FEELINGS come and feelings go, but I’ve had this resolute one in the midst of the tussle for the #FillUp phrase, between Cassper Nyovest and Benny Mayengani for the past few days now.
From the word go, intuition said to me Cassper was only making noise because Mayengani is Tsonga. We live in a country that has, for so long subjected Tsonga people to extreme constant discrimination. Often coming in the form of crass jokes, about how they look or insinuating that the Tsonga nation is less human than other tribes is something commonplace in South Africa.
This is why I thought Cassper was being a typical South African when I heard he was complaining about the use of #FillUp. It’s undebatable that Cassper popularised the #FillUp concept, through his annual concerts in the last three years which he personally invested in. But a number of artists have used the term, directly or indirectly. Gospel artist Dr. Tumi for example; he filled up the Dome last year at his show, The Gathering of Worshippers.
In interviews and on social media, he punted the #FillUp, to help build momentum to his event. Mayengani’s Fill Up Giyani Stadium, without the knowledge of who is behind it, one would rightfully assume that Nyovest is the one filling up Giyani stadium.
Having said that though, it does not justify the noise Cassper made last week especially after a Times Live investigation revealed that Nyovest doesn’t even have ownership of the #FillUp, yet.
Using his full name, Refiloe Maele Phoolo, Cassper applied for the trademark with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) in November 2016. The application was processed and “accepted with conditions.” Cassper received a letter after seven months stating that there are conditions he should meet, should the trademark be granted.
CIPC’s Head Of Trademarks Division Fleurette Coetzee was quoted saying “The trademark applicant needs to respond in writing to the office agreeing to the conditions in order for the application to proceed to acceptance.” Cassper has not not responded and, as a result, the application has not been advertised.
Mayengani probably felt vindicated after reading the Times Live article, the same way I did to write this piece. I had a conversation with friends Friday night about my take on this matter, and was advised not to write this piece, because it would imply that the Mahikeng rapper is pushing a tribalism stance. But I think it’s ignorance more than anything.
I found Cassper’s actions to be petty quite frankly. I don’t think we’ve seen anyone as unoriginal in the South African music space as Nyovest in a long while. His music, branding as well as his rhetoric on social media are seething of other people’s creativity. What would he do, if Cartoon Network sued him for using their branding?
In a tweet, Cassper said “A lot of artists die broke because of the issue of ownership, they are mocked by fans& media yet when we educate ourselves, own our talent& ideas we’re attacked. I hope you’re learning through me. We’re about to #FillUpMosesMabhida on the 1st of December. Tickets at Computicket!!”
What’s more annoying is that he went for Mayengani because Tsongs people are the easiest target for other black people, in South Africa. Mayengani is a Tsonga musician with more than three albums to his name. His concert at Giyani stadium was successful, with an attendance of over 25 000.
More than personal stats, the Tsonga nation is officially part of South Africa, like seTswana, isiZulu, isiXhosa or any other tribe whose language is one of our official lingos in the country.
In Mozambique, there’s also a great concentration of Tsonga people in the southern province of Gaza. Smaller concentrations live in the provinces of Inhambane, Maputo, Manica and Sofala. While there’s also a huge number in Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
Black on black hate is a consequence of colonisation and apartheid. But we know better as a people now. Especially us, the new generation. We have the responsibility to teach, respect and support each other as fellow black people-it’s saddening that this has to be preached in a month where South Africa celebrates its heritage.