RIP Gugu Zulu

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Today is Mandela Day. It’s a day whereby many take the time out of their busy schedules to dedicate 67 minutes to the memory, the legacy of our beloved late Madiba. And while many will continue to take the time out to do good for our fellow South Africans, it’s turned out to be a very sad day for the sporting and lifestyle fraternity too.

Race car driver, family man and all-around amazing human, Gugu Zulu has died. The star, together with his wife Letshego and a couple of others were climbing Kilimanjaro in aid of the #Trek4Mandela campaign. The details around his death aren’t clear as yet, but the news was confirmed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation earlier:

Date: 18 July 2016

From: Nelson Mandela Foundation

It is with a heavy heart that we announce that one of the climbers on the Trek4Mandela, Gugu Zulu lost his life early this morning in his attempt to summit Kilimanjaro.

On behalf of the Board and staff of the Nelson Mandela Foundation we extend our sincere condolences to his wife Letshego Zulu, their daughter Lelethu and the Zulu family on this tragic loss.

Details are sketchy. What we do know is that Gugu experienced problems breathing. The medical team supporting the trek put him on a drip and they descended the mountain with him. We are informed that the medical teams tried everything possible to save his life.

Gugu was climbing Kilimanjaro with his wife Letshego and we understand that they both descended the mountain together with Richard Mabaso, the project leader and the medical teams. The team was led by experienced mountaineer, Sibusiso Vilane.

Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation said, “I am devastated. I knew him well. I recruited him to climb Kilimanjaro. The last thing he said to me at the airport before he left last week was that he wanted to speak about doing other Mandela Day projects. I feel a huge sense of loss.”

This was Gugu’s last post on his Facebook page on 16 July:

“Made it though (stet) day2. My wife is doing fabulous, she has even learnt the local language. Am having flu like symptoms and struggling with the mountain but taking it step by step!! Today we managed to see our destination and our camp is literary above the clouds!!”

The Nelson Mandela Foundation will share more information once we get further details from Tanzania.

The climbers were due to summit Kilimanjaro today, for Mandela Day.

I can honestly say he was one of the nicest, calm and friendly gentlemen I have ever known. Always so polite, always greeted, gave great interviews and glowed/ gushed when he spoke about his beloved Letshego and their daughter. My heart breaks for them. Keep them in your thoughts today and the days to come. Gugu, you were an amazing soul and your adventures inspired many of us to be the best we could be. Rest in peace, sir!

Winners at the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards

Pic: Al Nicoll
Pic: Al Nicoll

Last night the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs) returned to our screens. The show included performances from Africa’s finest like Davido, Dbanj, Tiwa Savage, Sarkodie and Mafikizolo, as well as a few internationals too like Miguel and Trey Songz. The show was hosted by American comedian Marlon Wayans battled his way through some of the names and had many people questioning his hosting duties. He had some high notes, but for the most part people were asking why no African comedians were included in the bill. Alas, it is what it is and the show was actually really impressive and enjoyable. Did you spot the ‘Kool Kardashian’ aka Khloe Kardashian? She was in Durban to show her man, French Montana support.

In case you missed it, here are the winners from the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards:
Best Male: Davido (Nigeria)

Best Female: Tiwa Savage (Nigeria)

Best Group: Mafikizolo (South Africa)

Best New Act: Stanley Enow (Cameroon)

Best Live Act: Flavour (Nigeria)

Best Collaboration: “Y-tjukutja” – Uhuru Ft. Oskido, DJ Bucks, Professor and Yuri Da Cunha (South Africa/Angola)

Best Hip Hop: Sarkodie (Ghana)

Best Alternative: Gangs of Ballet (South Africa)

Best Francophone: Toofan (Togo)
Best Francophone: Toofan (Togo)

Best Lusophone: Anselmo Ralph (Angola)

Artist of the Year: Davido (Nigeria)

Song of the Year: “Khona” – Mafikizolo ft Uhuru (South Africa)

Best Video: Clarence Peters (Nigeria)

Best Pop: Goldfish (South Africa)

Best International: Pharrell

Personality of the Year: Lupita Nyong’o (Kenya)

MTV Base Leadership Award: Ashish J. Thakkar (Tanzania)

Transform Today Award by Absolut: Clarence Peters (Nigeria)

U2 to perform Ordinary Love at the Oscars

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The film industry’s big night is just over two weeks ago. The Academy Awards will go live to the world on Sunday, March 2nd and it’s bound to be a goodie. 12 Years A Slave, American Hustle, Blue Jasmine are just some of the films vying for top honours at this year’s Oscars. One film (and it might seem biased) that is missing from this year’s list of nominees is Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. I think the film depicts Madiba’s story brilliantly, the acting is impeccable and it’s an important story to not only South Africans, but also the world over. I thought Idris Elba was fantastic in the role as Mandela, but Naomi Harris as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was world-class and I believe she was overlooked unfortunately.

Alas, this is showbiz and that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. One highlight is that rock band and activists, U2 was nominated for their song Ordinary Love, which is taken off the soundtrack to the film and it was announced yesterday that they would be performing the track on Oscar night.

The song is up against “Happy” from “Despicable Me 2,” “Let It Go” from “Frozen” and “The Moon Song” from “Her.”

I wont be on that time zone this year, but I will be up in the week hours of the 3rd of March, blogging and tweeting, so stay tuned for more from this year’s Academy Awards.

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U2 talk about winning a Golden Globe, Mandela

Here’s what U2 had to say shortly after winning their Golden Globe for the song Ordinary Love, which is taken off the Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom soundtrack. Bono recounts the time he visited Robben Island with Madiba.

Times for Nelson Mandela’s funeral on 15 December

BBC World News (channel 400 on DStv) will carry the late Nelson Mandela‘s funeral on Sunday from 06:00 GMT (That’s 08:00 CAT).
David Dimbleby introduces live coverage of the State Funeral of Nelson Mandela in Qunu, South Africa. Many Heads of State are expected to attend and pay their respects to the former President who reunited the nation and brought apartheid to an end.
Sunday 15th December from 06:00 GMT until 10:30 GMT

 

 

President Obama remembers Nelson Mandela

America’s first black president paid tribute to South Africa’s first black president in what was a very moving and special address. Obama brought a tear too many an eye, but he inspired many others with his words in what will go down as one of the most moving and amazing addresses Obama has made to date.

Remembering Madiba – attending the tribute service

Last night I again found myself in Houghton, Johannesburg. This time around I was at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, where there was a celebratory service being held for the late statesman. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu led the service, which was attended by musician Peter Gabriel, Johannesburg Mayer, Parks Tau, human rights lawyer George Bizos, media from all over the world and of course some of Madiba’s VSPs (Very Special Persons).

Bishop Tutu is a fantastic speaker. He is funny, heartfelt, intelligent and definitely not shy. The only time he got ‘shy’ was when he met eyes with his wife who was front and centre at the service. Here is a little clip from his address:

Some of most loved musicians were also in attendance. The Grammy-winning Soweto Gospel Choir kicked things off. They were then joined by Johnny Clegg, who sang a very moving version of Asimbonanga (see below). Danny K, Mamma Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Lloyd Cele, Ed Jordan, Louise Carver, Ross from Prime Circle and Sipho Hotstix Mabuse all took to the stage too. It was truly a celebration of the man we all loved, cherished and respected.

Today is the official state memorial. The programme is expected to commence at 11am, CAT. Check your local listings to see when you can watch the proceedings.

Tribute to Madiba at Nickelback concert

Canadian rockband, Nickelback took some time out of their concert in Johannesburg at the weekend to pay tribute to the late Nelson Mandela. Mandela passed away on Thursday, 5 December at the age of 95. Goosebumps moment!

Remembering Nelson Mandela through reflection, prayer

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Today has been declared a day of reflection and a day of prayer in South Africa, following the death of our greatest hero, Nelson Mandela. Madiba passed away peacefully on Thursday evening. Since the news broke, there have been tributes, messages of support, gratitude and condolences  for Madiba and his family. And what amazes me the most is that it hasn’t just been limited to South Africa. This is arguably the biggest story in the world right now with newspapers and TV stations running stories on Mandela, his life and legacy. We’ve also seen places like the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Empire State Building in New York been lit up in the colours of the South African flag, in honour and respect of Nelson Mandela. As I type this, my heart is sore and the lump in my throat is real, but I also celebrate this global icon and the selfless bravery he dedicated his life to.

This is a day of reflection and the one thing that keeps popping up in my head is this ideal of a rainbow nation and national unity. I’m 29 years old and I was very young when the turn of democracy entered South Africa. I didn’t understand what it meant, or how important this moment was in our history, but one year later we celebrated our second national success… The rugby World Cup win. Nelson Mandela put on the number six Springbok jersey, walked onto the rugby field at Ellis Park and handed over the trophy to winning captain, Francois Pienaar. The nation went mad with excitement. Black, white, colored, Indian, it didn’t matter… Everyone was united, happy and celebrating. I remember driving around the streets of Johannesburg and seeing how excited people were. It was a significant moment for us and one that will always been treasured. Our young democracy could’ve turned ugly, but instead a jovial, celebratory and this idea of “South Africa – alive with possibility” was born. We thank Tata for that.

The next moment I recall being significant is the FIFA World Cup. From the moment we found out that it would be held in South Africa, to the weeks and days leading up to this spectacle, I remember how despite many international press outlets saying we weren’t ready, we showed them just how ready we were. The nation’s pride was at an all time high, the country looked amazing with our stadia being ready. The Gautrain began operating and all in all we had a lot to be proud of. Madiba was expected to be at the opening ceremony, but his granddaughter was sadly killed in a car accident the night before kickoff and that meant his family were absent, understandably so. I speak for many when I say this, but a lot of this would not have been possible had it not been for Mandela and his fellow struggle peers. I think while the ceremony went off without a hitch, many of us would’ve spared a thought for Madiba and given thanks to him in our own special way. One month later, the final was set to take place at Soccer City. There was a lot of speculation that Madiba would be at the final, and that he was. He, together with his wife Graça Machel, made his way onto the field.

He smiled, he waved and in his own way he blessed this global audience with his presence. It was the perfect climax to this amazing period. I remember crying like a baby with my friends because this honestly was one of the most magical moments of my life. You might not understand why, but for me, as a South African, this man; the father of our nation, gave us the opportunity to experience moments like this. Again, we thank Tata for this.

The last month in South Africa has been a challenging one. The whole Nkandla issue has left many of us feeling quite negative towards our president. The very bitter and contentious and controversial etolls have also been met with a lot of negative sentiments. The gantries went live this week and a lot of us were feeling angry at the state and Sanral. It united us in a different way, as we stood firm against the etolls and how the process was rolled out. We lost that battle, but we won in unity and a lot of those principals we owe to Tata. I think when our country gets to a point where things are very intense and things don’t look so good, there’s always some turning point that steers us in a unified, positive direction. Things could go so wrong and yet there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not naive and I know there are issues pertaining to poverty, HIV/ Aids and other social issues and crime is prevalent in our society, but a lot of us are working towards building a better country for all, thanks to the reconciliation principals of our greatest hero, Nelson Mandela. United in life and still uniting in death. Ngiyabonga, Tata.