township

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6min840

In the majority of cases children are the unintended consequences of their parent’s reckless or ignorant behaviour. This goes beyond our instinctive dislike of latex between a vagina and penis which is the primary reason for reproduction amongst South African youths irrespective of the fact that most of you niggers call your children a blessing.

Who and what a child grows up to be is an unpredictable endeavour, with the existence of the pornography being sufficient evidence to support the above assertion. Thus in a fast changing world, family relations are becoming less homogeneous within a variety of demographic divisions. Through the prism of these rationalisations, I am bothered whenever the older generations express disapproval of our generation’s propensity to value friendship over family.

We are all slaves to our truths, with these truths being subject to our unique perspective. The previous generations truth was that in life, the Bantu had to find a person (or people) they could tolerate, control or love. Then they breed with that individual(s) with the primary purpose being the expansion of the paternal family name, through as many male children as possible.

While apartheid ensured that the Bantu had no need for silly abstractions such as self-actualisation and self-determination. Without doubt the life of the Bantu was difficult but on the up side it was a simple and humble existence. With minimal choices in life, the family was the corner stone of the Bantu’s sense of identity. Especially with the Bantu being forced to live in concentrated labour camps called townships, alongside strangers from different tribal, cultural and geographic backgrounds. Thus an ever present feeling of distrust for one’s neighbour always existed in the depths of the Bantu’s psyche on many different levels, which made friendship rather difficult to establish. This was not the case for the Bantu’s offspring.

The children of Bantu did not simply see the township as a labour camp instead they saw a place they could call home. These heavily myelinated rascals went bird hunting together and played soccer for hours until their entire bodies were covered in that distinctive red township dust. They did not communicate in their mother tongues when they were around each other, the Bantu offspring used a localised township dialect called Tsotsi taal and consumed copious amounts international cultural content through whatever medium was relevant at the time. Unlike their parent’s childhood, the texture of their reality was fragmented between home, the streets and sometimes the model C education they received in the suburbs of urban South Africa. Their sense of belonging was constantly called into question by the ever changing spaces that the found themselves in on a daily basis which created tension in the process of forming an identity. To para phrase a monologue from Alfa mist’s Potential, it is broken pieces that causes us to replace family with friends.

I am not assigning blame and I am not passing moral judgement, it is what it is. The effect of a cause upon our liner perception of time. It is intuitively natural for a parent to be unsettled when seeing a stranger in their own child. In the same breath people develop a lot of identities throughout the course of their lives, gravitating towards a diverse number of groups in the formation of their social identity. The reasons for this are different for each human being but biology is one amongst a plethora of explanations. Sometimes the family you choose is the healthier choice than the family you are born into. But only sometimes in a world with snakes and wolves disguised in sheep’s clothing.


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8min2760

Necessity is the mother of invention and the story of one of the country’s fastest growing food markets, Tembisa’s Street Food Market, epitomizes that.

In less than two years SFM has built a mammoth of a following, managing to pull an average of about 10 000 foodies who attend the monthly event. Founded by two cousins, Lebohang Masasanya and Bongane Tlhoaele who saw the need to have a food market in Tembisa since there wasn’t a unique place for township gluttons to try out different kinds of foods outside of  hood-staples like kotas and shisayama, while enjoying great company.

But the idea hit 27 year-old Masasanya while living in Joburg, where he regularly attended Braamfontein’s Neighbourgoods market. “When I saw what an experience such events give people, I started getting my team to tag along so that they could also get exposed to that lifestyle,” he says.

The two had some experience of hosting events in Tembisa- organising their birthday parties, but they had not tackled anything like a food market.  Tlhoaele, who was the first to quit his job at a courier company says he did that because he believed success was inevitable. “We did our research before starting and we had a plan of how we wanted to be unique,” the 28 year-old says.

The first food market was held on October 2016 at their former primary school, Kgatlamping Primary with about 30 stalls. Masasanya shows me a video of the inaugural SFM which seems like something from years ago compared to how it looks today. “That experience was invigorating, mainly because we were humbled by the number of support. It just proved that people in the hood have wanted something different, something new and we managed to give it to them. A whole new different atmosphere ko kasi,”says former accountant Masasanya.

18 months down the line and they now have a kiddies play area, tighter security, double number of stalls, a mobile ATM and there’s an admission fee now.

The market takes place at different venues in Tembisa (Moriting Park, Ndayeni and Mehlareng) this, Tlhoaele says is because “we want everyone to have a chance to experience the market and have a feel of what we trying to do. A lot of people benefit from the market, so we have to move around and make everyone have a chance to benefit from it.” The last market was hosted at Phomolong Sports ground.

Food sold at SFM range from a mogodu wrap, to wings dunked in specially made sauce and unusual cupcakes and waffles- all with a kasi touch.

Organising this whole shandis would be too much for just the two of them, they have a team of four other people. The late Rhythm City actor Dumi Maselela was part of the team as well and was responsible for sound and entertainment. “Dumisani’s passing was very sad, we even thought of postponing the event [in that month]. We had a moment of silence for him at the event,” says Tlhoaele.

That SFM was probably the most emotional especially when a sea of people put their lighters and phone screens up under ink black skies to pay respect to Maselela, who once performed at SFM.

The Home Affairs-like kinda queues for beverages, food, entrance and even lavatories is an irritating feature of the market but it’s the other side of the stick of attracting throngs of young people.  And sometimes too young.

Last July after national schools went for holidays they hosted a market that stands out for some wrong reasons after it was probably the most attended market at that time, but the security on the day couldn’t maintain the hordes of youth pushing to get inside.

“After that one our security was tighter and we moved to a bigger venue, in Mehlareng. But it’s all part of learning.” They are learning everything as they go, accumulating priceless experience. “We still attend other markets, not only Food markets but all other markets as well. We feel like there is still a lot to be learned and things change all the time, we want to be able to keep our market fresh and different,” Tlhoaele says.

That growth comes with attracting a number of brands which want to establish their products within urban black youth in the township. International festival Afro Punk hosted the final of their Battle Of the Bands at SFM last year, which saw the winners performing at the main event at Constitutional Hill. The last market a few weeks ago was is partnership with MTV Base.

“There is no end goal, there is no destination on this journey. It’s simply to infinity and beyond. As it is, there are prospects of hosting a Camp Festival quite soon,” Masasanya tells me.



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