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.

JVB Top 40 for 2010

It’s been another fantastic year in music. Usher and Eminem made huge comebacks, BFFs Rihanna and Katy Perry keep dropping big songs. Taio Cruz, Drake, B.o.B, Bruno Mars and Liquideep all graced us with their musical talents (and thankfully so) and Shakira, Freshlyground and K’Naan provided us with two of the biggest songs of the year during the FIFA 2010 World Cup, right here in Mzansi. So I thought I should put a list together of some of my favourites, and probably yours too. Here is my Top 40 for 2010

1.


Rihanna featuring Drake- What’s My Name

2.


K’Naan- Wavin’ Flag

3.


Liquideep- Fairytale

4.


Eminem featuring Rihanna- Love The Way You Lie

5.


Katy Perry- Teenage Dream

6.


Lady Gaga featuring Beyonce- Telephone

7.


Usher featuring Will.i.am- OMG

8.


Taio Cruz- Dynamite

9.


Bruno Mars- Just The Way You Are

10.


Justin Bieber- Somebody To Love

11.


Shakira featuring Freshlyground- Waka Waka

12.


B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars- Nothin on You

13.


Adam Lambert- Whataya Want From Me

14.


Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dog- California Gurls

15.


Usher featuring Pitbull- DJ Got Us Falling In Love Again

16.


Big Nuz featuring Tira- Umlilo

17.


Professor – Jimaphi/Jezebel (feat. Oskido)

18.


Miza featuring Flabba- Superhero

19.


Parlotones- Life’s Design

20.


Alicia Keys- Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart

21.


B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams- Airplanes

22.


Mike Posner- Cooler than me

23.


Jack Parow- Cooler As Ekke

24.


Kelly Rowland- Commander

25.


Drake- Find Your Love

26.


Rihanna- Only Girl In The World

27.


Lady Gaga- Bad Romance

28.


Civil Twilight- Letters From The Sky

29.


Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP- We No Speak Americano

30.


Cee Lo Green- Forget You

31.


Ke$ha- We R Who We R

32.


Far East Movement- Like A G6

33.


Pink- Raise Your Glass

34.


Krazy White Boy- Love You Better

35.


Willow Smith- Whip My Hair

36.


Liquideep- Alone

37.


Jozi- Get The Party Jumpin’

38.


Jason Derulo- In My Head

39.


Goldfish- Get Busy Living

40.


Thirty Seconds To Mars- Hurricane

And there you have it. The JVB Top 40 for 2010! Hope u enjoyed… let’s do it again next year- and we’ll vodcast it next time too!

Stand Up, Lead SA

A friend of mine and I were recently talking about the amazing feeling, the vibe; the sense of pride and the overwhelming emotions we were filled with in the build up to and during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We showed the world that we have the ability, the drive and passion to host the biggest event in world sport. You know that cheesy line, “I was there” that we kept hearing? Well I was and as cheesy as it was/ is I still get goosebumps thinking about it. The stadia were beautiful, the soccer so exciting- and this all coming from someone who wasn’t a big soccer fan in the first place. I loved the world cup, but more importantly I grew to love my country and its people even more then what I did before. See the video below just to get a brief idea of what I mean..

So with all of that in mind, we were discussing a way forward. We quizzed each other about how we keep that feeling going? How do we keep that passion? That common love and pride we all had? How do we keep the gees; the flags, the beanies… the whole lot? How did we keep a small minority from destroying that feeling by senselessly attacking foreign nationals in the threatening xenophobic attacks? We were a bit dumbstruck; at a loss, but we decided it needed to come from us first. So we started by dedicating 67 minutes of our time for Nelson Mandela Day. Was that enough? Of course not, but it’s a start! Then when I woke up this morning, my radio was tuned into Talk Radio 702 and it was then that I first heard about Lead SA- an initiative set up by Primedia Broadcastings and Independent Newspapers. In short, it’s be the change you want to see- they’ve hit the nail on the head. Lead SA was exactly what all of us were thinking, but didn’t know how to verbalise. Now it’s time to do it. What will you do? What will I do? Time to stop bitching and moaning, it’s time to change. Let’s go.

Check out the full press release below:
Continue reading “Stand Up, Lead SA”

Lira and Soweto Spiritual Singers tribute to Nelson Mandela

FIFA World Cup closing ceremony


Check out some of the amazing pictures from last night’s FIFA World Cup Closing Ceremony here. I thought Shakira and Freshlyground did an amazing Waka Waka; I though the ‘Everywhere you go’ track by several top African artists was okay. I was a bit shocked that Kelly Rowland wasn’t there. I know she’s busy getting her new material out there, but seriously you can’t ask for a bigger platform then this. So I feel she lost out. As for the 3D technology? Well. That was simply magnificent. It kept the themes and cultures associated with Africa, but modernised it in such a way so as to prove to the rest of the world (and the haters) that this continent is special, splendid and world class.


Besides the fireworks at the end of the game, which saw Spain winning the World Cup for the first time, the highlight for me was seeing our former president, Nelson Mandela riding across the field. From his golf cart, the almost 92-year-old living legend waved and in a sense blessed this momentous occasion. I was at the official fan park in Sandton, Johannesburg and let me tell you as soon as the 35 000 + crowd saw him, everyone jumped to their feet to honour his presence; clapping and cheering loudly. I will shamelessly admit that I was so moved when I saw him that I had many a tear in my eyes! His blessing, his presence. Wow. Such an wonderful, good and wise spirit.

Well done to South Africa and its citizens for hosting this event in true style. To Danny Jordaan and the rest of the Local Organising Committee; to Sepp Blatter and his FIFA team; to the media and to all our foreign guests: Well done and congratulations. This is a once in a lifetime event that I will hold close to my heart for a very long time. Blessed, humbled and thankful to be able to say, I was there!

Hup Holland Hup

It’s come to this… A Netherlands versus Spain final in the FIFA World Cup. I can’t believe it’s almost over, but I think the two teams in the final are both deserving and either way, this is history! If I have to choose though, I’m going with Holland. I hope they win. Their fans have been amazing, met some really cool Dutch people; they’re festive and fun! Hup Holland Hup!

UPDATE: Paul the ‘Psychic’ octopus has made his decision and he’s going with Spain to win and Germany to triumph over Uruguay in tomorrow’s match. Let’s wait and see.