/ 26 September 2016

#CulturePop: A weekend of taking losses — Nzimande, Mandoza, Brangelina and AKA

Rapper AKA
Rapper AKA

It appears that on the first anniversary of the #FeesMustFall movement, the minister of higher education has misplaced our very recent history somewhere in his memory.

Last week, tertiary education institutions across the country came to a standstill over the issue of fees and free education.

This is a headline we have absorbed ad nauseam since last year. At its root, #FeesMustFall is a call by a struggling majority for free education as was promised in the Freedom Charter.

We know that it is in the MO of ANC leaders to not fully address problems. Blade Nzimande did say there’d be funds for the financially needy and the “missing middle” students and they wouldn’t be affected by a fee rise of a maximum of 8%. But we are all asking ourselves how the minister can come back, after all the trauma and work of #FeesMustFall 2015/2016, with a fee increase?

Did he fool the students or is he preparing taxpayers for an announcement?

Some argue that the money is there and that government should do us a solid and cut out useless spending and corruption. Perhaps we aren’t behind the scenes enough to see the bigger picture.

Then we were told that Brad Pitt also lied. Rumours are that he cheated on Angelina Jolie, smoked dope and verbally abused one of his children. Divorce papers had already been filed and the tale of the perfect, impregnable Hollywood couple was as good as the myth we knew it was!

Brangelina wasn’t like the others, fans moaned. They had star quality. I don’t quite know what it means to say that Pitt and Jolie were “meant to be” but they certainly had a presence. Whether on the red carpet or saving people in areas of human crisis.

They’d been together for 10 years and married for two. I can’t believe it’s over.

Mandoza’s was another ending that caught us in a rapture of nostalgia. From quoting his many no-nonsense messages all over Facebook to reigniting a wave of deep affection for the “hood” that raised us — to finally, howling at the moon in the night sky with cries of “another brother, gone too soon”.

The send-off was fit for a kwaito star, if ever I’d witnessed one.

The hall of fame was set alight with an exhaustive list of industry greats, including Mdu Masilela, Oskido, Trompies, Mageu and Doc Shebeleza. A rare sighting of the OGs as they walked us down memory lane — anthem after anthem — in honour of the culture that cultivated Mandoza. If I didn’t know I’d swear it was a concert. A celebration. And why not?

For every funeral there is an awkward uncle and I couldn’t decide on who to pick between the SABC’s Hlaudi Motsoeneng indulging in his own crass politics or Mzwakhe Mbuli’s jarring MC’ing? The people’s poet could’ve been better rehearsed.

But at the gravesite there was a moment to behold. A carefree expression of love. Black love. I have nothing against it.

Ironically, it was AKA who rounded off the weekend with some self-care, or rather what some on Twitter saw as cowardice.

An altercation between Black Coffee and one of AKA’s managers escalated and the SuperMega took it to the mean Twitter streets, later threatening that he and the DJ should meet in the street and duke it out.

Black Coffee, up for a challenge, set a time and a location.

After thinking about it, the Composure rapper decided to opt out and maturely accept defeat and, in his own words, “take the L”.

Without condoning violence, how does it bode for a loud-mouth rapper such as AKA, who has built his rep on being a hell-raiser and agitator, to spark something, only to cower?

But then I am reminded of the importance of having haters in the hip-hop game, and maybe we shouldn’t hold it against some people for finding every opportunity possible to create conflict around themselves as strategy to remain on the tip of our tongues.

That said, I am eternally undecided by AKA. He’s a good artist and good at being mean.