Lessons from life:
Keeping someone for the wrong reasons is so much harder than releasing them for the right reasons.
In Keeping them around, you hope for the best and get disappointed.
You live waiting…for them to return the love.
You stay hoping they will change.
They never do.
Leaving them behind you release yourself.
You live…for you.
You chase all your hopes and dreams.
No more waiting for a love unrequited.
It will change your life, try it.
Don’t hang around, release yourself.
10 January 2023
Firstly, congratulations to all the nominees. These is the premier event of the music industry, and a great accomplishment all the industry players to reach. Without a doubt, a very big moment and achievement, if not the pinnacle of one’s career. It is with this honor and glory in full recognition that I proceed to write this piece, all protocols observed .
The seemingly arrogant and dismissive approach of the committee or academy surely continues to be a huge smite on the awards. They seem to be drunken in their power over artists’ careers and recognition. So drunk that theirs is the only voice, the supreme expert knowledge and final decision…why on earth would they rather snub an artist instead of engage or indulge them over a difference in opinion? It is their craft after all and they can talk about their view of it. Apparently, Nicky Minaj was nominated in the pop category, which she openly expressed her dissatisfaction with and preferred to be nominated in the rap category. Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak) withdrew their album voluntarily.
The Weekend; and Drake also withdrew their albums. Huge superstars of their craft…
As much as the institution can snub artists and their work, I like that artists are taking their power back by snubbing the Grammy’s. It’s about time…after all, true recognition comes from a healthy self esteem and personal worth. One does not need a nomination for that, sales and credible artistry are better measures. The academy needs to get of their high horse and understand that they will eventually loose out to the wilful, self confident artists who trusts their own worth eventually. If you as much as snub me for having an opinion, or simply nominate me; then I have arrived. Artists don’t arrive by virtue of being nominated, the nomination follows the virtuosity of their work; period.
We have seen this at the Oscar’s with black artists and their work being overlooked for years. We had to clap so hard for Denzel Washington because it was (3?) decades since Sidney Poitier. We screamed our voices hoarse for Halle Berry because she was the first…Whoopi Goldberg, Viola Davis, Morgan Freeman…the list is endless.
But hey, we clap once every decade because the work was ‘white’ enough to be considered mainstream. Or so black and slavery badef that America had to acknowledge ‘inclusivity and diversity’. We simply have a bar that is unreasonably set too high for certain groups than for the ‘typical’ market.
I remember the days when Madonna; one the biggest and certainly the most controversial superstar of her time; was never nominated for work that has created the culture we witness today. How could the institution have missed? I will tell you why: they were stuck in their idea of what is pop music/popular culture. Needless to say, not much has changed since then. They continue to pompously sit in their all-knowing ignorance and honestly believe that they are more in tune with a culture they are so far removed from.So convinced are they that they continue to take a different opinion and engage it meaningfully.
Yes, I like the fact artists are responding in kind to the sacrilegious practices of these institutions. I like the fact that the institutions are facing a clear and cut point of being irrelevant and out dated. That their influence and power is skidding crazily out of kilter on the icelands of modern technology platforms that are not catered to one-sided views.
I like that artists can do their art simply for the love of it. Maybe not so fast; but so long to the slipping power grip of “institutions”. Not too long now…
All that I can say:Do Right!
Hearing people chant Messi in an overcrowded, dingy downtown bar during a World cup final match.
African people…in Africa.
” This is colonial tendencies in display.
France with a team that is half African, Argentina with a rich history of sending their own to Africa for dubious economic reasons.”
I see no course for Africa to celebrate…just another world cup final.
For them to disregard our heritage and contribution.
For us to be ignorant of our own history?
Despite my dingy bar unnervingly happy pro-France excited frenzy.
Unnerving pro-Argentinian excitement?
I am unconvinced until the love is real, pulsating and attaining a pro African flavour to garner support for the continent.
If all the “Mbappe” chants meant liberation from poverty for just one child; I would also join in.
If all the Mbappe chants meant something for one more African child to unlock their potential.
Not just yet.
Can you also mention Africa’s contribution to these major events you win?
Even as you are the champ
Can you even acknowledge our history…your history of enslaving Africa for your benefit?
The same history that drives you today to the final?
Can I at least know that my child’ s labor is not in vain?
Should they ever play for your country?
Can I let them out to your country knowing you will recognize their contribution to these moments?
Or maybe you care not…
Can we just make this clear?
Because Africans care..
This can’t be right, no matter the justifications.
Throughout our lives, we are taught and prepared to respect hope and then accept the hand of fate when hope is deferred. This is a hard lesson…for so many reasons as we find out through living life. A very good lesson from parents who have already put in their yards and have the scars to show…A harsh reality for the inexperienced imbeciles coming through the ranks. And even harsher as one realizes the injustice, inequality and unfairness of life.
I have lived my entire life on hope and trust. Largely because that is what my name means. Tshepo. Hope….trust…faith. The substance and evidence of things not yet experienced or proven. I believed justice and fair play were a pregone conclusions, a matter already established and entrenched in societal conscience. I thought equality was finalized by Nelson Mandela and the advent of the rainbow nation; that it was no longer even a point of disagreement. I could never have been more wrong.
I continue to sit today in corporate level meetings where white is automatically right. I continue to fight for justice for the black company whose only error is the color of their skin before they even tender or win the tender. I am the sole black manager who sits at an an exclusively white table to discuss why white incompetence is forgivable while black mistakes are pure evidence of the evil that “these people” will be our downfall. I look up to black senior managers and leaders whose sole purpose is self-preservation and they completely refuse to see justice or fairness. I sit with white people who speak the lingo to my face and then go right ahead to act harshly, unjustly and racially biased against black entrepreneurs. They Haye us, but have developed the art of “looking just”. I sit daily, listening to black professionals who will never be entrepreneurs, will never understand the prehudice;calling their black service providers names I will never repeat. I sit with black entrepreneurs who entrust me with the weight of achieving justice for their cause against a tide too strong for me to withstand. My staff believe I am either superman or superstar depending on daily outcomes that cost me my health daily. I am on antidepressants, sleeping pills and huge doses of: know where your bread us buttered. I work for a company that is not overtly transformational, but absolutely inertly white uninterested in transformation…they will never take a stance that promotes reversing the harm of apartheid, yet will quickly and efficiently squash all evidence throughpower PR and marketing campaigns. Giving hand-outs…shoes and computers and food parcels here and there as long as the PR machine is looking. But any black person coming into the system is on pure merit…they were the best candidate. Once in the system, promotion depends entirely on different factors that continue to show who braais with with who, who knows who…while the blacks fight for their miniscule slice of the cake. We are so overburdened we never have time to realize what is happening around us. We are so consumed with retaining our fragile privilege that we can never risk taking any career limiting position. We dare not have a voice; or if we have it, voice it. We could be cast back into the wilderness from which we have come.It is pure economic manipulation, classic inequality bias tactics.
And so, we continue to live the lie…to preserve the status quo. We continue the status quo; white supremacy, Indian/mixed race tolerance and “different black” tendencies. “Oh, you speak so well. What school did you go to? You sound so white…you are not like the others, you are so perfect for that mediatory/reconciliatory role I want to fill “…the list is inexhaustible.
And so, we continue living in this very obvious and blatantly biased bubble of white supremacist bias. We continue to hope that being “better blacks” gives us enough leverage today to pass on to our children’s future prospects. All this, in a country where Mandela magic reigns…the rainbow nation. The world example of how racism can trump politics…as long as the societal poverty balance favors the whites. We keep the black child poor…we all take corruption, bias and injustice and wear it around our necks like a value-lacking piece of jewelry heavy in sentimental value. We lie to ourselves; worse, we believe our own lies and use that to perpetuate the fictitious fragments of our imagination our bias supports. We are hopeful bigots. We wear our one sided bigotry like the double-edged sword we know it is: it will damage us all very badly one day soon. ALL of us are guilty, and will suffer the consequences. I feel sorry for our future generations.
Tshepo Leonard Thipe
I am a person living with a form of depression. It came into the forefront when my mother passed away on 29th December 2020 due to covid 19 complications. She had been my number one fan, supporter, uplifter and sometimes punching bag for my whole life.As an independent, strong-willed and stubborn personality, I never realized or fully appreciated her value and place in my life. I was because she were; I am because she was. I just didn’t realise the fullness or extent of the strong walls of unconditional love she had built for me and around me throughout my life. Now that she is gone, I am exposed and vulnerable to the elements. Life without her has been a journey full of obstacles, thorns, dungeons,darkness, loneliness etc.
I was diagnosed the first time soon after her passing. Two weeks after burying her,I had to bury two close cousins on the same day, covid 19. They were sibling sisters, my aunt’s children. They were tbe mainstays of the family as well, and they left behind young children still in school. I was put on antidepressants and other feelgood drugs, which was exceedingly magical for the four days I took them. At the time, I believe the trigger was work related stress, studying part time and of course against the backdrop of emotional upheaval arising from grieving. After the four days, I had to return to work and immediately decided I would not be able to function under the ‘magical’ influence of these drugs. They made me feel high, detached from life and airy fairy; feelings not required in my line of work. I stopped the treatment and chucked the drugs down th drain. I faced life head-on in my personal capacity and through sheer willpower. Then my father-in-law passed away three months later, following a short period of illness, which was a complete shock to all of us. I was not thinking straight, my family was in disaray and I was not in a position to be strong for all of us. He was a true father ro me, he called me son and introduced me as such. My burdens were his, he stopped at nothing to help me. I stopped my MBA for four months to lighten the load and give myself time to mend. I had almost deserted the previous module because I was not coping…I abdicated my studies and disappeared from all student activity. Then had to ask for grace with two weeks to the exam, which the professor granted me. I worked my finger ro the bone for that 51% pass mark! I was ok, I thought….one more module and I would graduate. So I registered for my dissertation module. I finished my MBA later on by the skin of my teeth, barely getting through and completely uncommitted. In retrospect, I think my sanity was highly compromised at that point in my life. I was at a point when I had decided I did not need the MBA after all, it had lost meaning to me when two of my biggest fans would not be around to celebrate with me. It was hell studying during that period; pure, convoluted and highly concentrated hell from the pits of Hades. I am still trying to process if the MBA means anything I thought it would when I started that journey? I hope to at least get the benefit of better career prospects.
It is now November 2022. Last month I went to see the doctor again for fatigue, stress and low energy and lack of interest in daily activities. My work bores me to tears, yet induces severe panic attacks routinely. A lot of my tasks I find mundane, yet operations may come to a standstill if I neglect them. Menial but critical…definitely not challenging and diverse enough to excite or engage me mentally. So I am feeling overworked by menial, mundane and uninspired work. I get panic attacks because the sheer volume of these activities leaves me on the backfoot all the time, with lots of possibilities to drop one of the balls and get fired. I sleep badly and irregularly, I consume a lot of alcohol. So the doctor has prescribed the same script that I flushed down the drain two years ago…this time on a chronic basis. Problem is, I still think I don’t need such a severe solution. I believe I have absorbed multiple shocking blows in quick, unrelenting succesion and that was a lot. Does this mean I am chronically depressed? I do not think so.
Here is what I have learned about my journey thus far. There has been a series of blows that caused a lot of pain, shock and pure emotional breakdown. I went through a long period of walking in the valley, surrounded by darkness and still having to carry on with life as though it were uninterrupted. Raise three children, be a good husband, be a good uncle, brother, son and friend. I had to work at optimal levels while getting through an MBA program I no longer cared about. I moved houses in the process, kids changed schools and friends vanished along the way. I had to just keep going as though I was prepared for the dark valley I found myself in for a lengthy period. I even believed I am the problem, the curse. Two years later, another script of antidepressants and I think: no, this valley is behind me, the morning light is around the corner.
So, I took the non-chronic part of the script to help me now. I still feel down and sorry for myself when life gets tough…like right now. I still get the severe hot flushes when the panic attacks occur because work is getting to me. I am still feeling like my life is not serving the purpose it should, that I am not good enough. I am worried about the future of my family. But can I get through this without chronic depression drugs? I believe so…my triggers are clear, they are beyond my control and most can disappear in a less stressful environment that is stimulating and positive. I can succeed if I surround myself with the right people and energy. I know with God on my side, faith that move mountains and a return to my first LOVE, I can do this.
I trust my journey is relatable, stimulates discussion and that it is thought provoking for those who are familiar with mental illness.
Mirriam Webster, Hillsong Church sang: I am my Father’s child, I will not die but live to tell what He has done.
My wife was playing this interesting music mix this morning. After a heated disagreement. A money related one. Now, I am comfortable within my marriage and with her.We are good together, maybe even great. We been slaying for years. We ain’t perfect. As I listened to this choice selection she was playing,I was actually amused…knowing she is totally mad at me. The jokester in me went ahead and approached the situation lightly…I named all the songs she played and mimicked them; much to her irritation. I knew I won the battle, NOT THE WAR. I am right, but maybe I am not a fool. I know right doesn’t matter when you are losing the war. Losing sight of what matters.
She knows I am right too…she will not admit it now. In the next few days, one of us “right ” partners will have to admit the other was more right…maybe none of us was. Someone will concede, compromise, or even sulk.But that topic is coming and I am uncomfortable with it. Maybe one of us gets an unfair advantage?
Anyway, the point is: none of us is going anywhere. We are staying long after this…we have done it many times before. We love staying, we ALWAYS choose us.#marriage #compromise #LOVE
So my Elandsfontein Station pub longing continues…Sunday afternoons would go like this:
While they all ganged up on me by playing Leonard Dembo, Joe Shirimani, Shwi Nomtekhala etc for hours on the Jukebox; I sat there enduring it and planning my revenge.
I would then take R50 and turn it into coins so I could play a ‘proper’ Sunday repertoire. It would start with Rebecca Malope (we pray first, right?) Maybe Lusanda and the Spiritual what what. Some 90’s R&B smoothies…then Aretha, Luther, Patti, Commodores, Whitney, Mariah, etc etc.
Then they would hear Best of Tracy Chapman…I played the whole album each time. First strings of Bang Bang Bang and they knew it was soul time🤣🤣🤣
I always left Give me one reason as my closing track…on repeat.They knew it was a sign my selection was over after 3 hours🤣🤣🤣
Then back to Shwi, Joe and Dembo and them.
I miss ALL of that.Greatly.