LOVE on the RADIO.
LOVE on the RADIO.

Love is  a mystery to me…

But  it was not  always  so.  When I was little I knew what love  was without having to be told. I was living in love all the time – doing the things that I wanted to do without seeking approval from anyone including my grandmother who I feared as much as I loved. I remember always getting into trouble. Because I was always so curious.  I loved adventure. But I explored more than I talked. I did things and then asked questions later… or faced the wrath of my grandmother later.

Even though she used a leather skipping rope  to punish me as a child while I would still be  naked and  wet from having taken a bath…when she later pulled me closer to her warm soft  breasts while she smoked Rothmans  King Size cigarets  or when she gave  me amaRomantics sweets … I knew that her love for me was  just as  genuine.. even though I couldn’t understand why she would have to hit me so hard. My fear of her was as real and  as  deep as  my love for her.

I am 32 now. And I am re-living my childhood again. I suppose I am at that  age when both my grandmother and mother would tell me stories about their mother and their childhood.  This is my time for storytelling …and remembering what it was that I loved and enjoyed most doing as a child – who I am.  I realize that somewhere in my life  I somehow confused love with ‘approval”.  Through school I learnt that if I did what the teacher said, remembered everything she taught me through the text-book word for word with no Independent thought, I would get her approval  which also meant love. If I was friendly and “nice’ to everyone – never had a different opinion, agreed with everything and everyone, I would get their approval;  if I studied and passed and got A’s  I would get someone’s “approval”  and that somehow that “approval” equaled “love”  which means I would get a Job and that Job would get me money – which is the ultimate sign of Love or Approval.  If I didn’t do as they said – I would not get their approval which also equaled love and love equals money. The world is unfortunately designed this way. Everything you do has to be approved of by someone – somewhere – and this reality has  confused the living day-lights out of me.  I have read other people’s definitions of love… I had countless people tell me they love me – but many of those encounters often left me more confused about love – and what it means – than ever before.  It left  me feeling emptier and emptier  and wondering  Kanti what IS Love??kahle kahle?

I have a fond memory  at the House of Tandoor  in Yeoville Johannesburg dancing to a reggae mix  of  Mariah Carey’s song ” I want to know what Love is” —  my tearful questions fell in  rhythm with each piano chord….the beat engulfed my being with each tremor I  swam in the beat and the rhythm – my entire being  became one with the music, with light and darkness with time and space it was as though love came and said here I am can you feel me? I am all of you.want to know what love was – and that was pure love.  I truly, seriously wanted to know –  What is LOVE?  The more I  did what I wanted to do the more I felt  as though I was being punished for doing it.  For being myself – Because no one approved – there was no Love and no Money. There would be justifications for this  always : it’s not what you do its how you do it or  it’s not what you say but how you say it,  yes say what you want but it must not “upset” anyone then it’s not “right” or questions:  why are you doing this instead of that? why are you doing it this way instead of that way? if you did it this way or changed that thing , if you did it then instead of now maybe I would help you, love you, give you money etc. In short do what I want.

Doing YOU. Being who YOU ARE. Takes more courage, strength, more  will and resilience than acquiring any Academic  degree, fame or money.  Why? Because often no-one has any idea who YOU are – including your mother, father , friends and well-meaning acquaintances. Despite the fact that many people say “be yourself” , they don’t know who or what that self is. And when it doesn’t meet their pre-determined requirements for  ‘approval” then that “self’ is punished. Then being yourself is “wrong”. Even so that is the only to way to freedom’ to love. That is why being your “true” authentic self seems like the hardest thing: life is designed for you to be anything but who YOU are. And you must be brave enough and courageous enough to be  you even when no one gives you their approval.  At first it’s can be the loneliest place in the world, it can be alienating, and yes you will be called all sorts of names – CRAZY – being the most common. Because it’s easier to call something or someone crazy when you don’t understand.

So baby here’s my love story… a piece of it at least. It’s short. Don’t worry.

Two things come sharply into focus… or at least became  clearer in recent days. What I loved doing most as a child.  Because I go through these moments when I’m like… what? who am I? he he it’s really fun to be me! Each time I ask I get different answers…. this time  the answer was sweeter, simpler and  as most answers often are, right under my nose.

The apple tree at the back of  our yard +  Listening to  stories told by my mother and grandmother and telling stories with my older sister.

 My mother  and grandmother used to tell us stories of my great-grandmother Popane.  Of how was the most fiercely feared and loved Queen of the Zulu-Household.  “You could hear her coming from miles away …..the shwooosh shwoooosh of her flat slippers would wake you up even before she knocked on the door” Said my grandmother as she cut her bread into tiny little squares dipping them into her cup of milky tea.  She looked so cute when she was eating. She had a round face – with dark perky tiny lips and expressive eyes I always looked at her mouth when she spoke. I found her lips beautiful… i found the sound of her voice amazing and I always looked into where the sound came from.    The apple tree was my friend. I knew it before  I was conscious of myself in this world – and the only picture I have of as a baby is taken against that tree. It was an apple tree.  Did I say it was an apple tree? Yes it was and  I loved it. From the tree I would wonder and observe and create the kind of life I would want to live.  I watched our neighbours lives change from that Apple tree. There was a  wedding  one day, then the  married couple come home each Sunday to visit the grandmother ” gog-Sheila” they called her. She would walk out, hands on her hips with a smile on her face to greet them on the front veranda of her gray house. They would  disappear inside for hours. I would watch their lives an intensely as I watched ant’s crawling in line from one hole to another. Later they would come out of the house with more smiles, she would have goodbye as they stepped into the car parked on the pavement outside and disappeared.   Soon they came with a baby and the same story of going in and out of the house would repeat itself. I wondered where they lived, and what they did on those days that they didn’t come home to visit.  

Radio Zulu! Because we had no TV – the tree, my sister, ants , my grandmother and the radio where my greatest source of entertainment.  We listed to the radio during the evenings at 7 when my grandmother was back from work. While eating supper. I would sit right next to the big speaker… as if I wanted to be Inside the radio where the sound came from.. same idea with watching my grandmother’s mouth. I fell in love with the voices…which were beautiful sweet and free sounding — “Amakhekhe….mtanami” beaming out of the speakers would scare the living day-lights out of me, but I would never miss it.

The word love has been pouring out of my fingertips  lately… more often than not I just want to type the word, do the word LOVE. over and over again. As if to call LOVE into my life…. only to discover the biggest secrete of them all … .that I am LOVE.  That What I yearn for and wanted the most has always been inside of me. The voice. The apple. The Tree. I am all those things.  All I need is a Mac! lol

How did I come to that conclusion?  To  put it simply….I came to that conclusion because love is all I have ever wanted, All I have  been searching and  searching for everywhere and anywhere.  All  over the world  I went searching for  something,  I already had but couldn’t see. It’s amazing to me.  Love?

It’s me.   And you know what I  love most in this world?  well story-telling and the  Radio!  I love moving pictures too. Radio is my first. love.

Music and dancing.

Why  I didn’t know this  all this time  remains a  mystery to me!

But of course that’s the beauty of life.

What I know for sure – do  what you love and love will take care of you.

What you LOVE is  WHO you are.  ( not something that hurts others : in this context I’m talking about love in its “highest” form)

I Love and Adore Radio Story telling. It’s what my dreams are made of. Voices, sounds rhythms…vibrations … me!

And guess what? I have you to thank … Dear  Monti. For reminding me of that.




Model: Jedi Ramalapa Location: Fox Street Jozi Maboneng. Picture: Bheki
Model: Jedi Ramalapa
Location: Fox Street Jozi Maboneng.
Picture: Bheki Dube

04 October 2013.  Heita!Happy Friday Everyone! Wow it’s a beautiful summers’ day in Johannesburg Maboneng and I have been out and about. Today I think we all deserve some lightness of being. So with the generous help of  Johannesburg’s young and inspiring photographer/entrepreneur Bheki Dube: my brother from another mother,  I decided to have a mini–fashion shoot to answer some of your pressing questions: Where do I get my clothes?

Okay you might think I’m fashion obsessed if you see me walking down the street but I have come a very long, long way to “defining” my sense of style (ask those who knew me in college, I used to wear my father’s blue overalls to lectures, much to his chagrin). Basically, I am influenced by many people, places, spaces, but most importantly how I feel. I don’t really enjoy elaborate shopping sprees nor do I have the time for them but I will definitely buy what I like when I see it and if the pocket allows.  So my shopping is often sporadic, as in any day can be a shopping day. Most of the time though I don’t set out to go clothes shopping – clothes come to me.

So today, and it’s high time I do. I want to celebrate and thank some of the city’s wonderfully talented people and amazing friends who have contributed to my sense of “style” over the years;  especially those who have  “Dressed” me today.

The HAT: By the General.  This is a recent acquisition, a generous donation from one of Johannesburg city’s finest minds Sibusiso Nxumalo.  My home-boy (Sowetan). To say he is passionate about music would be an understatement would be an understatement. He can out-play -out-rap many of the city’s DJ’s when the spirit takes him, which is almost all the time. He can be found playing his African mixes at the Lucky Bean restaurant in Melville Johannesburg. He is a talented writer, analyst, and voracious consumer of arts and culture, media and entertainment. He has commissioned a number of thought-provoking programs for SABC1 – a hip African centric channel with a focus on South African youth Culture. He is featured in the documentary on South African Struggle music Amandla! with his other twin brother  Bra S’fiso Ntuli, with whom he ran the much-loved and sorely missed  Cultural (Dance) Venue and political institution a home to many:  ” The House of Nsako” – Nuff Said Kollective, in Brixton Johannesburg. He has been my protector in so many ways that I cannot describe in this here post.  A brother, a gift, an angel and shining light in many of my darkest days. He feeds me and anyone who walks into his lovely home.  He can fix just about anything well almost anything  You can identify him by the sound of his voice, no-one else has it, and high laugh and his dance. But I won’t rob you of the opportunity to get to know him, he is amazing! Dankie! Siyabonga. PRICE: More than money can buy!

Visit him @ the Lucky Bean on Fridays/Sundays or sit just down for great food, atmosphere and people.

Location: No 16 7th Street  Melville

Contact:  011 482 4472

SUNGLASSES:  by Street Trader. This quite frankly was a shocking bargain, I stumbled on this guy shouting –  10rand, 10rand, and I asked just to be sure, he said “ yebo Sisi, sunglasses for 10 bucks, Kuse Jozi lapha” PRICE: R10.00. Love this city! Dankie! Siyabonga!

Location: Jeppe Street Johannesburg.

Contact: Walk the pavements.

THE SCARF:  By Mahlatse Gallens.  This is a VERY special scarf bought for me by my friend MG after a visit to Paris France; knowing my love for scarves and the many things French, she chose this special piece for me.  She said, “you need more colour in your wardrobe” when she gave it to me.

This is my favourite scarf of all time.  It has opened so many doors and it has travelled with me from SA to Senegal where someone offered to give me an Aldo scarf in exchange – I said no. This one is mine. It works for summer and winter – perfect for any season. Each time I wear it I feel closer and more in awe of the power of love and friendship.  Mahlatse Gallens is  well-known to our TV Screens and on our radio dials, her voice is distinctly hers. She is an accomplished  South African senior political journalist who has travelled the world reporting on Health, Natural Disasters, Politics and more. She has lived in Nairobi Kenya and Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a Foreign correspondent for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).   She is a well-connected journalist with a wide network of contacts throughout out the continent. Politics is her Passion. Watching the Fixer (Scandal) is her chosen form of relaxation. She has paved the way for me in my own career in more ways than I can mention. She’s beautiful, loving and caring as a friend. She is passionate about politics, about the continent and its people.  Her latest assignment was in Zimbabwe during the country’s  recent national elections, for which she delivered in-depth reporting which for me was more compelling than what the traditional western media broadcasters were delivering under less than ideal conditions. She inspires me. PRICE:  More than money can Buy.

Location:  SABC.

Contact: Your TV/Radio

GREEN HEART NECKLACE By Jenna Desfontein.  This was an amazing gift from a sister whose unconditional love continues to floor me. It has made out of the prized Original Nguni Cowhide, and dyed green.  She presented the gift to me before my journey to Senegal, so that I remember who I am always. This beautiful soul hails from Durban KwaZulu Natal, a gifted singer whose voice continues to melt my heart. She is also a formidable storyteller and a natural caregiver. She recently released her solo Album  UnEarthed – which is just beautiful. She is also lead singer a Johannesburg based gospel group with whom she recently performed on SABC1’s  gospel music program, Gospel Gold. A talented musician who plays her chords with the strings of her soul,  a  lover of children, surfing and a creator of beautiful moments (events) full of love for everyone she meets. Love you, my sister. The Price: More than money can buy! Dankie.Siyabonga. KAKHULU!

Here’s a link to her album check it out:

GREY TANK TOP: By Real South African designs from Pick’n Pay Clothing department. I love grey, it’s awesome. Tank tops show off my skinny arms. I often wear sleaveless tops when I go to meet people at restuarants. I get real sympathy when people see them, and they often offer me food for free.. “poor thing –she must be hungry”  so sweet.   Price: R30 bucks.

Location: Most Pick ‘n Pays

Contact:  In almost all malls.

GREY PANTS: By EllA  Buter from  Superella.  A very quirky Afrikaans Woman. She’s lovely. Now these must count as the most “enviable” trousers I have ever owned. I am asked about them each time I wear them by both men and women and there have been many attempts to separate us. These pants were originally a dress, but Ella who pays attention to her customers was willing to modify them to fit my style making. They are still the most  fashionable item of clothing I own 4 years later. I have bought a number of items from Ella’s shop in Melville, but this is the  only piece I have managed to hold on to, the rest I have given way.  I have travelled to Senegal with these pants which have attracted admiration of the city of Dakar’s Bifal (Rastafarians) who ably looked after me in the most trying times, particularly during my pilgrimage to the MAGAL of TOUBA in 2012. I love these pants because I can dress them up or down, they are comfortable and provide ample room for free movement.  PRICE: R800. Dankie. Siyabonga.

Location:  Cnr Rustenburg Road
8th & 9th Street

Contact: best to walk in.

THE BAG: by Urban ZULU. I love these guys; it’s always such a pleasure walking into their shop. I always find something I love even though I cannot always afford it.  They have personalized sales people who pay attention to you and your needs until you are satisfied with a garment. They can be found near the Carlton Center in Johannesburg’s CBD. On my last visit they bought me coffee – as a thank you gift for making their day! How awesome is that? They always make one feel special and I love the brand because I am an Urban Zulu myself.  PRICE: R45.

Location:  Cnr Fox&Kruis Opp Carlton Centre

Contact: 011 354 2139

Ghetto:  076 482 7789

Nthabi: 084 321 0221


THE BELT: by Newtown Market. Now Newtown is well-known to many for its theater and jazz culture: Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festivals, Johannesburg Fashion Week, are just some of the annual events that bring life to this part of town. The African Museum and the Market Theater are mainstays which offer a delicious dish of the countries’ best actors, directors and creative Minds. It’s also the city’s dance hub, home to a number of dance companies, The Dance Factory and Moving into Dance. The photo market workshop has offered training to many of the city’s celebrated photographers. When I saw this leather stud belt I fell in love, but the traders (who have since been moved due to ongoing development of the area) where patient with me, the belt was too big, but they took their time until the belt could fit my waist. Awesome service.  PRICE: R40.00 bucks.  Dankie. Siyabonga

SHOES By Nelisiwe Xaba. I love BirkenStocks because though they might look ugly to some, they are a really great buy, good for your feet as they are designed to fit your foot for walking which I love and do a lot of. They keep me rooted to the ground. They were also a generous gift by South Africa’s most gifted, talented and hardworking Dancer-Choreographers– Nelisiwe Xaba.   I have written about her a couple of times in this blog. She is one in a million! She is the A-in awesome, the most stylish and  kindest woman I have met yet. Dankie. Siyabonga! PRICE: More than Money can BUY.

If you  want a pair, the sales ladies at the Birkenstock shop in Hyde Park, were absolutely awesome – we laughed a lot.  They were patient with me and entertaining and even got us a discount.  Very Kind.  We had fun in the shop!

Location: Hyde Park Corner (Mall)
Corner Jan Smuts Avenue and William Nicol Drive, Sandton, Gauteng

Contact: (011) 325 5893

So as you can see, I have only bought 4 items of clothing – mostly accessories – on my body right now – the rest have been gifts from Johannesburg’s’ Beautiful People.  This is what makes Johannesburg amazing: not the infrastructure which is good, nor the buildings which are great, or its history which is amazing, or its wealth which  is enormous.  It is the city’s people whose hearts are made of solid GOLD that make Johannesburg Great! Heita da!  Nowhere else in the world will you find such LOVE. Honestly, I am truly blessed, enormously, to be dressed by Johannesburg’s FINEST.

On  another day (one of my favourite dresses) Glasses: Mr Price  Price: R30 Dress: Big Blue Price: R500 Ring Silver: Prine of Newtown Price: R50 rand Yellow Ring: Jenna Leigh des Fontein Prices: Less Model: Jedi Ramalapa Loation: Mainstreet, Marsharll Town Johannesburg. Picture: Tshepo Ramalapa
On another day (one of my favourite dresses)
Glasses: Mr Price
Price: R30
Dress: Big Blue
Price: R500
Ring Silver: Prine of Newtown
Price: R50 rand
Yellow Ring: Jenna Leigh des Fontein
Prices: Less
Model: Jedi Ramalapa
Loation: Mainstreet, Marshall Town Johannesburg.
Picture: Tshepo Ramalapa