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Refreshing Zim Sounds – Focus on Mellowcreme

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Mellowcreme performing

Zimbabwe is one of the many African countries that is consistently producing amazing music talent. One cannot afford to ignore the immense talent coming out of Zimbabwe.

One such talent is Afro Hip-Hop artist Mellowcreme, who is based in the capital Harare. His artistic prowess manifests itself in different forms – he is also an illustrator, poet and creative director. His content is mainly premised on that thing we call love and the ever-important Pan-Africanism.

An album titled Mellow Madness was his debut, in 2016, followed by a mixtape called Mellowdramatic Vol. 1 in 2017. In 2018, he released an album called Theory of Nakedivity.

His poetry abilities are not ordinary, and to him every artistic work matters a lot. His vocals complement his content in extraordinary ways that bring his messages to the fore clearly.

Mellowcreme has performed at the (HIFA) Harare International Festival of Arts (2018). He also hosts listening sessions with the British Council.

His content from The Theory of Nakedivity challenged the notions that the alpha male must be insensitive to his feelings and must bottle his emotions up.

He hopes the year 2020 will be favourable to him as he is keen on delivering impressive collaborations.

This author, (Taku Chiwanza – TC) had a chance to ask Mellowcreme (MC) a few questions regarding his craft, and the direction his work is taking.

TC:  What inspires you to defy the societal notion that alpha males have to bottle their emotions inside?

MC: Mental illness is real and is high amongst African men. Tradition raised us to *man up* and not admit when we are hurt or when we are in love. When you don’t release tension you get anxiety and depression. As a society we need to evolve and move forward. We all cry we all feel pain, anxiety and we all have depressive moments in our lives.

TC: Where do you see your fusion of hip hop with tradition elements going? Would it be ideal for the industry if others into hip hop follow the same route?

MC: My fusion with traditional sounds was a natural progression as I was seeking an identity that separates me from my international competition. Hip hop has its roots in Africa and the first rappers were praise singers in our villages. The elements don’t need to change but the packaging has to be from Africa and made in Africa. The reason why Naija beats and Kenyan or South African stars are so great and global is because though they are urban and modern, they are distinctly from home.

TC: Which artists do you wish to collaborate with in 2020?

MC: In 2020, I’d love to collaborate with Bekezela (Zimbo based in SA) Sho Majozi, Vito, Mokoomba, Shingai of the Noissettes and DJ Zinhle.

TC: Lastly, how was your HIFA 2018 experience and what lessons are there for the industry?

MC: Hifa taught me the power of preparation. Because I have a full time job and my band would practice without me sometimes I learnt to trust them. I learnt to also appreciate sound engineers and their work. Shout out to Ngoni who managed the sound at Cocacola Green. Most of all, HIFA showed me that I need to be content with who I am as an artist. I just need to work harder to reach larger audience. Blessing Chimanga taught me that.

On the lessons, well, don’t follow the crowd. Stick to who you are and be comfortable in your skin.

LISTEN TO HIS MUSIC ON mellowcreme.com

Listen to La La here

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Art

King Slave Boris Encourages Men To Respect Women Through His Music

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We all know what has been happening in South Africa. Its heartbreaking and no one deserve to be killed, raped or burnt. The most thing that got to me is the number of women who are missing,raped and assaulted each and every day in South Africa. The government is not doing anything, celebrities are tweeting behind keyboards, law makers are holding meetings but there is no impact being made. What we need today is men who stands up with women. Men who protect and respect women. Amidst the whole situation and political mess, there is an hip hop artist who resides in Cape Town, South Africa who is making a change through his music.

King Slave Boris is an artist who uses his music for positive vibes from creating awareness and making an impact. He’s well known for his mellow chants and well perfected voice which goes from singing to rapping. King Slave Boris is acclaimed as one of Southern Africa’s most prominent emerging artists, his versatility in various musical genres placing him as a leading global export with collaboration work and placements internationally. 

“I don’t want my music to make me some change, I want my music to make a change” is a powerful declaration King Boris shared on prime Cape Town radio station Bush Radio 89.5FM during a recent interview.

He recently released a song called Stop produced by Jee Juh Beats. The song speaks and encourages men to stop abusing women, killing and disrespecting other human beings. He’s also going to be partnering with Rosa Faranando Foundation to create awareness about women rights in communities through workshops and free sanitary pads campaigns. If we can have more men like him then this world could be a better place. To listen to the listen track. Click below

http://trackgrab.com/track/stop-prod-by-jee-juh-beats-king-slave-boris-glzmw/?fbclid=IwAR0WRTup-WxqDRS6HRK35iQuwAOpHoWqHEwfoLlGdoZYRlZTnpPQ72vGdb4

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African Literature

DR DHLOMO’S “MY JOURNEY TO ROBBEN ISLAND” BOOK FLYING OFF THE SHELVES

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THE PEOPLE of Newcastle, whom Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo served with distinction as mayor and medical doctor, opened their hearts and wallets last night and bought 150 copies of his book, My Journey to Robben Island: A Memoir of the Armed Struggle.

One of the highlights of the book launch on Friday the 12th of April was when businessman Dr Mdu Gama pledged sponsorship to buy hundreds of copies of the book, which will be distributed to all 72 high schools at Amajuba District.

It was yet another feather in MEC Dhlomo’s cap in his authorship debut, following a successful launch in Durban, where 200 books were sold in one night.

Earlier this past week, the book was once again in high demand during readings held at the Durban Book Fair at Mitchell Park; and before appreciative young learners at Putellos Primary School and Sibusisiwe High School at Mbumbulu, where Dr Dhlomo did his early schooling.

This coincided with the opening of a R490 000 arts centre at Putellos Primary, which has been named after Dr Dhlomo.

Prior to the Newcastle launch, the book will have a stall at the Articulate Africa Book and Art Fair, at the Durban Exhibition Centre.

Among those in attendance at the book launch in Newcastle this past Friday were Amajuba District Mayor Dr Musa Ngubane, council Speaker Cllr Jabu Khumalo, and ANC heavyweight Cde Arthur Zwane.

op: Premier Willies Mchunu
Bottom: cde Paul Mashatile TG and provincial leadership in kzn

“My Journey to Robben Island: A Memoir of the Armed Struggle” is a brilliant, emotion-charged and important read. It charts Dr Dhlomo’s early rise from a poor home in Umbumbulu; his time at KwaDlangezwa High School; and his enrolment at the then University of Natal “Black Section.” It chronicles Dr Dhlomo’s recruitment into the ANC’s military wing Umkhonto WeSizwe, and his role in guerrilla activities that led to Durban at one point being labelled in newspaper headlines as “The Most Bombed City” – for which he was exonerated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

We get to read about his arrest on Christmas Day in 1985, six days before he was due to start his medical internship at Edendale Hospital – after he had already told his elderly father to retire from work so that his proud son, now a doctor, could support him.

Dr Dhlomo signing copies of his book in Newcstale on Friday 12th of April 2019

Dr Dhlomo was eventually sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, of which he served four, before he was released on 21 March 1991, Sharpeville Day, which was subsequently renamed Human Rights Day by the democratic government.

There are soul-stirring and eminently remarkable tales about the bravery of young people; the betrayal of the Struggle by some; and absolute loyalty to the cause – such as that which saw Andrew Zondo opting to get hanged alone instead of acceding to an offer from the Security Branch to testify against his comrades.

The book also highlights the sheer courage and resilience of Dr Dhlomo’s wife, young nurse Nono MaDlamini from Dambuza in Pietermaritzburg, and how she married a trialist, during a court break, who had already been convicted of terrorism and was awaiting his sentencing. Instead of going on their honeymoon, the groom went back to prison, while the bride went home to look after the couple’s four-year-old daughter.

It also follows his interactions with – and lessons drawn from – luminary Robben Islanders such as Govan Mbeki, Harry Gwala, Matthews Meyiwa, John Mabulala Nene, Elias Motsoaledi, Truman Magubane and Gen. Gizenga Mpanza. The book then delves into how Dr Dhlomo had to piece his life together after his release and follows his re-entry into politics, which culminated with him becoming the mayor of Newcastle Local Municipality; a key leader at the SA Military Health Service; a Deputy City Manager at eThekwini Municipality, and ultimately, the MEC for Health in KwaZulu-Natal.

During a previous launch, former KZN Premier and lifelong family friend of the Dhlomos Dr Zweli Mkhize said: “The book tells you the story of young people who during the apartheid days had to take huge decisions that, basically, were about choosing the country ahead of their own lives. They went all the way to serve and fight in the struggle for this country to be free.

“I think that Dr Dhlomo has been successful in telling the story, because it gives a context of all the challenges that we faced, all the sacrifices that we had to go through, and the number of people that we had to lose in the process, probably unnecessarily, but, of course, because of the intensity of the struggle. So, I believe that it’s a kind of story that young people must read. It will also help a lot of us to understand the context of what it means to have a free and democratic South Africa; what it means to be participating in the elections… and some of the choices that young people many years ago did not have, but are now open to all our people… including the Constitution that guarantees our rights. All of this was fought for by young, ordinary South Africans who did so knowing that they could lose their lives in the process. So, we say well-done to Dr Dhlomo. We congratulate him.”

Dr Dhlomo says he is extremely humbled by the positive reception of the book from the people of Newcastle and elsewhere. He has also thanked his political home, the ANC, and all the people who have helped mould him into the person that he is.

“I’m who I am today because of the contribution that the ANC made in my life. In fact, the right title for the book should have been, ‘My Journey to Robben Island With Many More Others’. I stand on the shoulders of giants who came before me and led me. We are humbled by the leaders who came before us. I have written this book for those who will come after us to reflect on the ANC being the leader of society. I’m one of those people who were bruised while I was in the ANC. People sold out, but I never had any ill feelings about the ANC. So, I want to say that people must move beyond anger and frustration. At any given time you might be in the ANC and see a leader in front of you doing something you don’t like. You must say you are part of the movement that is leading society. Of course, mistakes will happen. But there’s no mistake by any leader of the ANC that should make us lose focus and our love for the ANC.”

Copies of the book on display in Newcastle during the launch

*My Journey to Robben Island is available from Exclusive Books. You may also order a copy by sending an email to snedhlomo@yahoo.com; or linda76@gmail.com with your telephone contact details.

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Art

A Taste of Liberian Music – Milton Klechee Representing Liberia

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Liberian music

Milton Klechee is a Liberian musician under C Liberia Clearly Records run by Liberian popular blogger Berenice Mulubah.

Milton Klechee’s song Kwedeh is brilliantly artistic, while at the same time bringing a good depiction of Liberia. The accompanying video to the song Kwedeh is wonderfully colourful, and has a true feel of what Liberia looks, and probably, feels like.

What the fans love more about Milton Klechee’s style of music is that it is very original, purely representing his Liberian roots.

Expect more amazing work from this upcoming artist. He is nothing but positive vibe. Milton Klechee is multi-talented.

He is gifted in front and behind the cameras.  He is very soft spoken and humble, and understandings the importance of representing his culture with class and dignity.

Watch the video of Kwedeh below:

https://youtu.be/sSj428LTOmI

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