Archive | May, 2019

The Dear Upright African Movement.

15 May


One of my passions in life are arts and how we can promote our beautiful continent. I started my Pan African agency, so to bridge the gap between like-minded artisans, activist, and creators. Along my journey, I have worked and still work with phenomenal individuals​s, who live their lives in changing our narrative with regard to how we see ourselves​ as Africans​, how we promote ourselves and what history needs to to be corrected.
Donald Molosi is one game changer. He is a classically-trained actor and award-winning playwright. He holds an MA in Performance Studies from UCSB, a Graduate Diploma in Classical Acting from LAMDA, and a BA in Political Science and Theatre from Williams College. Molosi is featured in A United Kingdom, opposite Golden Globe and Emmy award nominee David Oyelowo and Oscar nominee Rosamund Pike. The film depicts the marriage of Prince Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams in the 1940s and the uniting of the people of Botswana. Molosi divides his time between Botswana and the rest of Africa. His second book, We Are All Blue has been named one of 2016’s most prominent African Books by several literary journals including Writivism.
In 2017, he wrote a thought-provoking​ essay, which received​ great reviews globally. It also received​ some criticism​​m from people who refuse to acknowledge the negative effects​ that colonialism had on our cuture, tradition, identity, ​and ultimately how we see ourselves.

The essay:

Dear Upright African,

I am reminded of six years ago. I had just flown into Johannesburg from Kampala. I was in Johannesburg to do a screen test for a TV series about Botswana. Before the screen test was over I had already landed one of the lead roles. Of course, I was elated, mostly because even though I was enjoying an award-winning acting career on-Broadway and off-Broadway in New York City, I still had the firm desire to do something at home. A week later I was in Gaborone, script in hand, and ready to film. Then an email from the series producers popped up on my phone saying that after “much careful thought and consideration” I had been dropped from the production for “not looking African enough.” The news was more infuriating than disappointing. I found myself wishing they had told me that I had been dropped because I had not been a good enough actor during the screen tests, or that I was asking for too much money. But to say that I did not fulfill​l some British self-styled Africanist director’s zoological notion of what an African looks like was to abuse even my ancestors. I tell you, Upright African, you and I must write and perform many-many stories about the Africa we know where my perfect teeth are not remarkable.

Internalized Oppression seeped into our young minds every time our teachers congratulated us for speaking well, “like a proper Brit” and in the same breath ridiculed us for having Afro-textured hair. British merchant John Locke, in 1561 wrote that Africans were “people without heads.” Trust me, Upright African, to pretend that I don’t have a head (even mind) would have been a ​difficult thing for me to do in high school, or in that audition room in Johannesburg. Locke also describes Africans as people with “their mouths and eyes in their breasts.” Now that would be pure comedy if that sort of language and imagery had not animalized and thingified the African so profoundly in the West’s imaginary that it is partly how Europe justified (to herself and the rest of us) her brutal colonisation of a third of the world. Perhaps Locke would be hilarious if, ​in 1829, European taxidermists had not exhumed the body of a Tswana King to exhibit it in the same way as a trophy animal in Spain for the ​amusement of Europeans who had not seen a Black man before. Perhaps asking me to perform a zoological Africanness would not be insolent if Saartjie Baartman had not been trafficked from the Cape into to being a dancing sex-slave for Parisians at Palais Royal and Londoners at Piccadilly Circus simply because of so-called steatopygia, the “condition” of having a big butt, which apparently rendered her more like an animal and therefore inferior to the European.

When I predictably lived in Paris years after high school I almost-instinctively knew how to catch the metro from Villejuif to Centre Pompidou to Porte de Montreuil. I therefore found myself questioning my education almost obsessive-compulsively​: what study of French history and culture (in a Botswana school) had this been that it almost-by-definition had to displace people who look like me and you out of story whilst the bloody Eiffel tower itself was built by enslaved Africans who died in the process and whose bones remain under the magnificent monument? What if in that high school class you and I had learnt not just about the great French singers Patricia Kaas and Edith Piaf but also about their equally great contemporary Josephine Baker and how she wrote a competing narrative with her body, claiming the agency of the black female body on stage, in Paris no less? How different might our consciousness have been at that age as products of “international” schools? Would we have spent so many disorienting years after high school apologizing for (not) being African? What if we had simply learnt about African empires instead of French history? You see, we also belong in history as protagonists and not just as supporting characters. Upright African, we must also make dolls that look like little African girls. Perhaps I digress but you get me.

When the grand story of David Livingstone’s peripatetic exploits across Africa is told in Big-British-Books-On-African-History used in African schools, private or public, it introduces us to his African aides, Susi and Chuma. We are told that Susi and Chuma were loyal servants to David Livingstone. We are also told that Susi and Chuma were so loyal to David Livingstone that when he died at a location described as “the centre of Africa,” Susi and Chuma risked their own lives by carrying Livingstone’s embalmed body for months from modern day Zambia all the way to the coast of modern-day​ Tanzania so that the body could be shipped off to London for burial. Now, what if we dared to tell the stories of Susi and Chuma not just as servants but also as – to use that fancy term reserved for Europeans – ‘explorers?’ What if in our version of missionary history we also saw Africa through Susi and Chuma’s eyes? Would we not see that Ilala, the Zambian village where Livingstone died, is in fact not the center of Africa but simply a case in colonial cartography full of self-serving symbolism?

I wrote We Are All Blue because beneath the Grand Narratives of global history lie African stories waiting for you and me, Upright Africans in the world, to truthfully tell back into our Consciousness. With no apology. For our own humanity’s sake!

-Donald Molosi

Donald has recently published another book, Dear Upright African. His European book​ launch​ took place at the African Book Festival Berlin 2019. The African Book Festival aims to summon the finest in African and Afro-diasporic​ writing to Berlin. The event was curated by award-winning writer and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga from Zimbabwe. With Ben Okri, the festival’s headliner is another literary giant from Nigeria.
This year the event focused thematically on transitions, change, upheaval and future visions – in a literal as well as figurative sense: How do African writers interpret the issue of crossing borders and trespassing, physically but also stylistically. How are personal experiences and changes in location reflected in poetry? Which political upheavals are picked up on in fiction and how are they interpreted? In which ways can and do African thinkers influence current situations.

To book him as a speaker, consultant, linguist or trainer​, please contact​ us

Diani Beach, one of East Africa’s palatial​ secrets.

8 May


My three passions in life are Women, Africa, and the arts. I have always had a crazy obsession for East Africa, Uganda in particular so when I get the chance to explore the rest of the region, I jump in with open arms. Upon receiving an invitation to a destination wedding, that was to be held in Diani Beach, Mombassa. I reached for my passport, yellow fever card and planned away. The designated travel agent for the wedding was Travelneza. TravleNeza was founded by entrepreneur and travel guru, Laura Batamuliza Kagame.

TravelNeza is a Ugandan based travel agency that specializes in creating custom travel arrangements for both corporate and leisure clientele. Laura’s passion for travel and seeing the world in its entire colour gave her a steadfast determination to help others plan and live out their travel dreams. The agency has been in operation for over a decade now, she has built up a team of well-traveled, knowledgeable and passionate travel designers who derive great enjoyment out of planning personalized and unique experiences for each of their clients. They surely pride in going the extra mile for the customer, never forgetting that special, personal touch.

On route to Diani:

Diani is where the sun comes to play, with an all year tropical climate. It is a major beach resort on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya, located 30 kilometres south of Mombasa. It is made up of magnificent sun-kissed white sandy beaches.
It has been voted Africa’s leading beach destination for the third time running since 2015.
What you will need:
A yellow fever card, obtained through any travel clinic. For more advice on vaccinations go to,

My adventure:

I chose Rwandair as my airline of choice and left OR Tambo International airport from Johannesburg, in the early hours of the morning on the 26t April and landed in Kigali, Rwanda for a three-hour layover. I did not mind the long wait as it gave me the opportunity to have a few cups of my favourite coffee. I had the opportunity of visiting Rwanda a few weeks prior, you can read about my adventure here,

Before I knew it, I was boarding the Rwandair flight to Mombassa, the flight takes approximately two hours, which gives you a chance to have a light meal and a small nap. As we disembarked we were taken in by the astounding Mombassa humidity. The customs and passport control was quick and efficient​ and only took a few minutes. Side note, as a South African, you only need a visa to Kenya, if you plan on staying longer than 90 days.
Our bags arrived and we congregated at the entrance to the airport where the Travelneza ground staff welcomed us. We checked our names on the list and then we wer escourted to our bus.
I was rather intrigued​ whislt driving through ​the ​downtown of Mombassa as every building was not only built the same but painted in a uniform colour of white and blue.
The back story behind that is that the owners of residential and commercial buildings in Mombasa’s Central Business District all started painting their structures with a uniform colour. This came about after a public notice issued to residents by the county administration in March 2018, directing that all buildings should be painted white with blue colour, symbolizing the Indian Ocean. This is part of a plan to make the coastal coats as beautiful​ as the Indian ocean.

“The buildings should be in white with Egyptian blue border on the edges and windows above without any sign written on the wall or canopy,” read the notice signed by Transport, Infrastructure and Public Works CeC Tawfiq Balala.

The Governor Hassan Ali Joho announced his administration had embarked on the plan that would see both Mombasa CBD and Old Town painted in a uniform colour.

The adventure continues:
After traveling​ for approximately 30 to 40 minutes we arrived at the​ Ferry port, we were greeted with copious amounts of commuters and padestrains waiting to cross ove onto the island. Unfortunately,​​​ photographs were forbidden. There are two huge ferrys that transport cars, trucks, taxis, ​and pedestrians across.
The actual ferry process took about 20 minutes and then we proceeded through the town, then into the rural are and othen we finally saw the sign Diani Beach.

The wedding party was​ divided into two main hotels, being The Swahili Beach Resort and Leopard Beach resort.
For the​ weekend I was booked into the Swahili​ beach resort and then for the last​ two days, I​ would move to​ The Leopard​ beach resort.

On arrival at the opulent​ hotel, we disembarked​ from the bus, I was met with the most​ spectacular​r grand hotel entrance​. The receptionst gave us a rather delicious and thirst quesnching cocktail. I could pick up lemon, honey, soda, ​and a tangy sensation, we deduced that it must be their virgin-verson f the well know DAWA cocktail. Registration was swift and then we were escourted to our little spaces of heaven, I was fortunate to be on the top floor on the left side of the hotel, overlooking the pool area. Upon entering the room set for a queen, there is a small passageway​, then an open space to hang your clothes. On the right handside is the open bath and shower, accomapnie by​ double​ wash basins. Each toilet has its own bidet. The huge King size fourposter bed had the most comfortable mattress on it. Every night, the staff released the mosquito​ net to cover the four posters, so you are not affected by any unwanted insects​. I have to admit, I was not affected by any mosquitos at all. The room led out onto a huge balcony that overlooked the pool area of the hotel, which then led to the beach. I was in African heaven.

The architecture​ is designed around different cultural influences and has a beautiful fusion of African, Indian, Arabian and Zanzibari influences, with long arches, Arabic​ architecture and Swahili​ finishes.
The poolside area was made up a huge, winding pool that surrounded a central pool bar area. There is an ​apmle lounge area for sunbathers​ and the whole pool is shallow so no need to worry about the children, or if you​ cannot swim, you can float or waft around.
The pool is surrounded by more buildings​ of residency which then leads​ down a path towards another pool area looking over the ocean. At this pool, there is a restaurant area and also sun beds and lounges to relax. This was my perfect spot as the slight wind from the ocean​ broke​ through the humidity and also the sounds of the waves crashing catapulted​ me into a daydream state​​e. I finally​ could block​ out the stresses​ of Jozi life and relax and enjoy the free-flowing​ spirit in the air.

My cocktail of choice for my trip was the Dawa, but the original one with a double kick, after all,​ I was on vacation.

The restaurants- The resort​ ​boasts three restaurants.
1. ​Bahraini​ Beach Restaurant​ offers an a la carte menu including burgers, grills, ​and seafood.

2. Zanzibar Seafood Restaurant​ explores a pan-Asian a la carte menu and 2 Teppanyaki tables. Fresh Kenyan seafood is brought in by fishermen every morning and cooked in a contemporary style.

3. Majilis Restaurant, meaning ‘gathering or meeting place’, Majilis is the main dining restaurant. Enjoy buffets with different cuisines every night. From Swahili to Italian and everything in between this is your first stop on your culinary travels. ​This is where​ breakfast is served.

Destination wedding.
The main wedding destination was at The Leoprad Beach resort, which was a few metres away from The Swahili Beach resort​. Through Travelneza tours, we had our​ own chauffered buses and cars to transport between​ hotels. For regular guests, it will​​ you approx​ 300 Kenyan​ shillings​ by Taxi or Tuk-tuk, which are available​ at the gate of the hotel.

The Leopard Beach.
The wedding guests were​ hosted to a rehearsal​ dinner at an area of the resort called, THE RESIDENCES. This​ is a villa complex which includes an​ Asian-fusion specialty restaurant, called the Lemongrass – with an adjoining Grasshopper cocktail bar overlooking a rock pool. Here we enjoyed our meal, met the rest of the guets which totalled nearly 200, we danced the night away and celebrated the anticpiated love union, whch was to be cemented the follwoing day.

The Wedding:
The wedding ceremony took place on the beach in front of the hotel. It was a magnificent setting in the sand on the shoreline, with the beautiful backdrop of the​ crsip blue ocean. The added touch​ was that the programme was printed on fans, so to help guests ease away for the​ Mombassa humidity.
After the nuptials​ and ululating were completed, we were ushered to a rooftop area, were we enjoed East african cocktails whilst watching the powerful sun, set over the Indian ocena.
The dinner, speeches​, entertainment, ​and dancing took place around​​ the pool area and once​ again, we were treated to delicious Asian-fused with East African cuisine​​n.

After the wedding party departed, I checked out of Swahili​ Beach Resort​ and was booked into Leopard Beach Resort for an additional two nights. Thanks to Laura from Travelneza, she secured a full villa for me.
Each villa is located in the Residences and comes equipped with a private pool and small garden. The interior​ includes a main bedroom on suite​​ and the​ ​second bedroom with twin beds on suite. There is a luxurious lounge area and a dining​ room and bookshelf, to wind down from a hot day on the beach. The lounge is also equpped with a flatscreen TV, and DVD. But with the magnificnet surroundsings of the Diani, I did not even think of turning the TV on.

The resort​ also boasts other rooms and beachfront villas, with the same​ amenities.
There​ are​ a pool and a side restaurant which leads onto a private beach.

Other excursions.
Travelneza secured an all-day​ adventure​ for us. We were collected from​ the hotel and driven by air conditioned buses to the other side​ of the island, where we boarded a Dhow and went off on a cruise adventure, of dolphin searching, snorkeling, copious​ amounts of laughter and enjoying​​g the powerful African sun, giving thanks​ to our exsistence. We then docked on a small islan​d​ and were met with its inhabitants with a delicious fresh Swahili sea food lunch.
My adventure​ will always be one to be remembered and I will be back to explore the rest of the island.

For assiatnce with planning the perfect destaination wedding, girls or boys getaway or naughty retreats, please call on Laura to book your trip.
Contact details for Travelneza,they have offices in Uganda, Rwanda​ , ​and Kenya​.

Crane Plaza, Kisementi 1st floor f12, Kampala – Uganda.
Phone: +256 772 361866

KG552#48 Nyarutarama, Kigali – Rwanda.
Phone: +250 782 029803

3rd Floor, Amal Plaza, Links Road – Kenya.
Phone: +254 725 995389


The deadly beat of abuse!

6 May

We live in a country where rape and abuse have become a normal way of life. It has permeated our culture and society so much that women and men have become so disillusioned by the facts and atrocities, which have led to people supporting the abuse, make excuses for abusers and rapists and in some cases making a mockery out of abuse.
The rape of South African women is among the highest in the world, according to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA)revealed in​ a study that was released in 2017.


To give an example to my opening statement, let us take a look at the Babes Wodumo ( Bongekile Simelane) abuse case. I am not going to use the terminology of allegations, as we have video evidence of her recording her being beaten up by Big Nuz musician and assault accused, Mandla “Mampintsha” Maphumulo. This video was posted in March 2019.
I will not post the video here as it is far too gruesome but it basically shows Babes Wodumo setting her social media page to a live video, then in the background, we see and hear her being beaten. In the live video, Babes was singing in a dimly lighted bedroom when DJ Mampintsha suddenly grabs and slapped her repeatedly. Even with her in tears, she asked him why he was beating her.
As horrfiic as the video was, this is not the first time that the abuse had been discussed. It was last year Masechaba Ndlovu was highly criticised for using her radio platform to unleash the dark secret of Babes, then alleged abuse. I was one of the many who criticied her, not for talking about it but for the manner in which it was done. It was incredibly worrying and concerning that no measures were put in place to protect the survivor. Through POWA we tried to make contact with the radio station so to prevent it from happening again. Our concerns were that there was no counselor in place, what would have happened if the survivor had a mental breakdown? Without professional assistance​, it could have had serious effects​​s on her well being. Our other concern was that since the survivor was not prepared and had not receieved any or adequate psyco-social support she would probably go back to her abuser and the absue would then be worse, if not kill her. Fortunately, she is still alive but through proof of the video that went viral, we see that the abuse continued, she may have survived it this time but for how long?

The aftermath of the video.
After the video went viral, huge amounts of support were rallied for her. I emailed the record label, Afrotainment, headed y DJ Tira Khathi, his response to my mail is attached below. Many called for the banning of Mampintsha’s music. This is all well and good but we must understand that abusers are manipulative calculating and narcissistic beings. Let us look at the history of their union,
When Mampintsha started working with her, bare in mind she was a teenager, he was able to groom her and make her dependent on him. Discovering that her God-given talent could make money, he needed to cash in on that, so he attached his name to every one of her songs. So muting him, would mean muting her, or does it?

DJ Tira

As our society is driven by patriarchy and misogyny, she along with many others believe that she cannot be successful without him, Wrong!!!! Her talent and brand are strong enough to stand on their own.
The obvious and logistic challenges that face her are, that she would have to start recording new material under her own name and label. Not so easy for a young brand but with the correct guidance and management, it is possible. She would also have to legally remove herself from her existing record label, which as history has dictated, it is not easy for musicians to do,
The biggest challenge, however, will be to get counselling and try and find healing from all the emotional, psychological and physical abuse. Part of the issues that we face with victims of abuse is that the emotional and psychological abuse are the first signs of abuse in a relationship, this is why it’s difficult for so many victims to leave. I use the word victims in this case as they feel and believe they cannot get out and in most cases believe that they deserve it. At POWA we highlight the different levels of abuse from psychological and emotional, to financial, sexual and physical. All types​ of abuse are tragic and difficult to break, and the emotional and psychological often results in victims returning their ​abusive homes or relationships. They have been brainwashed into making excuses for​ the abuser and shifting the blame to themselves. Look at many case studies and court rulings, the one question that is always​ asked, is Why did you not leave? Well in most cases it is not that easy. With this level of abuse, one’s​ self-esteem​ is broken​ down.

His reaction to the video and allegations were literally textbook​ cases. He automatically denied the actions, despite the proof, then played the victim, then he tried to discredit​ her, then he went back to the victim playing and now we are in the dangerous phase, where she is undermining and ridiculing her own struggle. We have seen in previous cases, where victims have found the strength to speak out but with lack of adequate support and guidance, they fall back into the manipulation and begin second-guessing​​​ themselves and their statements​. Her latest video that was released​ over​ the past weekend is a ​testament​ to that.
The video features Mampintsha, Babes Wodumo, ​and DJ Tira. The song titled Khona Iyngane Lay’Ndlini (meaning: “There are children in the house”) makes reference to what Mampintsha said to Babes in a video allegedly depicted him abusing the singer in March.

I had received the news that she was involved with him again, and we reached out to her, showing love and letting her know that although​ we don’t​ agree with her choice, we will respect it.
Then through a post by Phil Mphela, he questioned​ my stand on the new video, since I had not seen it, I watched it and had to watch again. I admit to being appalled​ and disgusted by it as it is a blatant portrayal​ of diresepcet for victims and​ survivors of abuse​, as she has ridiculed the pain, placed him in​ an innocent light and made a mockery​ of the whole crime.
Then I​ mulled over it and realized​ that it made sense​, as it falls in line ​with the next stage in the cycle​​ of abuse,​ discrediting her and if possible destroying her. Her soul is already crushed and through this new video, it could lead to her losing​ many fans and supporters, thus breaking down her career. He will then probably​y move on and create other songs and still live off the dividend​s of their collaboration​ songs. At the end of the day, she has been muted.

The twitter posts.

So what is the solution for Babes and other​ victims?
Our government​ needs to fully acknowledge​​d that we are in a state of crisis. ​As a society​,​ we​ need to adjust our mindsets​ and the way we see ourselves and change the archaic​ ideologies​​ around gender and the lack of gender equality​. Through this change, we can begin to shift the rape culture and​ toxic masculinity that has guided us for so many centuries.
We need a shift in attitudes from our law enforcement​ and ultimately​ we need to challenge​ our judicial​ systems​. ​It is a lot of work, it is not easy but we need to start somewhere and we need to start now.

Contact details for POWA-