The Taxi Bulletin

Robert Mugabe in 1991. Taken by myself.
Robert Mugabe in 1991. Taken by myself. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Taxi Bulletin

I have been off news in recent days,  I watch but there’s a certain part of my brain  that sort of refuses to pay attention.  But luckily my current mode of transport brings me news in the most unexpected ways.  This is news as heard from a taxi driver, two old women in the first front row. A die hard  Orlando Pirates Soccer Club fan in the front  (riding shot gun)who is later replaced by another die hard Alex man.  Destination:  Johannesburg Bree Taxi Rank From: Kliptown Soweto.  Atmosphere: late afternoon  Metro FM is  on the dial and  Eddie Zondie is playing his Sunday Ballads from  Whitney Houston to Mariah Carey softly in the background . Sad Love songs in Short. Taxi conversations like this one are rare, so I put together a little News Bulletin for you. Enjoy 🙂

Good Afternoon, In the headlines…

Orlando Pirate fans stoic despite defeat

The country’s youth is doing amazing things!

Warning;  If you’re afraid of rats, don’t live in Alex

And finally President Jacob Zuma is a stubborn man

Good Afternoon  – your top TAXI story this hour……

An unknown taxi driver says Orlando Pirate fans are brave, because they continue to wear their team  jerseys and colours  despite their loss against Kaizer chiefs at the weekend.  A man sitting shot gun at the front of the taxi almost jumped out of the car following this statement screaming, “if you are a true fan, you will continue to wear your colours, whether you lose or win, a true fan dies with his team.” He said causing the two old women sitting behind him to roar with laughter, they consoled the young man in the front seat saying pirates did put up a good fight in one of the most watched games this season.  The taxi driver told him to make a bet next time if he is so loyal to his team, put his money where his mouth is. The pirate man replied that he has mouths to feed, and that look now he would have lost money to buy food for his children had he place a bet for  Pirates.  He asked to be dropped off at a nearby a tree. The taxi driver obliged.

******

A working man from Alex has announced that a boy from his neighbourhood, his next door neighbor in fact has killed his mother and was later arrested for his crime. He told the sad news to two old women sitting at the first front row of the taxi, after he asked one of the women why she was already eating lunch en route to work in Johannesburg, “what will you eat later” he asked. “I will drink tea” the woman replied and they all  agreed that they should spoil themselves  with KFC (chicken) once in a while just as  a treat, as children nowa days often take the money to buy a new  popular drug called  Nyaope.   The women were shocked at the  mans’ horrific story. The taxi driver commented that the Children of today are doing   AMAZING things. Wonders, he keeps saying. The man from Alex encouraged by the growing interest in his story  added more details saying  “ apparently he suffocated his mother, who is a known alcoholic and a person living with  3k-three kicks or S3 a new synonym for HIV/AIDS.  After he discovered that she was no longer breathing he tried to resuscitate her with water, but she was already gone, he continued.  Police found him crying next to his mother’s body. Hmmm hmmm the women shook their heads in Unison.

******

Don’t even dare to live in Alexandra Township north  of Johannesburg if you’re scared of rats warned an unknown driver of a taxi from Kliptown to Johannesburg this Sunday afternoon. The taxi driver claims that rats in Alexandra Township North of Johannesburg are like people they just look at you.  The taxi driver’s comments caused the two elder women sitting behind him to laugh heartily like old friends at the taxi driver’ description of the rat infested township. A man from Alex sitting next to the taxi driver disagreed, saying Alex, arguably the oldest township in Johannesburg, is truly the place to be. He said despite the rats – once you live there you won’t want to leave.   Swerving his car to the left the taxi driver told his passenger that in Alex – rats are not scared of people they just look at you and move on with their business bringing the elder women to tears with more laughter, but the man from Alex kept saying, Alex is the original township, the women must come there, at least they can have a piece of land. The taxi driver replied that it’s true, we all come from Alex, but if you’re scared of rats don’t live in Alex.

******

And finally……Two elderly female passengers travelling from Kliptown to Johannesburg say President Jacob Zuma is a stubborn man. “He has umuti (medicine/ behavior)of  Mugabe so what are we going to do”?  They recently asked on their way to work. They were referring to a possibility that South African President Jacob Zuma may refuse to step down as president of the country when the time comes and like Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe continue to contest elections after almost four decades in power.  Zimbabweans will go to the polls this week. However  the man from Alex refuted their claims, saying that though he agreed that the President is a stubborn man, he refused to believe that  South Africa would allow him to stay in power beyond a third term. If he is not doing the right thing, he added, he will be voted out. The elderly women were not convinced.

That’s all the news we have from the Taxi.  Thank you for reading.

Advertisements

BLIND SIDED BY JOZI’S MINISTER OF SOUND

English: Hillbrow and the Hillbrow Tower
English: Hillbrow and the Hillbrow Tower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I read with interest today, an open letter directed to one radio talk-show co-host on Metro FM’s morning Breakfast Show (South Africa).  The loyal listener told Unathi, exactly what she thought of her as a radio talk-show host in a way of offering some much needed constructive criticism.  She loves the show and it’s the only show she can listen to in the mornings she said in the letter.  But I guess after years of being “tortured” as she put, it was time for Unathi to hear some choice truths.

I thought about it and prayed that should I ever be in the public eye or ear in this case that I should have the grace to listen to “constructive criticism” from where it comes and hopefully learn from my mistakes without any major collateral damage.  Before I lose you please stay- with me because this post is neither about the disgruntled Metro-FM listener nor Tips on how to be a “good” radio talk show host, but I sight it because gosh, I just thought if people can be so passionate and fearless about their criticisms constructive or not, we should be just as passionate and fearless in showing love and appreciation for each other.

I love radio and I love sound (music) and in my opinion radio is so much more, so much more personal than what you read or even see sometimes.  And if you listen to the radio you are bound to form very personal relationships with the people you’re listening to consciously or not and along with those personal relationships – strong opinions.  You can hear when someone is losing their temper, when they’re pretending, when they’ve lost interest, when they’re being sarcastic or fake, feel insecure, enthusiastic, even chemistry between two people is palpable on radio. Of course this is not always the case but most often after you have listened to  the same voice for long enough you can  tell with some level of accuracy what mood they’re in that day. People fall in love with voices or sound, even of their own voices as the disgruntled listener pointed out about Unathi.

The act of listening means you’re involved. Something about sound has a way of reaching you in places you never thought possible. It has a way of taking you by surprise, off guard.

Like I was blindsided by this one artist, musician, experimental sound guy, whose sound I have been hearing all over town. But before I knew his name before I could hear his sound, his name caught me unawares, unexpectedly, repeatedly.  As if the universe knew how easily I can forget people’s names; I heard it almost every day or every other day in conversation, in passing.  I had been hearing his name so much around my place of residence at the time that I took the opportunity to go see and hear him play at the Bioscope, on Main street life in downtown Johannesburg.   I went on my own, and thought how odd to be playing music in a cinema. But you see that was all part of the performance.  His sound silenced all the noise in my head and shot straight through to my heart in the same way that classical music  comforted me when I was very young. I left the cinema feeling quite lost for words, how do you describe this, what?!  I think I went temporarily out of my mind. Disjointed that line I had heard over and over again sung by Louis Armstrong (and Billie Holiday) echoed in my mind… “You go to my head like a glass of burgundy blue, and I find myself spinning around like the bubbles in a glass of Champaigne”   Now I knew what  that meant, what that felt like. Even the annoying Vuvuzela sounded like a double base when he  played it. I felt almost as ecstatic as the day my brother said, listen to this the Cinematic Orchestra’s Arrival of the Birds and transformation, and I cried out in total bliss while I danced my heart out! But his amazing was one I wanted to keep wrapped around me like a warm blanket on a cold winter’s night.  Never to let go.

I continued on with my life as if nothing ever happened until one day, I needed someone to create a certain sound on a project I was working on. His is the only name I could think of despite mine. But I had too much on my plate and too little time. I was afraid to meet him, in person, so, so very close.  But I asked to meet anyway to talk about the project.  He had a cold. You should try Garlic lemon and Ginger, I told him like a well-practiced school nurse. I never get tongue tied. But I was and I desperately wanted the meeting to end even though everything in me wanted it to last for as long as it was humanly possible. I never saw him again.

Until one day, I found myself sitting two empty chairs away from him in a theater. I didn’t know what to say and kept my eyes on the stage while hearing his lyrical voice laughing every now and again through and into my left ear.  I walked out with a honey pot/jar:  my thanks giving prize from the actors for participating in their experimental play.   I love honey.

Three years after I first heard him play I haven’t listened to his music as intensely again, ironically. But I know it’s good… and has been getting better judging by his ever-growing popularity.  Recently two weeks ago in fact I found myself in his house on yet another project, with two others this time.  It was a not unlike the day I imagine Zimbabwean artist Oliver Mtukudzi sat down to pen these lyrics “I’m feeling low, I’m feeling low, oh Help me lord I’m feeling low”.  I was not sure why I was there in the first place. But I was.  He listened carefully and long to what they wanted.  Later he asked if I was angry with him.  And  apologized. For something I had long forgotten.  A gift in fact. I remembered the music that first day I heard him play and wanted to say “I don’t think you know this but three years ago you ministered to me through your sound.  Your music touched me in a way I never thought possible.  If I never told you I appreciated it. I do. If I never said thank you I do. If I never said I love your work. I do. But I love you more for staying true to your gift. Thank You Joao Orecchia. You are Amazing”. But, I just couldn’t find the words.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo6LCcV-o84