Friday, April 29, 2016

Red Song ... Keorapetse Kgositsile

"Poetry has been an integral part of the struggle. Nineteen-ninety-four was not the end of the struggle. Human existence on this planet is a struggle and might always be. And perhaps without that life might have been ridiculously boring and not worth living," says Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile on the iStart2 Show. 

Born in 1938, Keorapetse ‘Willie’ Kgositsile left South Africa in 1961 and lived in exile in the United States and returned to South Africa in 1990. The recipient of many poetry awards; amongst others, inaugurated as the South African Poet Laureate and the National Order of Ikhamanga Silver (OIS) for excellent achievements in the field of literature.

Keorapetse Kgositsile asks some pertinent questions: "Do we have the material basis for transformation? Is there a capitalist society anywhere on this planet with a human face? Why don't we have arts and culture as part of the curriculum of the education system?" He believes that the responsibility for creating a sustainable world lies in accepting that this responsibility belongs to all of us. "South African literature does not need me as much as I need it. We must do what we do with humility and respect. I am just a contributor to an ongoing process"

Thank you to our icon of South African poetry for sharing his story, for reciting his poem Red Song in his own voice and for sharing his wisdom and advice on creating a sustainable world through the arts.

To listen to the full interview and Vusi Mahlasela's rendition of Red Song, just click play below:

Thought of the Day:

Video of the week:

Vusi Mahlasela's Red Song from the poem by Keorapetse Kgositsile:

Hope you've had an inspiring Freedom Day this week! We wish you a restful Worker's Day and a safe long weekend ahead! Have fun!

- The iStart2 Team

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Making Magic On the Mountain - 23 April 2016

This is a fable which tells the story of an imaginary tribe living on Magic Mountain in a land of milk and honey. The tribe faced several challenges in our quest to acquire the magical diamonds at the top of the mountain.

It all happened one Saturday night when the moon was full. The tribe decided to gather their community and started talking and singing about the issues affecting their beautiful land ... 

It was very unfortunate that some skerminkels have infiltrated their beautiful land and were taking big bites out of the food source. 

The elders in the community shared tales of a long forgotten time when tribe members lived close to nature, when food was in abundance, when people cared about each other and lived in peace with one another ... 

It was a joyous evening full of fun and laughter. Ancient sounds of a long forgotten time connected our souls as we listened to the stories and music of the past and the future. 

The tribe realized that when we focus on creating a sustainable world, when we let it sing from every village and every town, from every city and every country, that we will then be able to join hands and leave sustainable footprints for our children. 

Is this what the crack in the universe is all about? 

Thank you to everyone who played their part in making this evening such a memorable experience.

We love you all and it was wonderful working together.
Let's get to the diamonds at the top of the mountain.

iStart2Sing from the mountain side ...

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Past meets the Future ... Coenie de Villiers

Coenie de Villiers, renowned South African singer and songwriter joined us on the iStart2 Radio Show this week. We chatted about his future, sustainability of artists and the upcoming show in Centurion this weekend. Pops Mohamed also popped in to share information on a special guest who will be performing at the show.

The full interview is on the podcast down below, but here are some short highlights of our discussion with Coenie. He shares his views on:

The Horizon:
"I get up in the morning and say: What does the universe have to offer?"

Our Biggest challenge:
"We are not listening to each other".


"I would like to do anything that I could to create a South Africa where we see fellow South Africans and respect them"

Indigenous Music:
"I listen to an immense amount of indigenous and African music and Pops's work which I respect very deeply.
It touches me. Pops really is an idol for me. Very excited and a little bit nervous about working with Pops. If we can move the world as artists we can create a better world for all of us. No judgement!"

A message to our leadership:
"It would be incredible to see more opportunity for musicians across the board. Invest money in projects that show the rest of South Africa that we love each other and love working together".

"Creating art and doing what you believe you should be doing is a steep order. The big challenge for artists is to create decent stuff".

"I often think that musicians can teach the lessons the politicians fail to show. Musicians and artists and writers can unite people by creating great works that make people listen and learn and not judge." 

A message to our people:
"Support local art. Support live shows. Go to the show that we are going to have.
Listen a little bit outside your comfort zone. It's an opportuntiy people should grab. There's amazing stuff and people waiting to be discovered."

The iStart2 Show this weekend:
"It is a show about music, warmth, humanity ... and about creating a better world for all of us. I really hope people come and it's a fantastic opportunity to hear new musicians.
It's going to be so special. You will hear artists you have never heard before."

Come and smell the catbush, the kambro ... listen to the kora, kalimba and mouthbow .... see something unique ... hear the sounds of the Kalahari ... experience the past and meet the future!

To listen to the full interview with Coenie, just click play below:

Thought of the Day: (Coenie's favourite quote)

A unique experience awaits you in Centurion! Join us on our journey to create a more sustainable South Africa.

Book tickets for the show here

Friday, April 15, 2016

This way we salute you ... Keorapetse Kgositsile

Born in 1938, Keorapetse ‘Willie’ Kgositsile left South Africa in 1961 and lived in exile in the United States and returned to South Africa in 1990. The recipient of many poetry awards; amongst others, inaugurated as the South African Poet Laureate in 2006 by the South African Literary Awards and the National Order of Ikhamanga Silver (OIS) for excellent achievements in the field of literature.  "To be recognised at home meant a lot," says Kgositsile.

"I have neither wings like a bird or a plane but believe me I can fly"
- Keorapetse Kgositsile

Prof Kgositsile has also studied and taught Literature and Creative Writing at a number of universities in the United States and in Africa and used these exceptional talents to expose the evils of the system of apartheid to the world.
Kgositsile’s poetry ranges from the unambiguously political and public to the lyric and confessional. In addition to his unique poetic voice, he is also a gifted teacher. Among his publications is an excellent book on teaching the craft of poetry – not the ‘what’ but the ‘how’.

A strong feature of his work is the recognition and celebration of his influences, his friendships with other artists and, in particular, his deep love of blues and jazz. His poetry scintillates and throbs with quotations from songs, references to music and, most importantly, to musicians themselves.

We chat to Keorapetse about his life in exile, his view on the sustainability of the arts and he also offers his wisdom to young artists.

To listen to the show just click play:

Thought of the Day:

Join us for a delightful evening in Centurion:

Book today at

(Reference: Poetry International Rotterdam)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Delightful Evening in Centurion: 23 April 2016 @20h00

When we focus on creating a sustainable world, when we let it sing from every village and every town, from every city and every country, we will be able to join hands and leave sustainable footprints for our children” 
- Pops Mohamed, Arts Director of iStart2.

Join us in celebrating the power of some of South Africa’s most important musical icons in a showcase of the magic that happens when musicians with seemingly different cultural backgrounds take hands to create and play music together. Pops Mohamed, Coenie de Villiers, Andries “Roof” Bezuidenhout, Dudu Majola and the beating drums of Sankobo Afrique are lined up to create a magical evening of beautiful music on Saturday 23rd April 2016.

Acclaimed musician and producer, Pops Mohamed, has been playing, protecting, and nurturing traditional ways of making music in South Africa for the last 30 to 40 years. Mohamed sees his commitment to preserving traditions as “futuristic”. He explains this view: “It’s the same as if you’re having a problem with your hard drive. If we don’t back up things, we lose them. It’s the same with culture. If you don’t know where you’re coming from, you’ll never know where you’re going to".

Coenie de Villiers is known as the foremost writer/performer in Afrikaans, and has won numerous awards for his music including two SAMA awards for musical excellence. He is universally acknowledged as one of the most challenging and original singer/songwriters in South Africa.

Poet and musician Andries "Roof" Bezuidenhout explores matters of identity and belonging against the backdrop of changing South African landscapes. Bezuidenhout is looking forward — "... too much a part of this country to quit…” Fred de Vries describes Andries’s songs as having “a bleak, almost tinny sound… that tell tales of leaving, murder and ecological disaster. Discomforting tunes for an uncertain age, but always with a touch of humour.”

Dudu Majola

Dudu Majola, a young artist from Soweto released her first single, Nitshayelwa Nyimani recently and it features on the iStart2Sing Album. Dudu wrote the lyrics and performs it with composer Pops Mohamed. Sankobo Afrique, a drumming trio that forms part of the famous Amandla Cultural Ensemble, mesmerizes audiences with their haunting performances.



!Gubi Tietie, 87 year old Shaman and musician from Namibia will be performing the mystical sounds from the Kalahari ... unique in the world ... an experience you will never forget!

iStart2Sing (from the Mountain Side) is a unique indigenous musical experience that will fill your senses with ancient and indigenous sounds from Southern Africa; immerse yourself in the exquisite sounds of the kora, the mouth bow and the marimba. Challenge your senses with these extraordinary collaborations, never heard before.

Artists, organisations, charities, the media, the disabled community, and anyone who is serious about creating a sustainable world for all who live in it are invited to unite, join hands and celebrate the soul of Africa, in what promises to be a remarkable event. All are welcome.

The iStart2Sing Event is a collaboration between the iStart2 Foundation, iStart2Global and the Artists. It takes place on 23 April 2016 at the iStart2 Hub in Centurion from 20h00 to 22h00. Tickets cost R150 per person and can be purchased from or cash at the venue on the day.