is still there, and there is no threat to any partner’s life, it can still be healed, just as Agnes and Zeb were constantly under construction, to become the best version of themselves individually and as a couple. In that, Agnes didn’t only empower married women to put their foot down, but also validated single women when she separated from Zeb and was still doing the damn thing!

I think the journey to being a ‘power couple’ (as Millennials valorize it) is not a smooth one, and it requires love for that person as broken as they are. It also doesn’t require you to fix them, but to fix yourself and trust them to do their own work.

Men and women who stay are not always stupid, the same way that women who leave are not always brave.

There are many ways to love yourself, and sometimes, we are not gonna leave; we are here to stay. We like it here. Together; we will alternate the needle and thread among each other to stitch our scars, until we’re both alright. No lumps in our throats, no melancholy, no songs about being left or leaving, and definitely no pain anymore.

Yep, we are all in conversation; whether it’s Zeb and Agnes, Jay and Bey or you and your lover, the truth remains, “we’re gonna heal,” and “if we’re gonna heal, let it be glorious.”

Hoe is life?

#I’m #glad #women #are #writing #themselves #out #of #social #constraints.

The awareness that something was wrong (academically) started when I read Susan Faludi’s ‘Blame it on Feminism.’ I related to her as an academic. But, in hindsight, as a woman, I didn’t fully relate.

White women’s grandeouse feminism (during her time) had a fixation on dismantling Barbie. I’ve never owned a Barbie doll, or any doll for that matter so I am indifferent to it.

And now that I really think about it, my relationship to white feminism can be likened to Rihanna vs Madonna (not that they have beef, but hear me out).

Yes, “remember how we used to slut-shame Madonna? That totally worked out. Nobody ever had sex ever again. UNTIL RIHANNA,” wrote Lindy West.

It’s true, Rihanna became extremely popular for being a bad girl, and whenever we wanted to be bad (mostly from being heartbroken, even though we wouldn’t admit it), we would sing along to; “Is it bad that I never made love, I never did it, but I sure know how to fuck?” Rihanna became the spokesperson of ‘hoe is life.’

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Although ‘being generous with her vagina’ and not giving a fuck is her street cred, in a 2015 interview by Toyin Owoseje, Riri revealed that she doesn’t do casual sex. In fact, she said being single means she does get horny, she is a woman, and continued; “but what am I going to do − just find the first random cute dude that I think is going to be a great ride for the night and then tomorrow I wake up feeling empty and hollow?”

Like most of us, she associated casual sex with having the effects that drive her [or most women, for that matter] to wake up feeling guilty. Guilty for what, you may ask. I don’t know, but we do feel guilty, especially when we don’t get a call from that wo/man the next day. Isn’t it interesting that the baddest bitch in the game couldn’t have casual sex?

I wasn’t at all surprised because I had always seen a mushy-mushy sentimental girl behind the bad-girl image. My suspicions were confirmed when she took Chris Brown back after he almost killed her – girls who don’t give a shit don’t do such.

And, whether socially conditioned or by natural inclination, girls don’t want to be called sluts. Especially by men they really love.

Girls don’t want to be known (sexually) by multiple wo/men. Girls want to be ‘special’ and exclusive, somewhat pure and for girls, being in charge of our sexuality means saying NO, since we are always sexually sought after and forever hear “your body is your temple.”

So, for me, by the time the #HoeIsLife sensation came about, I had already had my fair share of trying to be with multiple men and calling it freedom. Whereas, there was always one man I was madly in love with paying me no attention, the rest of them were tools to deliver me from the temptation of calling him. He didn’t want me.

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Don’t get me wrong. I am not intertwining sex with multiple wo/men with heartbreak only, but I am saying that if I am really honest to the core, there was no freedom there for me. Because like most women, I could never really get to the bottomless hole of my sexual fantasies with casuals, nor could I explore and be spontaneous, fully. Let me even go as far as saying that sometimes, I tailored myself as a no-strings-attached girl after realizing that the dude wanted nothing serious. I wanted to feel like it was my decision.

Moreover, there was no freedom because it was important for me that the man I really loved didn’t know I was sleeping with others. I had to be pure for/to him. And, if he ‘saw’ me and made me his girlfriend, I was going to leave everything I was doing, regardless of the fact that he had been banging hoes left right and center. I knew it. I had caught him doing it. But, I still would give up my hoe life in a heart beat for him. Not only that, but even when I briefly dated a married man, I wanted him to see me as a loyal (sexually and otherwise) chick.

Call me stupid, but this is a default for many women. I am friends with very strong women, but being entered and exited with no emotions still hurts them like they are little girls.

Over the years, I learned that there is nothing wrong with that, as much as there is nothing wrong with women wanting to be hoes. I learned that my power and freedom as a woman doesn’t come from fucking this one and that one, but from fucking where I love and am loved; it comes from exploring sex with that one person, and allowing myself to be vulnerable to the fact that I might get fucked over with this loyalty BS, but that it’s okay.

I remember the full circle moment when I went on my healing journey, because the no-strings-attached obsession came from home, where we were taught to block out emotions. So, I was already a pro when I was in my twenties. To this day, men (except for my boyfriend) go on about how cold and unbothered I am.

All I know is that I couldn’t do it anymore. Life is holistic; your bedroom affects your boardroom, insurmountably. I need healthy relationships.

Sex buddies started having an after-taste of my father; absent and present at the same time. Not wanting full responsibility and accountability. It’s possible that I sought them because we look for our fathers, everywhere.

I wanted to feel what it’s really like to have someone hold on to me and not let me go when shit hits the fan. I was done with letting men curate how far I can go in attaching myself to them.

If your penis touches my clit, your balls sweat in my mouth and I am subjected to your come face, then I want to have the option to ask you to stay. And, you have to reciprocate.

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Nope, hoe isn’t life for me, not because I will NEVER be one, but because I don’t want to do it like this. I don’t owe social media and any ‘ism a ratchet sexuality, nor do I owe any man an angelic sexual demeanor.

To the women who are self-proclaimed hoes, in the hashtag and maybe reality of it, I am not invalidating your intelligence at all. I hope it’s about you, and that you find the maximum freedom in it, unlike me. I failed, dismally.

To those who are like me, who feel hollow and empty after casual sex, don’t allow yourself to die in the name of hashtags and likes. Dance to your own rhythm and choose a life that supports your sanity, darling. Did you know that healing is life?

ZAHARA: Can she be #BlackGirlMagic?

A while ago, I had an interesting chat with a friend during Solange’s “A seat at the table” frenzy.

Our conversation wasn’t so much about Solange, but we used her as a case study. If you love artists like Solange and Erykah Badu, you will understand how much #hoteps associate with these artists, as opposed to, for instance, pop sensations like Beyonce and Niki Minaj.

These are the same #hoteps who slam fake hair, but are okay with Solange and Erykah Badu having it, because the two artists are alternative. These are the same #hoteps against Beyonce’s cultural appropriation stunts, but are okay when Solange does it. Those #hoteps. The ones who only celebrate alternative black.

Idiosyncratic blackness and its hypocrisy sometimes bores me to death. In the past, the best version of black was always through a white person’s gaze. Since there is a revolution that currently dislocates the black reality from that aloof gaze, blackness is appropriated by black people whose accents, realities and educational backgrounds come from whiteness. Whitewashed black folks who cage decolonization in colonial gates. Black folks who wanted to be white, who realized that they will always be black and then ran back to us to be gatekeepers of our realities.

Those of us who were always black had to now abort our causes because they changed the black narrative to be about how horrible their lives were in white circles. But, when push came to shove, they would always used their English and privilege to be miles ahead of us.

Disclaimer: I don’t care how much you want to convince me what a tough life you had at Collegiate Girls’ High, it can’t be anything like urine and pads all over toilet floors, and gangsters visiting the school every Friday.

Therefore, this privileged black narrative is the reason I believe South African afro-pop sensation, ZAHARA, is not trending as #BlackGirlMagic after breaking records album after album. Huffington Post reported ZAHARA’s latest album, Umgodi “…certified gold in just six hours and went platinum in under 24 hours of release.” #BlackGirlMagic much? Not only that, after ZAHARA suffered backlash about being a broke artist, she now owns a record label called MLH Records. No? Not #BlackGirlMagic still?

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Don’t get me wrong, I am not disputing the importance of the movement and hashtag, but am arguing for its expansion. I understand that I am as responsible for that as everyone else out there. We seriously need to rescue feminism and #BlackGirlMagic from the hands of (only) privileged black women who get the most time on microphones, and their celebration by privileged black men. They need to be more pervasive.

The politics of privileged black folks can be extremely dodgy. I remember dissecting the problem with one black guy’s type of woman because he refused to admit that he likes white. He is one of those who hate #OPW and Papa Penny in how they (mis)represents blackness.  Okay, I get that. He also likes mixed-race women – uh, okay.

When I probed deeper into him, he argued that he does like black women, just not the ones who wear weaves, flash materialistically and like Gqom music. He likes black girls who are weird, as in alternative, as in with Tatoos, weird piercings, with natural hair or braids. I asked him “how many black girls ekasi look like that?” because it was clear to me that he is the ‘alternative’ group of black men who can date natural-looking black women who can’t utter a word in their mother-tongue, but will not date a woman who mostly speaks SeSotho and has a weave. “Weave girls and religious girls are colonized,” and I assumed those who don’t speak their languages are not. Mind you, the guy also cannot speak his language.

I reminded the brother that most black girls in South Africa are going to celebrate their cars and houses whether in a narcissistic or inspirational way. Those are achievements to us.

It was clear that an ‘alternative’ black girl to him is a girl who carries black aesthetics, not blackness itself. Basically, he likes black girls who grew up in the white world. I knew that although Zahara carries the aesthetics he claims to like in black girls, she would not be his type of #BlackGirlMagic. Unobu lokishi mos uZahara. Typical black girl.

I have no issues with alternative black people and embrace what Inda Lauryn says in an article claiming that “there are many reasons [she] finally realized Black girls could, indeed, be alternative and were in fact catalysts behind many alternative trends and movements. One of them was that [she] realized a lot of the indicators for alternative lifestyles were taken from Black cultures and the cultures of other people of color: tattoos, piercings, scarification, and other forms of body modification, as well as alternative fashion and music almost always originate from Black and Brown people.”

However, having gone to public schools, I thoroughly remember how students from white schools assumed an “importance” and “more clever” status as their parents celebrated what an achievement it was that their children were now studying with whites. They did not even want to date kids from black schools and the inferior/superior relationship between us and them was distinct.

Fast-forward to a few years after High School, the hair revolt at Pretoria Girls’ High happened and although it was pivotal, I could not relate to it in first-hand experience because I never encountered such in black schools. Mine was the “no chairs, textbooks and resources” reality, and whenever it made headlines, it was always a joke and confirmation of how far behind we were to white schooled black children.

For those of us who come from the other side of the margins, Zahara’s story gives us life, the same way that Papa Penny gives some black people life. He is their version of black consciousness the same way Zahara is our version of #BlackGirlMagic. Not many women from Emdantsane have dared to be this brave! We are inspired. We recognize her. We see her. We honor her!

Unathi Msengana: Love in the age of Social Media

Recently,  Unathi Msengana confirmed that she and husband, Thomas Msengana, are no longer together in an interview on E-NCA with Ayanda Allie-Paine.

It was no surprise to many, as speculations were making all the buzz for some time about her “marriage [being] on the rocks,” according to Daily Sun in an article claiming “Unathi and her husband Thomas ‘Bad Boy T’ Msengana are rumoured to be heading for divorce. One of the reasons for the alleged trouble in paradise is Unathi allegedly cheating on her husband.”

That said, Unathi was calm and graceful about what she confirmed in the interview. It is thus, the basis of what she said that led me to write this piece.

Among other things, Unathi spoke about the newspaper speculative reports, which she called false saying “I think we get to a point where we feel like we have to share our private lives.” Speaking about her marriage in relation to navigating being public figures, she said; “We are people who have never used our family for a PR campaign.”

Ayanda asked Unathi if she thought the “it couple” sensation and exaggerated interest on her marriage was due to her and husband’s public figure status, to which she replied, “We’ve never been that kind of couple though.” Their back and forth made me nostalgic of my time in University studying Media Studies, and in one class, delving into “The dumbing down of journalism: Tabloids.” Now, with the addition of social media, I don’t even know how low the dumbing has gone because these days, newspapers aren’t embarrassed to screen-grab tweets, caption them and call that an article.

Needless to say, as soon as the channel posted the interview on the internet, #unathidivorce started trending like Easter Eggs on Easter.

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You will remember that Unathi has had her bout in a Twitter boxing ring. The debacle with a Twitter follower in 2015 ultimately threatened her bread and butter as Metro FM suspended her. What followed was a public apology from the passionate Radio DJ and musician, and whatever was between the lines of her apology was clear anger, disappointment and ‘joys’ of having to be the bigger person.

Now, in 2017, there are obviously different arguments about her divorce; the first being those who have turned it into a joke. One went as far as saying “Badboy T gave unathi a shot in radio now she’s bigger than him she’s leaving him. These whores ain’t loyal udlwe umjita  Others who also shared negative comments about it were “LOLing” and “LMAOing” about how her tears on idols were because of the divorce. I can’t help but ask myself; when did divorce become a joke? When did those who have or are divorced parents forget its effects? And, why are we so hell-bent on laughing at Unathi even though she, with the utmost class, shared information we didn’t even deserve?

The other side of the spectrum is the one that is sensationally throwing the towel on love, alluding to the fact that Zwai and Melanie Bala are also divorcing, as well as Precious Kofi and her husband. In these sentiments, I find a very dangerous association of love only with a partner, which is not true because divorce can also be an act of self-love as well as love for the other person, enough to let them go to where they will be happiest. I also believe love is unattainable when paralleled only with who we think is an “it couple.” We are obviously duped in the #loveliveshere phenomenon of instant gratification, that we seek examples of what love should look like, as opposed to what love should feel like. Some couples do invite the pedestal (which comes with public opinion), and some couples don’t. But, what I am saying is whether it is AKA and Bonang or just plain irrelevant me with my boyfriend, relationships have the same fundamental dynamics and all go through rough patches – moments never captured on Instagram; so, focus on your relationship; let people divorce, damn!

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Latly, the Tweets I personally loved were the ones which seemed concerned about how Unathi was holding up. I think that’s all that matters. How is she and how is her heart… Ultimately, Unathi has a wholesome album, a banging body after two children (already an inspiration to moms wanting to get back on shape) and other things. I don’t know her personally but from her work, she continues to embody an African woman who is not afraid of her truth; who stands in and with it. Of course, we will not agree with all of her views because we all come from different walks of life and think differently. Like dust, she continues to rise. I hope we learn to cut each other some slack some day, soon.

La Sauce Africaine

If there is one thing I enjoy more than sex and wine, it’s having a chat with fearless African women who are bold and wild, making sense of their lives while taking their rightful place in the world. So, ever since I started binge watching the crazy women of La Sauce Africaine on Youtube after meeting them at the fabulous SheLeadsAfrica event, I knew I had to talk to this witty, quirky and captivating sauciness!

We are always trying to find our strengths and weaknesses so that
we can do what we are best at, but we are willing to learn new things so that we can
always fill in where  others can’t. It has been working for us so far and that’s how we
are able to serve one delicious dish after the other.

Zipho and Happy

How did this pot of greatness begin? 

Enjema and Ajoh first had the idea of having an online book club on Youtube with the aim of empowering black women through the type of books they would choose to read.
H.a.p.p.y and Bongi were then brought into the picture as this would mean that a variety
of perspectives would be available. At this point LaSauce was a group of young women
with a passion for improving their lives and impacting the society they live in positively
through education because we thought the change we need could only come through
books…

Really? Books? 

Hahaha yes. But, needless to say the idea of a bookclub quickly lost its charm and so we thought to just have a channel on which we would discuss important issues related to women and more generally to Africa as a whole since we love our continent. At that time we had no idea what having a YouTube channel really meant but we set it all up: the channel, social media pages, a logo etc and we were on our way. Enjema, Ajohche and Bongi were not social media friendly then except H.a.p.p.y who seemed obsessed with it.

For someone who doesn’t know your YouTube page, give us a glimpse into the broad
spectrum of the things you discuss and what inspires them?

We discuss everything that concerns us as people as we experience them in the different
places that we find ourselves. So if you want commentary on social issues, gender
stereotypes, Fashion, Sport, African culture and just life issues in general, you’ll find it on
our page. LaSauce is a lot more than just talk. We have started introducing new segments that allow each of us to share more of ourselves with our audience. So Enjema is the soccer god and will dish out delicious soccer commentary on the channel on SauceySoccer (She says she’s aiming for Minnie’s (Dlamini) job and more.

Bongi is our fashion icon. She will share tips on how to be stylish on a low budget on Sauced. Ajoh the hair and make up queen will share tips on how to slay the world with her makeup and healthy hair tips that will keep your face beat and your hair glowing and growing on a low budget too. H.a.p.p.y, the health and fitness enthusiast will basically share her fitness journey with you and this includes the struggles as well. She has been there with what society considers as ‘fat’. Her health and fitness journey has been an inspiration to us and she is excited to share it with everyone.
We realized that we are the type of people we are trying to reach out online and while we are always talking and ranting about social issues in our lives, we are also always looking for the next cool outfit or trying to get fit or trying to get that afro and the brows on fleek. We manage to do this with little or no budget. So we thought to share these different sides of ourselves and what we know with our audience. Why not?

 

I agree. Now, take us through the entire process of making a YouTube video from pre-planning to
being posted

Hmmm you can only imagine what we go through. From the anxiety, disagreements to
the uncertainties, it all goes down. We basically fight about the topics, laugh about them and finally agree. We are each responsible for one post a month, though we try to have the topics lined up in advance through a monthly schedule of the topics. So for each week one of us is in charge of what angle we would like to interrogate of any given issue. That person plans everything and sets a date for recording. We each do research on the issue and on the agreed date we go and shoot. Our conversations are not scripted, we do not have practice runs because we want to capture how we really feel in the moment of shooting. However, if we find what we have shot underwhelming or just not good enough for whatever reason, we go back to the drawing board and recook the soup with different spices until we get the conversation that is posted. After this we edit, post and make sure we are pushing the video on all our social media platforms.

YouTube is a growing industry in South Africa, and you chose it because you obviously see opportunities; where do you see LSA going in terms of this industry?

We are taking over! That’s the plan. To take over the industry. We want to create a social
media empire. We want to create content that everyone will not be able to get enough of
because they need it, feel empowered by it or because they just love us. We know though,
that we need to take it one step at a time. Our immediate goal right now is to get to 500
subscribers and followers on all our social media sites by the end of June come rain come shine. In five years we want to be one of the top YouTubers in South Africa and Africa with a million subscribers. We are ready for the challenge!

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How is the internet receiving you?

Yooooh it’s been rough! We got about 600 views for our first video. This was the one about the practice of women being the ones to take on a man’s surname. Since then we’ve seen a steady decline in the views and interaction on the channel. With the spur reaction video which was a trending topic we shot up to 14 000 views and then the week after we got 24 views on the next video. That was a hard one to swallow but it was a wake-up call and since then we’ve been breaking our heads to step up the game. We now take very seriously how our pages look and what we post on them, we care about how we look as a group when we go to places now, and we are trying with the means we have to keep content coming and to ‘shamelessly market [ourselves] online’.

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Any exciting upcoming projects or plans for 2017?

Yes indeed, we can’t wait to share all the exciting things that we have planned. Sauced, SauceFit and Sauceysoccer will be unleashed to the world. Saucessentials has posted it’s first tutorial on Instagram and its just all the way up from here. We have Acoustic Night which happens every second Thursday of the month at Cafe Ganesh, 38 Trill Road Observatory. We are so excited to put comedians, painters and just about anyone who is gifted and doesn’t have the resources, on a stage. We have our One More Girl initiative in which we take all that we have learned to young girls in schools around us. These girls are the women we want to empower and for us it’s important to tackle these issues from different angles. This project is still in the pipeline, but when it is ready you will know. This is just a sneak peak of our upcoming projects, stay glued to our social media pages for all the juicy updates.

People can watch our episodes on this link

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