March 8, 2017

ingoma yomzabalazo

Filed under: Mbe Mbhele — ABRAXAS @ 9:37 pm


January 21, 2017

ingoma yomzabalazo

Filed under: Mbe Mbhele,music,music and exile symposium,stephanus muller — ABRAXAS @ 10:26 pm


The Song As Struggle and Resistance Caucus, is a Black Thought Symposium initiative. The initiative seeks to find ways to speak about what song means to black people in the struggle and how it can or has been used as a method of resistance. The caucus is interested in creating a dialogue between artists on the role of black acoustic practices in the struggle. This is to say, the caucus wants to create a community of practitioners who will interpret, archive and convey the struggle songs in the black experience. At its core the caucus seeks to find ways and vocabularies to stress the vitality of art negre in the de-colonial project.

The collaboration will take the form of three day events around Western Cape. The events will be hosted in universities and townships such that we are able to reach and accommodate as many people as we can in the dialogue.

15 February 2017
Discussion: The Role of Song in Struggle and as Struggle.
Venue: UCT
Time: 15h00
Description: The discussion will be a reflective one between Black Thought Symposium and the Rhodes Must Fall comrades on how they used song to struggle and what song meant for them throughout the protests. The discussion will be punctuated by performances from both BLKThought Music and Iphupho l’ka Biko. The performances will be followed by another conversation that will happen in the form an exchange of struggle songs where comrades of Rhodes Must Fall/ Fees Must Fall will share the songs that have touched them the most and vice versa.

16 February 2017
Symposium: Reflections on the Bana(abi)lity of Song in Struggle
Venue: Stellenbosch
Time: 15h00
Description: The symposium will be separated in two parts. The first part will be a feedback by Black Thought Symposium of the discussion on the bana(abi)lity of song. The feedback will include readings of some of the ideas that were presented at the symposium. The second part will be a conversation on how we can think more critically about songs and their animative power in the struggle.

Visit: Conversation and Performances at the PASS on ‘Song as Struggle and Resistance’
Venue: Pan-African Space Station
Time: 19h30

17 February 2017
Township Tour: Busking and Improvisation
Venue: Khayelitsha
Time: 16h00
Description: The purpose of this tour is to try and get a feel of what people who are not necessarily located in the university space think about struggle. We will go to specific locations in the township and have performances that will be followed by a conversation between the artists and the audience.

December 7, 2016

Filed under: Mbe Mbhele — ABRAXAS @ 10:00 am


May 18, 2016

an exchange with mbe mbhele

Filed under: Mbe Mbhele — ABRAXAS @ 5:41 pm


March 7, 2016

MBE MBHELE in de colon i sing wits

Filed under: 2015 - Decolonising WITS,Mbe Mbhele — ABRAXAS @ 4:53 pm

photo by gillian schutte (media for justice)

March 5, 2016

black thought

Filed under: 2015 - Decolonising WITS,Mbe Mbhele — ABRAXAS @ 12:22 pm


February 29, 2016

the thinker

Filed under: Mbe Mbhele — ABRAXAS @ 12:15 pm


January 6, 2016

Origins of SifundaNgenkani and Shiwelele by Mbe Mbhele

Filed under: 2015 - Decolonising WITS,Mbe Mbhele,politics,race — ABRAXAS @ 9:27 pm


Screen shot 2016-01-06 at 9.26.15 PM

first published here: http://witseff.tumblr.com/post/136746765589/origins-of-sifundangenkani-and-shiwelele-by-mbe

December 29, 2015

MBE MBHELE – south africa is a laughing nation

Filed under: Mbe Mbhele — ABRAXAS @ 7:49 am

I was walking across Mandela Bridge and someone was mugged right in front of me. I did not do or say anything. I just stood and watched. I waited until the criminals fled. I was not shocked, Mandela Bridge is a breeding ground for thugs. When its the end of the month even the securities get mugged.

I ran to my room and did not stop, its not true that smokers do not have stamina. Show them a gun and threaten to use it if you do not believe me. When I got to my room I told my friends about what happened. I narrated the story as if my life was the one in danger. ‘I almost died’ is how I started the conversation.

We laughed about it and it became a tale that I tell everytime we have a conversation about crime and guns. We laugh about a lot of things but never actually do anything about anything. The laughter of the President Jacob Zuma becomes a perfect metaphor for what South Africa is. A laughing nation.

December 28, 2015

curse of a black cunt – mbe mbhele

Filed under: Mbe Mbhele — ABRAXAS @ 11:16 am

One day the walls will collide. Sugar will not be sweet and water will be dry. You will realize that your mother is not the most important person and that alcohol offers more comfort than any breast you have ever sucked. You will realize that the milk that comes out between his sweaty fat thighs makes you weaker. Amen’s and Fasts will not ease the pain. Church services and therapy sessions will not stop him from making you bleed every night. You will bleed on those sheets even after he tells you that ‘tonight it will be less painful’. You will close your eyes in fear and he will force it in and the sounds of your tearing vagina will be recorded in your heart and soul. The sound will replay itself every time you see a naked man with a beard in the dark. Your husband will take you to therapists and they will tell you that you are traumatized but in actual fact you will be dead. You will die young but continue to live as a zombie. There are many zombies and most are black women, killed brutally and dishonored through history. Today he put it all in and it felt like a stab but it was not it was Rape. The highest act of violation, an act that is incomparable, not even to lynching.

The neighbours heard when she was raped. The pain made her scream. When she penetrated him she gasped and breathing has never been the same for her ever since. She was raped in poverty. She was raped in a shack with no electricity and the only thing that witnessed it was the fading flame of a dying candle. When the neighbours heard they came rushing thinking that it was a thief in the night. There were six thieves who were caught and corrected via mob justice in a single month. The residents had found their own way of dealing with criminals because the streets of squatter camps are too thin for police to arrive in time with their big and fancy cars. During a community meeting someone even suggested that the police must use motorbikes but I doubt it will happen anytime soon. You see the Police service needs the cars to see their girlfriends when it rains and sound the sirens when going to buy chicken for lunch.

I digress,

It was easy for the neighbours to get in. The door had no lock and only a brick was used to keep it closed. When they got in he was still on top of her. His pants were hugging his ankles and he was still wearing his neatly ironed police shirt and honorable police hat. With beads of sweat falling from his forehead he offered the neighbours R1000 each to keep the matter under carpet. The neighbours accepted the offer. They needed the money and rape is not taboo to them. A number of residents have been rumored to be raped before and they are still alive, some are even nurses. The neighbours did not see nor hear anything. It is typical of Rape to be spoken of only in shebeens, sobriety is afraid of Rape.

You went to school. You came back. You washed your shirt. You went to school. You came back and you were still thinking about it. Tuesday came. Friday came. June came and in July you left. You went to the shop to buy salt but you did not return home. You took the money and got in a red taxi and told the driver you are going to Johannesburg. You knew no one there but you knew that any place is better than home. You rested your head on the window of the red taxi and the smell of fear faded there further you moved away from home. You knew you would miss your blind father and your mother did not matter. Thoughts of your mother did not frequent your mind and for you mothers existed in tales, poems and songs.

Her mother left her when she was only six months old. She left her at a stranger’s door. She was disappointed because she was only getting her mother but she had already decided to exchange her for her own survival. She questioned whether her mother loved her. She concluded that her mother was selfish. She might have been wrong, she was too young to consider all the circumstances. Her father does not know where she came from. He was an already old man when he found her outside his shack and became blind a few weeks after taking her in as his own. She was taken care of by her father’s daughters and they tolerated her until she was old enough to write her name. They all died of AIDS soon after, leaving her with her blind father of whom it was now her turn to take care of.

Sindi was 14 when she slept under a bridge. Her arrival was no shock to us, the bridge has a tendency of attracting those who are running away. The bridge attracts them like moths traversing through light. I was 10 years old when it attracted me.

first published here: http://mbembhele.tumblr.com/post/134799115186/curse-of-a-black-cunt-mbe-mbhele

December 26, 2015


Filed under: Mbe Mbhele — ABRAXAS @ 9:03 pm

Everytime I have to fill an application form I am always tempted to say the following under the name section:

I am nameless. I am anonymous. The world has chosen to recognize me as an object and not as a being with subjectivity. The world sees me as something to be spoken about and not to be spoken to. A black, A worker, A thing that can be replaced and violated gratuitously. I have no name because corpses dont have names. I have no name because I have been a victim of ritual slaughter through history.

Through centuries of suffering the least that I lost was my name. How do I know my name if I dont know my culture. How do I know my name when my history has been deliberately erased and distorted. How do I know my name when I have no language to say it. These are not questions but they are answers. I dont know my name.

To avoid the rejection of my application under the Name section I write:

Mbe Mbhele.

delanguaged – Mbe Mbhele

Filed under: Mbe Mbhele — ABRAXAS @ 8:55 pm

I want to write in Zulu but I cant.

Im trying to write in English and still I cant.

I struggle to write in English because I have no cultural ties to the language. I started speaking English round about the same time I realized that stealing sugar is wrong and could be punishable. Phela no matter how much I try to bend the sentences to make them accommodate me I can never find an English word that carries the same meaning as ‘Umntakwethu’. I confess that even when I write pieces that are seemingly brilliant it is not because of artistic intentions but it is usually because I stumbled upon the words, which is to say that every ‘brilliant’ piece that I write is by chance.

I cant write in Zulu because no one wants to read Zulu. I included. I am a frequent reader of the campus newspaper and I usually read all the articles. This one week they decided to write an article in Zulu, I remember trying to read it but I could not finish the first two paragraphs. I was dissapointed in myself. This made me realize that the only thing Zulu about me is my name. I pray, think and speak English all the time. Well, it is bound to happen if you are living in a colonized country. Im a black English man

here is a poem for you

Welcome to Post-Apartheid Apartheid South Africa

where whites are still white and blacks are still wretched

where the natives are foreigners

where zebras run wild and humans are trapped in tins

shacks and ankles still in shackles

silent shackles

No Amount of Reparations Can Compensate for what Blacks have Lost. – Mbe Mbhele

Filed under: Mbe Mbhele,politics,race — ABRAXAS @ 8:45 pm


West Germany signed an agreement with Israel on September 10, 1952. The Agreement stated that West Germany has to compensate Israel for the slave labour and the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust, and to compensate Jewish property that was stolen by the Nazis. 14 years after the agreement West Germany paid Israel 3 billion marks (West Germany currency from 1948-1990).

The arrival of white people in South Africa resulted in the brutalization, oppression and extreme violation of the black people of South Africa. Blacks in South Africa were dispossessed of their land and legislation was promulgated to ensure that black people remained marginalized and excluded from the economy of the country. Black people were made secondary citizens and resistance by black people was met by violence. The Apartheid government through law was able to kill and assault black people with impunity. In 2014 black South Africans have not had any form of compensation for the crimes against blacks. Blacks must expropriate and on top of that be compensated.

He who owns the land controls the bodies on the land. In the words of Andile Mngxitama, land is everything; it gives us life and takes us back when we die. What we demand from white people is our land which was taken from us using the barrel of the gun. White people must further compensate us for continuously exploiting us and making super profits through black labour. In the past 100 years native life in South Africa has been rendered cheap and fungible. Violence is the order of the day in South Africa. Slavoj Zizek makes the case that violence is not only physical; blacks in South Africa are subjected to all forms of violence daily. Black people stay in small spaces like sardines while white people own hectares of land, they jump up and down like chimpanzees trying to fit in trains and taxis while, again, white people continue to live comfortably. It is without question that the conditions that black South Africans find themselves in are as violent as they were pre-1994 if not worse.

This leads me to the conclusion that no amount of reparations can compensate for what black people have lost since the arrival of Whites in South Africa. We therefore cannot afford to beg for reparations. Fanon’s solution makes more sense, we must pick up arms and challenge violence with violence to take what rightfully belongs to us.

Taxi Write – Mbe Mbhele

Filed under: Mbe Mbhele — ABRAXAS @ 8:38 pm

Screen shot 2015-12-26 at 8.47.18 PM

Four four, two and one, after robot are amongst the myriad numbers and words thrown around in taxi ranks.

The driver has not said anything since we departed from the taxi rank; he does not have to say anything all he wants is R120 for the trip. The taxi owner has called four times asking if he is going to deliver the R600 which is due at the end of each working day. If he does not deliver the R600 which is the minimum daily amount he will not get his R400 weekly wage. The driver has been blessed with eight kids that are relying on his weekly wage for survival. The price of petrol has recently increased and the government is hell bent on introducing the etolling system, these factors are contributing to the many problems he is facing. He really does not have to say anything.

The sister next to him is illiterate and pregnant, she is finding it extremely difficult to calculate and give change to the highly unfriendly passengers. Everyone is taking out their frustrations on her. ‘Uyitshontshile imali lo’, are words being thrown at her, her eyes are teary. She fails to contain it so she screams from the top of her lungs. She has been pregnant for 9 months and her water just broke, maternity leave is foreign to her. The Somalian who employed her would not have hesitated to find a replacement should she miss a single day at work. The driver has to stop the taxi; he did not utter a single word.

Corner bree and troy an old lady, presumably, in her mid-60’s yells at the driver. She struggles to lift the seat and fails to open the door, by her posture and the jerking movement of her hands, a lawyer could easily diagnose her with osteoporosis or arthritis. She could not afford to stay at home and enjoy her pension fund. The fund alone would be insufficient to maintain her grandsons which she inherited from her daughters who died because of Aids.

One thing I could not help but notice while witnessing all of this was that everyone in the taxi was black. Out of bitterness I thought, white people are probably driving down M1 south or passing a drive through at Wimpy to indulge in a café latte just before work. While the black child is subjected to a taxi full of holes in the middle of winter, white people are sitting comfortably in their heated cars. Our parents continue to jump up and down like chimpanzees in Phefeni train station going to a job that pays a minimum wage.

Although apartheid no longer exists as the government’s policy, apartheid continues to express its self in social institutions and structures. Majority of black people are still subjected to oppression. We must never cease our black consciousness, we remain marginalized. The ideas of Steve Bantu Biko are still relevant.

Mbe Mbhele

November 28, 2015

Filed under: Mbe Mbhele,registered — ABRAXAS @ 4:25 pm


August 23, 2015

mbe mbhele on sophiatown

Filed under: Mbe Mbhele — ABRAXAS @ 4:30 pm

Screen shot 2015-08-23 at 4.29.16 PM

August 21, 2015

mbe mbhele on marikana

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first published here: http://otlmedia.co.za/2015/08/nothing-new-about-marikana/

July 26, 2015

mbe mbhele is decolonising wits

Filed under: 2015 - Decolonising WITS,Mbe Mbhele — ABRAXAS @ 2:44 am

July 2, 2015

mbe mbhele, wits university, august 2014

Filed under: 2015 - Decolonising WITS,kagaportraits,Mbe Mbhele — ABRAXAS @ 12:35 pm

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