Tag Archives: Tshu-Tshu

Word: Guerrilla Grapher – Definition: Max Mogale

3 Nov

This is the Max Mogale I happily stumbled upon one day on the Facebook. One of the happiest memories of my photography life. Sometimes its just best to let the original words do the (s)talking…


Conversation started 25 August 2009


Ewetse Khama

Fear not

Hey there Max, been looking at your booth series, killing me my African brother, straight killing me. Mare why you worry so much though? The bravery you displayed in documenting a time and space in a very tangible CPT (like who can tell its CPT?) is in my opinion historical. I have issues with that city so when someone can make it beautiful again, fuck the hat, I take my whole head off to them.

Another thing though, which may be linking back to the historical point, is that back when the Face and ID were popping for the first time, those things were like eye candy, until some peeps realized that they were mapping culture as it evolved… FYI, Max Mogale is doing it for CPT and MZANZI.


Oh…And I like that there isn’t a story to go with it. It would only piss me off. I unfortunately know exactly what I am missing, but some other person might miss the significance of having such visionaries plain chilling on your shoots. Mmmaphuti, Check, Yangiswa Check, and all those other types I fraternized with for years but never got to meet… it was something to do with ruining the fantasy. I didn’t want to go that far. I understand that I risked missing out on meeting fuckin brilliant personalities, but that’s the shit thing about the Cape… the fantasy’s are often stronger at times.

Hey man, from me to you, you put the hot shit in hot shit.

PS: Tell anyone I wrote any of this and I will deny it and call you stalker!


25 August 2009


Max Mogale


Thanks for that man. I’ve been looking at this message all day trying to decipher exactly what you are saying but the general vibe I get is a positive one. And I thank you for that. Im all bout the positive thing, tryna make it as a young black photographer in this game. Ive lived in CPT for a while and Ive always had my reservations about it, but its getting better. The people are awesome(as youve seen) and Im thankful that I have an oppurtunity to take a piece of their soul

Youre right, I am a bit sensitive bout my work because every shoot I do is one from the head and heart and I pretty much wing it when I get to it. Its always great to see it come out the way its intended. I thank you once again for your kind words


All pictures by Max Mogale

Totally #Dazed&Confused

9 Dec

We don’t need words or this one. Special 20 + 20 Covers Project for the Dec issue of Dazed & Confused with like 20 different special covers. Rankin shot all of them, he like cold killin it… dead. Eiiinaaaa, e mmmmpollaaa gone ha!

Pics – http://www.dazeddigital.com

Double the Trouble

12 Oct

Sorry to disappoint, but I am going to talk about something I can’t share with you yet… Move on.

Zeus is a bizzy little beaver, with the hair cut to match. He has been leveraging like a fulcrum of off anything and everything to get his music and love out there. The last powerful image I have of Zeus was him tearing up in the arms of a Naija manimal, yes Karen. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t hate on a TV character so don’t get hung up on that, it’s the image I want you to think about. Zeus/Karen. Zeus in Tears, Karen moved. Loads of support and hugging. For me that is Zeus, a real human being. He looked passed the grotesque (olde English for “unclassifiable”… trust me) and found the woman Karen probably was before she took the fame route. That is the Zeus I think is the foundation of the super star persona.

Back to the music, the new track “Double Wowza” is about to drop… umm, soon. The Botswana/Malawi collabo is an extension of that Big Brother Amplified (BBA) family of gifts. Tendai “Lomwe” Namate (Malawi’s poster boy of Heart) tag teams an epic sounding little bit of production with Zeus. I wish they threw down a remix as well where they did a Setswana/Chichewa Motswako thang… but what do I know about marketing music? Anyway a mixed tape is apparently lurking in the DIY (literally, Do it Yourself) music making machine. Its a mixed tape so anything can happen, such as Hanni (Ethiopian entrant on BBA) appearing on that jaunt.

For the Zeus hungry, there is an album and a music video on the horizon. About the album title, also called Double Wowza, the term Wowza is allegedly something Zeus and Lomwe used to say on Big Brother Amplified… I thought it was #I’mGoinIn… but I stand corrected, it also doesn’t make a catchy album title, “Double I’m Goin In”… see?

One last thing… a snippet from the press release and it is priceless…”After the exchange of battle-rhymes [On BBA], the question on the minds of the 40-45 million people watching the show around the continent was, “Will the artists do any work together after the show ends?” Double Wowza is the answer to that question!”

I guess 40-45 million African can rest easy now that their question is answered… or they can just put on their Dancing Shoes.

Pics – Lapologa Magazine

Fashionably Busy in Angola

11 Oct

“Thank You very much for the questions and I have to rush preparing for Angola.” Was the next to last line in Mpho Kuaho’s reply to some questions I had sent her about Fashion in Botswana (Check it in next post)… so what is this “Angola” she is rushing to then? Well… do you have a cushion? Place the cushion under your jaw now. What I am about to tell you, if you can imagine the future fearlessly, will simply blow your mind, or just drop your jaw.

Angola Fashion Business is huge, and when I say huge I mean beeg. This is a fashion industry event backed by beeg guns, Angola’s equivalent to Botswana’s Ministry of Minerals Energy & Water Resources…more or less. However, just to be precise the originator of the fashion industry event is Angola’s Ministry of Geology, Mining and Industry. Forget diamonds, dodgy copper & nickel reserves and barely scratched coal reserves, that ministry is responsible for oil reserves… just for starters. The other huge sponsor is Sonangol the oil company… like I said Beeg. So anyway no one there will be tramping about in gum boots and hard hats, its all going to be about strappy heels, chic fabrics and every conceivable aspect of beauty. Since Angola can be a bit pricey, especially to us who don’t earn in US Dollars, there is something else to get into… knowledge. At Angola Fashion Business there will be workshops ranging across all the various spheres that make up the fashion galaxy.

Come to think of it… this idea is languishing locally due to a general misunderstanding of the particular industry both at consumer and corporate level. And I kid you not, it could actually fly, especially if the ugly bits are trimmed out and only the beautiful core is kept on the table. The owners of the idea will make money casue y’all will attend in your thousands; the event itself will make beautiful because generally it is rather well though out; and the people blowing their hard earned Pulas there will be for once happy with the variety of the local consumer climate. Unfortunately I signed a piece of paper that says I can’t talk about what I know on that particular event or the owners will get upset… the modern day price of knowledge; silence. One day I will say I told you so… this will be what I was talking about.

Anyway, who will be representing in Angola? Why Mpho Kuaho of course, backed by the ever Divarish at some catwalk but impossible to find in stores Black Trash; and someone called Thato Mokgadi… don’t worry Monsieur Polk is on the case to find out more as well. Africa Fashion Week favourite Ethiopia’s Anna Getaneh of African Mosaique will be in the house; as will the usual vanguard of South Africa’s fashion, Mzanzi fashion flamingos David Tlale,  Kluk CGDT and new Flamingo on the fashion lake Gert-Johan Coetzee (Claim to shame – once dressed a Kardashian… but he is a lot more talented than that, just ask the Bedazzler herself Bonang Matheba). Thanks firstly to the first Africa Fashion Week (and more recently Colour in The Desert) we now know Soucha personally, even if many of us first realised Egypt was literally part of Africa when that country joined the Oust-a-Kleptocrat/Dictator Movement. The home team will feature Dina Simao, Carla Silva, Avelino Nascimento, Elisabete Santos, Lucrecia Moreira… I should stop your eyes are crossing just trying to figure out where you might have heard of them all… Dont worry I’ll ask for you.

Anyway more than 40 designers from over 20 African countries will help fill 6000 square meters with fashionability at the second annual Angola Fashion Business 2011, 14 -16 October. If you have friends in Angola tell them to send you a Revista Chocolate when it’s out, Joana the editor of Chocolate spent a part of September in the Okavango and she had a ball… so maybe the Colour in the Desert ambassadors will make the cut. 😉

Artspicious Goings on in the Main Mall

27 Sep

There is something artspicious going on in the Main Mall, it is quite simply an art gallery. But what makes is so artspicious you wanna know… well this gallery is in the Debswana building commandeering a healthy chunk of the ground floor. It is a prime space in a prime location for a prime purpose and it is all F-R-E-E of charge for the curator Karabo Radipudi. I know… I was also green with every emotion associated with the colour.

Karabo was smart enough to merge her art intentions with Debswana’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme. Its was a master stroke of note and I will tell you why. In Botswana art tends to get the cold shoulder from many local corporates because art doesn’t rank when held up against a press picture of, lets say, “AIDS Orphans” receiving branded t-shirts and a newly painted playground.

Karabo is sitting on ground zero for a huge opportunity for credible artists that need their work noticed, even if its only because the art is mounted on a heavy weight corporation’s walls. The other benefit is that for the time being, because it costs her nothing to look after the space, it will cost artists nothing to show there and sell their work from the space.

Incidentally the gallery is called Healing Art Gallery. Karabo says that is the ultimate aim of the gallery, to heal. I can relate, I felt healed over there… mainly that Debswana allowed it and also because Karabo also said she wants crazy people to come do their art thing there… Excuse me while I round up the posse.

Pic – http://www.whatiftheworld.com (Athi Patra Ruga in action)

PS – Artspicious. Noun. Made up word for good fortune in an arty sort of way.

Twelve Poets, One CD. Immortality Deserved

21 Sep

It’s going to be hard to keep to the topic on this one, but let’s give it a whirl. That artprenure I once mentioned in passing, TJ Dema, is at it again. The ‘at it’ in this case is giving 12 individuals a crack at immortality… what? Weren’t you aware that you could live forever? O tla ipona.

The CD ‘Dreaming is a Gift for Me’ is billed as a poetry anthology and that’s all the labelling we can allow because really you will find it hard to compare the CD to anything else you have ever let your ear sip for any reason. First off, it is a spoken word collaboration which also features some musical elements. Lets start with the rather dramatic ‘Angelinah’ by the equally dramatic Malcolm. (Ever just met Malcolm on the street and exchanged pleasantries…? Storm clouds literally gather he is so intense) For a language loving non-poet like me the cultural specific references are always a high point, and in ‘Angelinah’ the no less then four name checks of that cult beer, Ohlssons Lager, threw me into raptures of delight mid rape… err the poem was about a young girl being raped by an Ohlssons drunk uncle. See… immortality! Just try and forget I said that about Malcolm’s poem.

Barolong Seboni, easily as old as 10 of the younger poets put together… I think, was actually sparkling as he metaphorically undressed the Village of  Molepolole (name of Barox’s poem) in English so reminiscent of the Hamlyn Africa Series books of the 80’s. A nice contrast to Barox’s delivery in that modern rocking-back-and-forth-but moving-forward stop/start poetic rhythm akin to a locomotive starting off with a heavy load. If Molepolole had a gender it would be highly aroused by the poetic accolade.

Who else…? There are 10 more collaborators in this legal gathering, TJ Dema, pulling a Celine Dion with her technically effortless rendition of ‘Less Faith Full’. TJ’s delivery is so polished and well oiled, damn near perfect in pitch and poise, but don’t ask me about the content I am sure TJ can make the Budget Speech sound graceful and sexy all at the same time. Boipelo Seleke is present on the CD with ‘Tengnyanateng’ a first rate example that Setswana is a filthy little language when it wants to be but with such playfulness that you would be surprised to find yourself getting aroused instead of offended. It was a pleasant surprise when I first saw her perform the poem many years ago at the Village Cinema, with my then deformed Setswana, but the men whistling and women giggling through out that performance made me to listen a little harder, I was glad I did. This recording however lacks that live magic because I suspect the microphone isn’t phallic enough to inspire Boipleo to incite a riot of emotions in a studio environment, pity.

Mr Ntirelang Berman… I must use the title of Moroka Moreri’s poem (also on the same CD) ‘O a Ntena’, to describe Berman’s blatant talent. This guy o a ntena because wa re itima, as unintentional as it is. I was fortunate enough to hear Berman messing up people with his talent on radio earlier in the day, I felt no different hearing this musical contribution ‘Mmamoleane’, nxa, o a ntena. What’s wrong with this country for not having a platform for Berman’s flavour to flow uninterrupted to all ears in Botswana and beyond regularly? Moreri’s ‘O a Ntena’ its self was like an articulation of love from a Motswana man’s point of view. The narrator in the poem takes the love of a good woman to be an irritation of note. The man reciting the poem is restless and can not articulate the restlessness, however he can identify what is making him restless, and who is responsible, and it irritates him so. But its all love really and so humorous, you could just imagine a cantankerous old man reminiscing about his wife, but not saying a single positive thing, yet you feel the love. Setswana, what a beautiful creature… ok, ok Poetry too.

Mandisa Mabuthoe, who literally put me in a corner after the listening session and poets were exchanging autographs (just in case one of them became world famous) and got me to admit the CD frustrated me because it was zeitlos; a German word meaning timeless, and so very appropriate. My frustration was that I didn’t have anything to benchmark the CD against, so whatever I have written here is a total leap of faith… but anyway Mandisa was just toying with me (in the corner) and on the CD. She knows she is good, that good and you can hear it. Again don’t ask me what she was on about in her poem that titled the project ‘Dreaming is a Gift for Me’… she just sounded so right, OK not perfect as she was very sibilant. Mandisa’s ‘S’ sounds were very ‘cutting’, making it a novel take on rough with the smooth… sort of smooth slices of poetry with razor sharp edges and I fought not to use the word edge… But again I think Mandisa is not a studio poet, yet… she is toying with us.

Ack! This has become a veritable anthology as well…So let me shout out my favourite poem on the CD, ‘My Poem is More Street’ by Tshireletso Motlogelwa. This guy just takes it to the streets, the haphazard sloppy sloping hill side streets of Peleng or the twisted warren of streets in Ditakaneg he has you metaphorically (and literally) watching your back. I love how in real life Tshireletso is living proof that the wrong side of the tracks is a self imposed state of mind more then a physical place… but he is still liable to show you dust like majeeta a ko kasi if you step on his toes, poet’s or otherwise.

There is so much more (CD artwork design by Alistair Hagger of http://www.kgogomodumo.com; photography by Petra Rolinec of 8ties Baby; main production by Virgin Brew Studios) but I don’t want to sound like I was paid, TJ’s Sauti Arts can’t afford me yet. However if the response to this very relevant and heavy weight sampling of modern day Botswana poetry (and some music) is as it should be, any and all immortality is deserved.

We are Losing it

15 Sep

You begin to notice it in the eyes of the person walking towards you on the street. There is an indecision that builds to confusion and eventually a disconcertion. How you react to the emotional fidget unfolding with each approaching step is nearly always a mystery; do you avert your eyes pretending to suddenly notice the window display in the equally jumbled Chinese shop window; do you suddenly find that your cell phone needs your urgent attention with furrowed brows for good measure; do you surreptitiously clutch the pocket holding your wallet a bit tighter; or do you smile warmly and at least nod your head in greeting? These are the dying moments of a culture, or perhaps the assimilation of one culture by another. The simple and open face of what is now considered ‘traditional manners’ versus their more evolved city cousin… swagger.

In modern day Gaborone encountering people on the street at a less frenetic time of the day you are able to identify the Thabo-come-latelys by their ease in looking you in the eye with out suspicion, malice or a calculating glint. At times there is even some form of acknowledgment of your existence, a hand waved in passing, a greeting of Dumela rrra (Dumelang Rra for the less corrupted prospect) even a single word acknowledgment, RrrrrrE! which drags out the ‘R’ and features the final ‘E’ as an exclamation mark. The most beautiful greeting, however, is expressed by the people that both acknowledge you and identify their Nation by using their totem as a greeting, for example a moNgwato would say Phuti meaning Duiker, an animal no moNgwato is allowed to harm or even worse, eat.

Obviously no one really has time to greet every single person including strangers that you would encounter walking along the city street as used to be the case when times were slower and populations smaller; A time when travel tended to be more by necessity rather then by whim; A time when opportunities were measured in social interactions instead of potential financial coupes; A time when nations were not subdivided to the Nth using developed world definitions and concepts in trying to understand the various fragments that make up Botswana.

The changed times and situations are an indication of what is considered the modern thing to do; yet there is no clear destination as to where the present course leads. There are no clear directions as to where the leaders expect to steer the country except a Valhalla called economic diversification, accessible through the pearly gates of achieved Vision 2016 goals… one presumes. As for the people in Botswana we appear not to know where we want to be led either; at times we rally behind a 16% wage increase for government employees; or our love/hate-fear/respect sentiments for the current president; even our inexplicable fervour for the finally deserving national soccer team.

It may just be the case that in this diamond backed rush to embrace all things modern and prosperous as a country we have generally forgotten the little things that are Botswana’s foundation. It is also the same foundations that still persist even if they are taken for granted and remain openly unacknowledged. The world even reflects the same qualities which we find easier to identify in American celebrities on the Philibao rather than in the only knowledgeable and helpful shopping assistant at our nearest supermarket; whereby we consistently miss an opportunity to validate and encourage someone we can tangibly interact with even if it is only via a Facebook ‘Like’.

Pic – Daniele Tamagni, http://www.mon-tohu-bohu.blogspot.com, Francesco Giusti, http://advancedstyle.blogspot.com/