Simphiwe Dana


A name is probably the first gift a parent gives their child. We’re talking about something they will be identified by throughout their lives, given they don’t pick up a nickname that sticks so hard, that no one ever knows their real name.

Folks give their children names based on a variety of reasons. While some parents view the baby-naming process as an opportunity to pay homage to someone they venerate- with the hope their child is esteemed as their namesake. Other parents seem set on making life-long statements with the names they choose, take for instance names like Godknows, Lovemore, or Eversmile. Those are names deserving of a ban.

The name Lucifer is banned in New Zealand, France and Italy. The government in these countries feel compelled to get involved, should they think the baby’s name will endanger the child’s wellbeing by being exposed to mockery. A judge in the US lost his job after denying parents who wanted to name their new born, Messiah. The decision was overturned on appeal and by 2018, over a thousand new born baby boys were named Messiah, including 33 girls.

For abanye abazali, the time and circumstances in which the bundle of joy enters the world will determine their name- i.e. a baby born during the first rains of summer would be fittingly named Tsheola. One of the Shona people’s naming beliefs is that if a new born cries relentlessly, the elders would take that as a sign that one of the child’s ancestors want the wailing baby named after one of them.

Is the meaning of a person’s name directly linked to their personality or character? Former President Jacob Zuma’s other name is Gedleyihlekisa which roughly translates to “the one who laughs in your face, while he stabs or scars you from the back”. Go figure.

Being the first of my parents’ four children, my brother was aptly named Vus’umuzi, Vusi in short. Directly translated, it means “resurrect the home/household”. The name is one of the country’s most popular, together with Jabulani, Themba, Lerato, Sibusiso, Mduduzi, Lebo, Thulani, Sifiso, Tumi and Palesa. I bet you my pair of socks that four out of five people reading this, have had at least one interaction with heirs of the aforementioned list of names. Some parents go for these names, simply because of the popularity and people’s general familiarity with them.

On the last day of 2015 one Karabo Mahlase (@Spoonkz) tweeted “2016 is the year for acting like you don’t know how to pronounce white peoples [sic] names,”- and so the #TheYearWeMispronounceBack was born. Black Twitter took a stand and began renaming Johnnys to Jabulanis and Lindseys to Lindiwes. A majority of black people sympathised with Mahlase’s tweet because they’ve been victims of Caucasians’ ignorance towards black names.

I think this is one of the reasons the standard combination of African -English names has decreased among black South Africans in recent years, with new-age parents opting for their kids to only have African names which have some significant meaning.

Simphiwe Dana’s 2004 debut album Zandisile was named after her daughter. The title track is a compelling ode to the musician’s girl-child, which inspired a friend of mine to name his son Qhawe, which means a conqueror.

The process sounds a graceful one, juxtaposed to names some black Americans choose to bestow on their offspring- Shaniqua, Fo’Landra, Tay Tay or Barakisha. And because some of the parents have a fetish for automobiles, and with an appreciation for a particular brand, names like Mercedes and Lexus aren’t uncommon in the streets of America.

Makgosto Nkosi05/29/2019

My love for South African jazz…
Where to begin?

Kippies, Moses Molelekwa, Mankunku, Lulu Masilela, Pat Phasha, Mongezi Feza, Pat Matshikiza, my father’s discarded collection of vinyls, or just maybe an incessant search to justify the emotions I love Ikageng invokes. The panic and ease that happens with most of Molelekwa’s whimsical melodic sounds, proving that jazz is not just technical, Molelekwa often is the instrument in his renditions relaying what lies within him, leaving one completely immersed in the sound, the pauses and the underlying stories of just but a symphony.

The term “jazz”, carries so much more than a word is meant to carry; love, freedom and resilience. Jazz strips you naked, anything akin to pride is forgotten as soon as the mourning horns of Yakhal’ inkomo lend on the ear. That is jazz, the ability to make the unimaginable clear, the knack to put feelings to sound, and sound to words without necessarily speaking.

Although the influence of jazz might be in doubt in a densely pop art influenced South Africa, regardless there is a new wave of different fusions and characterization of what jazz is to the present times. The definitive voice of Nono Nkoane, Nduduzo Makhathini’s keys, Feya Faku, the amazing lyricism of Nkoto Malebyane comes to mind. In jazz there has always been tragedy as much as there is triumph. The apartheid regime had almost done away with jazz at realising its transformative impact. Today jazz suffers at the hand of current pop sounds all the while experiencing an immense change of tone. The impressive and magical factor of jazz is the capacity to remain, to transform, adapt and survive-comparable to black people.

Musicians have always spoken truth where lies subjugate the world, Simphiwe Dana’s Bantu Biko street comes to mind. The living conditions of the black majority in a now democratic South Africa can easily harden the heart, and that is where jazz comes in, in such times a song is a respite. One can always be swallowed by a song even in the chaos of black tax and financial seclusion on institutions.
That is jazz everything that has been, is and more.


HAVING Erykah Badu as the headliner to a show you’re booked at, could make most artists feel like they’re just an addition to the line-up. But Jordan Rakei made sure why people had to attend the first day of the DSTV Delicious Festival on Saturday.

The two day food festival took place this past weekend at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, in Midrand. New-Zealand singer Rakei’s heart-warming performance on Saturday evening, was appreciated by those present.

Wearing comfortable sweatpants and a simple white T-shirt, after his performance Rakei strolled in the crowd without an entourage around him to guard him. “I’m really surprised by people’s reaction here. The performance was great and the people enjoyed it,” said the Tawo singer speaking to Tha Bravado on the night.

“Can we please have a picture with you,” asked random fans walking past us. Rakei gladly obliged. This was his first performance in Gauteng, but was not his first time in the country. “I performed in Cape Town last year at the Jazz Festival,” he said.

Jordan Rakei with his band at the DSTV Delicious Festival. Photo supplied

“I just want to check out the people and a bit of the festival, we leave tomorrow [Sunday] morning,” he said. He was talking while Acid Jazz band D’Influence were performing on the main stage, with a throngs of people enjoying the performance sitting on their camp chairs and appreciating a relaxed time on the lawn.

Kaya FM’s Bridget Masinga was the mc on the main stage on the night. Some of the day’s performances included Simphiwe Dana, Amanda Black and Lira. While German collective Jazzanova, closed off the night.

While things were relaxed and nonchalant on the main stage, Louie Vega had House fans eating from the palm of his hand on the dance stage. An estimate of about a thousand people were in front of the dance platform, dancing and enjoying soulful House sounds from the Grammy award winning artist-even other DJs on the line-up were going crazy, behind Vega on stage.

The festival ended Sunday with a spirited and moving performance by Erykah Badu which everyone was looking forward to.

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