Sello Maake-KaNcube still calls himself an emerging actor

Sello Maake KaNcube 16fAfter 35 years of captivating audiences on screen and on stage, the stupendous practitioner and producer Sello Maake KaNcube, interestingly still regards himself as an “emerging actor” and at a stage where he is beginning to see how much he knows as far as the acting world is concerned.

 

Such would be a hard fact to swallow about the revered icon who has mesmerised audiences around the world in high profile productions on stage (Woza Albert, The Suit, The Good Woman of Sharkville, Othello, The Rivonia Trial), on the small and big screens (A Dry White Season, Bopha!, Taxi to Soweto, Othello: A South African Tale). Perhaps better known in SA for his signature role as Archie Moroka on SABC1’s Generations, or now as Derrick Nyathi on etv’s Scandal, Sello is currently bringing it on as the villain Rolex on Rockville (also on e.tv) as well.

 

The MA screenwriting graduate from Leeds Met University and multi award-winning (DALRO Award, Pan African Heritage Broadcast Achievement Award, FNB Vita Award, Standard Bank Young Artist Award, and a Naledi Award) star also left audiences mesmerised internationally when he played the role of Mufasa on the worldwide stage hit, The Lion King. He also had London’s West End audiences eating in the palm of his hand when he played the title role in Othello opposite Antony Sher for Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company. Interestingly, he also reveals that he is ready to produce for TV as well after his stint as a theatre productions maker as well.

 

Sello says he was moved to the acting world “from the first instance I saw a play for the first time in 1975”, and kick starter his make believe career as an amateur in 1976. “I knew all I wanted is to be was an actor. So in all I have been at it for 40 years and professionally for 35.”

 

“Firstly: One of the great British classical actor is quoted as saying that it takes 25 years to make an actor, and with my meagre 35 years as a professional actor, I was never exposed to acting material as he was,” states Sello profoundly. “Secondly, I read recently from an acting book that: ‘An actor is a being who is endowed with the ability to see and experience things which are obscure to the average person" and that the real task of the creative artist is not merely to copy the outer appearance of life, but to interpret life in all its facets and profoundness, to show what is behind the phenomena of life, to let the audience look beyond life's surfaces and meanings. Inspired by these insightful observations by master of the craft, I can only realise that I am only just getting started,” he says emphatically.

 

On what the masses should still expect from him, the star says: “I don't know what calibre of an actor I am. As an actor all I know is that I am fascinated by the human condition, from the boy who smokes nyaope to presidents of our country. As for what I'm planning to do and hope to do, I am courtesan I take what is available and the highest bidder. But unlike a prostitute, I invest in the mastery of the craft and its elevation to unequivocal reverence.”

 

“I moved into directing so as to create stories of the life experience that has shaped me and continue to unfold. Producing makes me recognise the entrepreneurial side of our business. And yes I will be producing for television now. It's time. Ke Nako,”he reveals. “I am ready. The readiness is all you know.”

 

He also reveals that the international market is under his radar as well. “I had already hit the overseas market when I went to the UK with “The Lion King”. He says that that stint was short lived and he decided to come back home as “I wanted to see my boys mature into young men. Just under a year after having returned ‘I was offered to go play Caliban in Shakespeare's “Tempest” and I gracious turned it down For Dr John Kani to do. But hey, now, it's all systems go. My boys have grown into men. Now the world is my oyster.”

Not one to rest on his laurels, and keep all the attained knowledge, talent and skills to himself, the revered actor has started moving towards sharing what he knows about the industry with young people who have interest in the arts. “The most important thing in life now is the almost completion of the registration of my performing arts academy that I am convinced will be ground breaking.”

 

“Only when you begin to share what you believe you know can you see how much you know,” reflects Sello with pride about this move. “That comes with how much you can impart and the influence it has on the people you are sharing it with, and that is what this program I am involved in is about,” stated the former resident Director and Associate Artistic Director at Market Theatre about the initiative that will be set in Soweto.

 

Recently joining some 59 000 people at this year’s 702 Walk the Talk were he walked to raise the profile of sign language teachers and the need for more educators to join this profession, the iconic actor says that he will include sign language on his forthcoming stage production. A father of a deaf kid, Sello, speaking before the walk on the Gauteng radio station, revealed that his child has never had a chance to experience his work. “For once, my baby will be able to experience my work. I am doing this so that people who can’t hear can experience what we all do. All this time, deaf people could only do artisan jobs after matric because of a lack of education opportunities and practitioners to help them attain all these. Deaf people have the mental capacity to be anything that we all can achieve. The more teachers we can get, the more opportunities we can open for them,” he added. By Mandla Motau       

Carte Blanche's South 32 to the rescue

Carte Blanche 2016 fM-Net’s “Carte Blanche” is known for exposing others in the community, all over SA, the world at large, and it is time they are exposed as well for what they responsible for.

In partnership with Diversified metals and mining company South32, the current affairs’ programme “Making the difference Trust” launched in Aug 2008) has been involved in healthcare facilities setup in the country. On April 6th, South32 donated approximately R4,854m through the Carte Blanche “Making a Difference Trust” to help build the newly opened state of the art Paediatric High Care/ ICU Children’s Ward at Sebokeng Hospital, South of Johannesburg.

This High Care Unit will not only foster dignity, reduce infant mortality, and reduce patient infection, which is a challenge in health care facilities, but also be the first High Care unit in the Sedibeng district. 

It, being the ninth health care initiative that has seen them raise well over a R100million in funds, previous facilities to many children who require urgent emergency care has been donated to the Kimberley Hospital, Durban’s King Edward Hospital, and Tygerberg Children’s Hospital as well. These were prior to the Demerger from BHP Billiton, the company has long been involved in other healthcare facilities in partnership with Carte Blanche’s “Making the difference Trust”.

Thanking all involved in the programme, George Mazarakis, Executive Producer and Chair of the Carte Blanche Making a Difference Trust, went on to explain how throughout the years, the Trust and South 32 have partnered to raise over R120 million in cash, and over R320 million in kind for nine hospitals nationwide, which now includes the Sebokeng site.

Mazarakis, who officially opened the ward with the hospitall’s CEO, explained how “the Trust began out of tragedy”, and how the loss of one child with cancer spearheaded what is now a project that is on its ninth hospital. “All the work we have done before and previous efforts have resulted to this position we are at,” he said probing South 32 to “shout whenever you need our help”.

The Paediatric Ward will reduce the load on Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and offer emergency critical care for children under the age of six years. South32 Vice President Corporate Affairs Africa region Lulu Letlape said, “We are a business that lives by our values of ‘care, trust, togetherness and excellence’.”  

“We work to create shared value, that is, economic value while also making a positive contribution to the quality of life of the communities, regions and countries in which we operate,” she said. 

This High Care Unit will not only foster dignity, reduce infant mortality, and reduce patient infection, which is a challenge in health care facilities, but also be the first High Care unit in the Sedibeng district. 

“The innovative treatments and modern services that this Unit and its staff will provide, will improve children’s lives. While this Unit has state-of-the-art medical technology, the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technicians and other staff who will work here are equally important to that health care experience,” she said. By Mandla Motau

South32 hands over Children’s Ward at Sebokeng 

Diversified metals and mining company South32 today officially handed over a Children’s Ward at Sebokeng Hospital, south of Johannesburg. 

The hospital is situated in the Sebokeng township where the majority of South32’s Metalloys smelter employees reside. It is a regional hospital servicing Sedibeng and Ekhuruleni municipalities as well as some parts of Sasolberg in the Free State province. 

South32 donated approximately R4,854m through the Carte Blanche “Making a Difference Trust” to help build the state of the art Paediatric High Care/ ICU Ward.

George Mazarakis, Executive Producer and Chair of the Carte Blanche Making a Difference Trust, went on to explain how throughout the years, the Trust and South 32 have partnered to raise over R120 million in cash, and over R320 million in kind for nine hospitals nationwide, which now includes the Sebokeng site.

Mazarakis, who officially opened the ward with the hospitall’s CEO, explained how “the Trust began out of tragedy”, and how the loss of one child with cancer spearheaded what is now a project that is on its ninth hospital.

The Paediatric Ward will reduce the load on Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and offer emergency critical care for children under the age of six years. South32 Vice President Corporate Affairs Africa region Lulu Letlape said, “We are a business that lives by our values of Care, Trust, Togetherness and Excellence.  

“We work to create shared value, that is, economic value while also making a positive contribution to the quality of life of the communities, regions and countries in which we operate,” she said. 

South32 understands that the problems of healthcare that face this country are bigger and complex to be solved by government and local communities only. Let alone NGOs, business and international aid agencies.  

“But it is only Together, with a shared vision of the preciousness and dignity of each person in this world, can we meet these challenges. The business sector has emerged as a key player and needs to accept responsibility and work in collaboration with these stakeholders to address social issues,” said Letlape. 

This High Care Unit will not only foster dignity, reduce infant mortality, and reduce patient infection, which is a challenge in health care facilities but also be the first High Care unit in the Sedibeng district.   “The innovative treatments and modern services that this Unit and its staff will provide, will improve children’s’ lives. While this Unit has state-of-the-art medical technology, the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technicians and other staff who will work here are equally important to that health care experience,” she said. 

Kalawa not for sale

spikiriKalawa Jazmee Records, South Africa's oldest and most successful independent record label hasn't been sold off.

This is the response from the company's directors (Zhynne "Mahoota" Sibika, Bruce "Dope" Sebitlo, Mandla "Spikiri" Mofokeng (Pictured), Emmanuel Matsane and Oscar "Oskido" Mdlongwa) following reports in the media recently. The record company would like to stress that only parts of the business are up for discussion, and not the core Kalawa Jazmee Records.

To set the record straight: "Kalawa is not up for sale or sold," comments Bruce Sebitlo in a press release. "Only Dangerous Combination Crew is in confidential discussions with one of the major record companies on a possible partnership. The discussions are at a delicate stage at the moment and will only be revealed as soon as they are concluded."

"As in many other industries, the record industry keeps evolving," says the revered music producer and member of Brothers of Peace. "Things are not the same like when we started the record company back in 1994. Look at the major record labels, there used to be five, now there is only two. Also, look at the industry and see how many independents still exist. Those that exist have a minimal rooster," Bruce points out.

Oskido says the way record companies were, and are run at the present moment has changed over the years. "Like many other successful businesses, we have entered into negotiations and decided to partner on those elements of the company that we believe can better be managed through a partnership, strengthen the brand through such a move, and also to maximise profit. It's a new business strategy. That's how good businesses become better by allowing partnerships to move with the times, as other partners bring different elements. You have seen examples of companies that hold on to their companies for sentimental value self-destruct. "

"It's true that some artists have left the company and others remain," adds Oskido. "The nature of the business is that sometimes contracts do come to an end, and also, when other artists feel they have grown enough and need to stand on their own, we allow them to do that. There are numerous examples of names who have started their own labels, and that happens anywhere else in the world."

"We discovered Boom Shaka and changed the game with them.
When they left, we discovered an even more interesting act in Bongo Maffin, and when things happened with the group, we introduced Mafikizolo. We now even have the latest biggest group in Dbn Nyts that has captured the nation's imagination with Shumaya," says Emmanuel Matsane. "Add to that we signed and helped BlackCoffee develop his Soulistic imprint that is known internationally, and we did the same with Afrotainment that houses interesting acts. We empowered them, and it's strange now that when an artist leaves Kalawa, then people say the stable is falling."

Furthermore, the board would like to stress that they are united as ever, and this unity can be confirmed individually. "Like a family of five there will always be disagreements, but over the last 22 years we've resolved those internally," concludes Spikiri. He mentions that such rumours started when he decided to focus on the Spikiri Records brand. "The other board members embraced that focus from my side, as I wanted to focus my energies on the kwaito genre," he says. "I am still working with the crew and also concentrate on Spikiri Records as well."

Hugh Masekela explains hair stance

Hugh Masekela3FBra Hugh Masekela's refusal to take pictures with women who spot weaves has caused a furore on some women and the media alike.

To put his record straight, the legendary musician has decided to put out a statement on where he comes from as far as the hair issue is concerned. Below is the full text for your perusal.

...Chris Rock, the African American comedy megastar, movie actor, and film director recently decided on doing serious research about hair following a plea from his young daughters.

They dreamt of wearing "good hair" because of peer pressure from schoolmates and neighbourhood friends who had ceased to don their natural hairstyles. Their mates and buddies were now rocking Indian, Brazilian, Peruvian and European weaves, wigs or chemically transformed locks, even plastic and horsehair.

A seemingly dazed Chris Rock's "Good Hair" documentary went on to become an international box-office success in theatres around the world. African people's hair has always been a universal issue of major intrigue and an amazing psychological jigsaw puzzle regarding their identity, image, self-esteem and heritage.

My (Hugh Masekela) maternal grandfather was a devious mining engineer from Scotland who married our Ndebele grandmother at the beginning of the 20th century. My mother therefore emerged as a "mixed-breed", a "Mulatto", a "Coloured" person with straight hair; in the then Witbank (now Emalahleni) location of Kwa-Guqa inside Mpumalanga province where I was born.

My three younger sisters were "blessed" with semi-straight hair. Most of my mother's light-skinned relatives had similar varieties of "good hair". My own hair pursued that of our father's texture and variety although it retains up to this day a slight softness inherited from mother's side.

Dad was Karanga/Pedi and therefore not easily acceptable to many of my mom's "Kleuring" relatives. In the townships, we were "Maasbigir", "Amperbaas". As a child I was subjected to regular mention of my mop as being "Kaffirhare"(Kaffir-hair). "Korrelkop"(Maize cob-row head), "Hottentotmat" (Khoi San [aboriginal South Africans] mat) and other derogatory terms associated with indigenous coifs. Such words came from my Afrikaans-speaking granny (when it was appropriate) when her "Oorlams" (Dutch-rooted) relations, many of whom were Ndebele and Pedi would say to her "Haai Joanna maar die kind het lelike hare, wragtig!". I began to realize right then that the criticism of my people's hair quality has subconsciously instilled in them a deep measure of embarrassment and shame over what sat on their heads.

When the apartheid regime came into power in 1948, it was romantically sentimental about treating and classifying the Afrikaans-speaking "Coloureds" as officially superior to us "natives". Of exploiting tribalism, institutionalizing ethnic-grouping and establishing legal racism based on white supremacy. Not that the structures did not exist before during colonial times. Only now they were administrative law, enshrined to an absurd level of constitutionalized slavery. Within all the ensuing racist insanity, those indigenous people who wished to acquire "Coloured" status because of its "half-white" privileges straightened their hair with the aid of hot-combs, creating a putrid smell in the air, torturing the nostrils but guaranteeing the wearers success in the apartheid regime's "comb-test".

This examination ensured that if the comb did not get stuck in the hair but rolled smoothly over the head, then the examinee lawfully became a "Coloured". The utter absurdity of it all still boggles the mind. Many women took the "cliff-dive" into hot-comb hair-straightening, skin-lightening and passing for identities as far removed as possible from African – or as Europeans loved to call us "Kaffirs" – regardless of how dark skinned they were.

It caused deep pity inside my young soul to observe a people so ashamed their beginnings. It still does. How lethal the severe sword of oppression!? When I entered my late teens, I began to realize that African people were successfully being manipulated into believing not only that they were inferior to Europeans, Asians and Coloureds, but also that their own hair texture and its quality had to be perceived as unmanageable, uncivilized, primitive and backward. To be socially acceptable, Africans had now to contemplate upgrading the feel of their tresses to a level closer to that of real "Coloureds" (there were many fake ones), Asians and Europeans.

Hair industries in the USA, Caribbean and South America emerged to exploit the hundred-and something-years-old inferiority complex of most people of African origin about their "nappy heads". Ironically, one of the foremost pioneers of "soft" hair for so-called "Blacks" was a Madam Jackson, an African-American who went on to become a multi-millionaire from her transformatory initiatives early in the 20th century.

Shortly before I left South Africa in 1960 to study music in abroad, the hair straightening, wig-manufacturing and skin-lightening industries were taking root in Africa. Many women destroyed their beautiful faces, which often got badly burnt by the creams. The burns are called "chubabas" in Southern Africa.

In Central Africa; because of the hot humid weather, men and women turn yellow from the applications. In my African travels, I've seen some outrageous spectacles!!!

The most comical portrait that comes to mind is that of Ghana's first independence cabinet of Kwame Nkurumah in 1957 where everyone is resplendent in traditional Kente-weave costumes with all the wives proudly sporting sparkling Indian-style wigs. I am pained whenever I view that portrait. I try to imagine the wives of a European country's cabinet or female soldiers in Asian armies wearing African short hair wigs and I am really tempted to chuckle but the laughable probability rather saddens me instead.

Especially that Kwame Nkrumah is supposedly one the fathers of Pan-Africanism, (May Robert Sobukwe and Steve Bantu Bikos spirits rest in peace) the portrait blows my mind.

To watch the Royal Reed ceremonies of KwaZulu and Swaziland with the young maidens in traditional threads, tall reeds in hand, fills one with so much admiration for the regalia, the music and the dances. However on realising that the majority of the heads are crowned with black, blonde, platinum and rainbow-coloured wigs and tresses, I tend to cringe with overwhelming amazement.

Are the Kings really admiring the headdresses??
When I arrived in New York City, I could not find a barbershop in Harlem that would afford me a haircut.

Almost all "Negro" men's heads were wrapped in straightened, chemicalised "Hairdos". They would inform me that only very young "Negro" boys wore natural hairstyles aside from Sidney Poitier, Malcolm X, Ossie Davis, Harry Belafonte, Martin Luther King, (and most of his team); footballer Jim Brown and a small minority of prominent African males. Very few "Negroes" of the era wanted to be associated with the continent of their roots. "Ya'll, got fruits and vegetables in Africa?? I'm an American; I ain't no African, man!! I'm a Negro!!" They would assure me of this fact in dismissive, agitated and angry tone of voice.

Miriam Makeba, Odetta, Abbey Lincoln, Cecily Tyson, Maya Angelou and few others who wore their hair natural then; were deemed to be strange women. People who were doing the opposite considered "Own natural hair" as almost bordering on terrorism, paganism and extremism; they felt threatened by the look.

Most whites viewed it as typical examples of cheeky, troublemaking "Nigras".

To me, this negative disposition felt like arrogant censure and negation of my heritage's exceptional history and its glorious contribution to human knowledge in several fields of the arts, sciences and philosophy.

With the emergence of "Black Power" revolution spearheaded by Stokely Carmichael in 1967 finally tearing down American white racist stereotypes about African peoples, many former "Negroes" began to wear dashiki shirts with "headmops" that became known as "Afros" or just "Froes".

For a while, the African diaspora was captivated by a new pride over their naturalness. Alex Haley's "Roots" television hit series in the mid-1970's tracing his family history back to ancient Gambia in West Africa was a massive international smash and powerful stimulant. It caused African traditional couture to gain a large following around the world. However, the euphoria was not to last long. By the 1980's, the return to Western and Asian wigs and extensions pointed to a U-turn from what had seemed like beginnings of an ultimate African renaissance.

Today, African women the world over spend tens of billions in dollars to acquire Brazilian, Indian, Chinese and Peruvian locks, many from heads of the dead. From a traditional perspective, the practice is macabre and ghoulish.

Skin lighteners are back in full force. The new fads and fashions are a vilification and denigration of centuries old African tradition and heritage. I am thrilled by the welcome discovery of scores of African hairstyles that are possible because the tresses are, malleable enough to sculpt into dazzling looks in all colours. On the other hand European and Asian hair only hangs downward unless fastened and clipped with all manner of pins and needles. It seems to lay so strangely on African molded features.

From my viewpoint, manipulation of African people to look down upon their natural beauty and their subsequent exploitation by international skin-lightening cream, hair extension and wig retailers is truly a tragic return to the thinking that was prevalent during my childhood, teenage and coming-of-age days when we had to listen to talk of "Kaffirhare", "Korrelkoppe", "Hottentotmatte", "nappy heads", "plantation cotton-pickin 'Nigger' Looks" and all other terms that mock our origins. Today we use glossier and smarter words today but they still remain demeaning.

I have registered the Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation to (i) attempt restoring back into our lives knowledge of our historic past and researching the genealogy of every family. Also to (ii) interview every aged person 85years and older so as to capture whatever memories, wisdoms and ancient know-how they might still be able to recall. All the information will be preserved and stored in databases for access to our past.

(iii)To encourage the relearning of mother tongues, poetry, praises and literature for present and future generations to possess as a mirror against consumption by other cultures, (iv) To revive artisanship study in the areas of indigenous manufacture of household goods to elevate the study of carpentry, construction, weaving, linen manufacture, design, stone-masonry, mosaic, art, traditional music, dance and sport. Hopefully, this initiative will aid us to gradually cut down on our blatant consumership of foreign goods and cultures, subsequently turning us into a seller society instead of the buyers that we are today.

In view of all I have stated above, it would be hypocritical of me to appear in photos with people donning foreign wigs, chemically –altered hairdos, extensions, Asian, European, and South American extensions except in cases where if I refuse could result in my imprisonement, deportation or demise.

In conclusion, I do not wish to stop anybody from the choices they make or the cultures they want to serve themselves as fodder for. I am only begging not to be forced to join the dive of the lemmings or sheep over the cliff. As you can surmise by now, I have personally had a very depressing hair life. Today and everyday these days appears to be a "bad hair" day. Painfullest is to watch government officials, "celebrities", prominent women in business, media, sports, religion and education wearing these devices with so much deep pride, aplomb and joy; especially the old grannies who are at an age where at which nobody is "looking" anymore. I'm surprised to see people of the African female community who look like themselves in newspapers, magazines, journals, television, theatre and concerts. It is as rare a sighting as seeing an albatross.

Many employment establishments will not have them. We are living a "bad hair" life. Welcome to another "bad hair" day.

I hope that the next time I mention hair, people will try to seriously consider the afore-mentioned history before getting their feathers ruffled.