Joburg small street

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10min1103

AT the time of typing this, the number of COVID-19 deaths in South Africa stands at 15 168. Fatalities, especially when expressed in big numbers can simply go over one’s head as just statistics. But even one death hits hard when you lose someone you love.

I lost my brother, Thulani Ntiwane two months ago and this writing is no way about the virus. But a way of healing and honouring my brother who was by far the biggest influence in my life.

So while awaiting a match between Thulani’s beloved Real Madrid taking on Alavés in a La Liga game, we watched a recorded episode from season five of Black-ish. Aptly titled “Black History Month” the arch in which Octavia Spencer makes a special appearance, where her character pays homage to black persons she believes should never be forgotten. It’s only right I jot this, so that Thulani is never forgotten in the jam of all these numbers.

It is said that influence is when you’re not the one talking, and yet your words fill the room. The influence my brother had on me was just that.

As his name suggests, he was a quiet, reserved and nonchalant lanky dude who understood the power of being an African, who loved music, appreciated sport and who had reverence for knowledge.

HE NURTURED MY EAR IN MUSIC

Thulani would always say that I’m his student, to which I’d reluctantly (’cause of pride) admit. My brother’s music collection, over a thousand discs, was like a radio station’s playlist. A childhood friend of his would always joke that Thulani should be a music producer or a DJ.

In his collection you will find The Legendary Roots Crew, Khabzela’s Mekonko, Busi Mhlongo, Incognito, Mfaz’Omnyama, Maxwell, Masibuyele Kujehova, Brothers Of Peace, Gang Starr, Bill Withers, Hotstix, Lenny Kravitz, DJ FRESH, and so on and so on.

In the mid-90s my Thulani appeared in the Tembisan newspaper, after winning a music quiz that ran in the local publication. He walked away with 2PAC’s All Eyez On Me double-disc.

Thulani was a big advocate for buying original albums. He enjoyed tagging all of his CD covers with the trademark ‘Thulas’…this too was etched on me because, when I started buying CDs, I vividly remember scribbling ‘Bongs’ on my Like Water For Chocolate album cover. He shared music with me, this is why I enjoying doing the same for others today.

I grew up listening to a lot of music, hence I never had any problems even in my career when I was presented with the opportunity to interview great artists such as Musiq Soulchild, Ray Phiri, Mary J Blige or Raphael Saadique- I’d always find confidence in the knowledge my brother instilled in me. I could sense his pride-nothing egotistical, but happy that a seed he planted had sprouted in ways he also couldn’t fathom.

HE INTRODUCED ME TO JOBURG

Thulani was the one who showed me Joburg and how to carry myself in the big city. It must’ve been around 2004 when I first went to Carlton Centre, where we took that long and seemingly unending walk on Small Street. He bought me lunch at legendary boxer Baby Jake Matlala’s restaurant while we waited for the movie Troy to start-also my first time at the cinema.

Although I later grew to know the city for myself, it was Thulani who literally held my hand when I first came to eGoli.

HE SPARKED MY INTEREST IN MEDIA

I remember the days when the YFM studios were still in Rosebank, at the mall. I will never forget the feeling of being inside the Y Store-it felt like I was right inside their studios. He somehow knew it would interest me.From then on, the love for journalism, albeit broadcast journalism, began.

It was Thulani who got me reading newspapers every day. He got a subscription for the paper, and even after he moved out of home, he never stopped the paper from being delivered. Making sure that I carry on reading and engaging with the world around me.

HE CONSCIENTISED ME

This happened through music, books and in conversation. I was listening to the Wolves interlude on the Dead Prez Let’s Get Free album recently and it hit me, that at 10/11 years-old I was listening and reciting lyrics about imperialism and how evil the white man is without real comprehension of what was being said.

I remember when I told him that we’re reading Animal Farm in high school. His strong interest in the book (which he later borrowed) grew my interest.

I’ve read Steve Biko’s I Write What I Like a couple of times. I was first intrigued by the title, but more fascinated that my brother was reading such content. I went in and gobbled me some Biko and nothing was the same.

I doubt Tha Bravado, which has a strong voice in telling stories that are for Bantus by Bantus and inspired by Bantus, if it weren’t for Thulani.

SHARED THE BEAUTY OF SPORT

It’s very normal to support the team your dad or your older brother supported. My dad was a Kaizer Chiefs fan and so is my eldest brother. But I became an Orlando Pirate fan and a Gooner because I grew up watching Thulani cheer on Amabhakaniya and Arsenal.

He taught me how to watch the game of soccer. I remember watching that FIFA 2002 World Cup Semi-final between England and Brazil. Sport really brought us together.

I’m the rugby guy in the fam and he played a bit of cricket and soccer . We both had a strong love for sport, hence we spent his last moments watching a Real Madrid game. Whenever we’d see each other we would catch up on what’s happening, on and off the field.

Till we meet again bro,

Your faithful student.

Thulani Ntiwane is survived by his wife and four kids. His mother, two brothers a sister and two nieces. He was 44 years-old.

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5min1220

“The entrance of love into sex life…was an advance along the road of human civilization as important as the emancipation of slaves, ” Theodor Reik.

As a complete retard when it comes to dealing with my emotions, I freak the fuck out when an expression of love is directed my way. Except when I find myself butt naked in bed with an absolute thorough bred of a woman, who feels the need to tell a savage, that they are in love with them, on the first night of copulation. Being the thirsty douchebag that I am, my default response in such a predicament, is to dishonestly reciprocate the sentiment with a sultry “I love you too baby”. Regardless of the fact that love is familiarity built over time, nothing will stand between me and the booty (within the confines of the law of course) especially a little white lie about how I feel.

Anyhow

I recently decided to pour some thought into why I am profoundly unsettled by expressions of love, it cannot be healthy that one feels the need to fight or flee when your girlfriend spontaneously buys you a gift because she ‘cares’ about you. Inductively, I am of the belief that love is always offered with expectation. If someone arouses abnormal levels of positive emotions in you (or in your pants) at the first point of interaction. Naturally you hope that the same person can repeat that set effect the next time you meet up or communicate over the phone. If the respective subject of your affection consistently meets your expectations, your affection will turn into love. Thus this love business takes a lot of work and its value is something I am not certain about.

“Love is an ultra-risky business with a lot of pain in store for you, when it does not work out…”

Loneliness is a bitch no doubt about it. People are not designed to be single and sexually frustrated, I am sure a lot of incidences of road rage can be attributed to blue balls and repressed emotion. I can appreciate the necessity of love, it is its price that I am not sure about because it has no guarantees. Many times people have committed to a romantic relationship, only to find out that there partner is promiscuous, mentally unstable, irresponsible with money, an addict, recently had a sex change, lives with their mother etc. love is an ultra-risky business with a lot of pain in store for you, when it does not work out.

I have always been intuitively aware of this, hence I am uncomfortable with expressions of love. Sure love is a beautiful thing,  like a pair of Yeezy 350 zebras but one should ask themselves if they are willing to pay R3500,00 for them or settle for cheap knock-offs bought in small street, Johannesburg CBD. The knock-off Yeezus in this metaphor being a steamy one night stand with an absolute through bred, whom you told you love but ended up blue ticking and never calling them back, ever again.


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