Mdantsane is a unique, vibrating, eclectic, African place. Follow us on a pilgrimage to Mdantsane to discover the street culture, fashion, food, people, music, homes, taverns, humor, businesses, history and what's hot in the second biggest township in South-Africa, located close to the city of East London in the Province of the Eastern Cape. Join us on this journey while we capture the spirit of this amazing place for you in the here and in the now. We are going to introduce you to many individuals, artists, musicians, groups and associations.
They are the HEROES OF DAILY LIFE. They are the people who create, innovate and improve their life and their stories deserve to be told. This is a place for only good and positive stories of humanity, that will send out a message of courage, endurance and strength to the world through their pictures and words.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Scenes From Shai Road In NU 1

For a long time I wanted to take pictures of this building in Shai road in NU 1 where many small business owners operate from. I have never been to Zimi's internet cafe, so I don't know if it is up and going but there are a lot of other sevices and and products on offer. I have a passion for small and informal businesses. I like informal.

Gates, exhausts and of course ..


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Interview with Ernest Mtandeki - the man who became the first Black Mr. South Africa in 1975

This is the first part of a long conversation that I had with Ernest Mtandeki, the man I met in a store in Buffalo Street, where he works as a security guard. He is the man who became the first Black Mr. South Africa in history in 1975. But his story has never been told.
In this interview he shares his memories and thoughts about his childhood without a father, training in a shack next to the post office where he worked to achieve his goal to become a World Class body builder, drugs in sport, women and fame and on being a black athlete under the Apartheid Government.

His career was ended dramatically through an accident that left him with serious injuries and both legs broken in several places.
But Ernest say; " I am happy now, I am a happy man, cause all the things that I could wish for, I got them, So I can wait for the time until they dig me down"

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Qumza Highway - The Power of Light

Qumza Highway is the main road that leads through Mdantsane from East London city centre to an industrial area at the end, Fort Jackson.

If you take the right turn - off you will find it !

Turn again and you are on it.

Entering the suburb of Mdantsane.

In 2011, just before Buffalo City became a Metro more than 200 new, modern streetlights were installed along Qumza Highway in Mdantsane." The face of Mdantsane" was about to change.
The initiative was part of the Mdantsane Urban Renewal Project (MURP) and a budget of over 6,9 million Rand was available for the project at the time. There was however great concern how to safeguard and protect the new street lanterns with the light-fittings consisting of two 150 watt metal halide or white light lamps, allowing for minimal "upward light pollution". According to a government spokes person, the main challenge that the suburb of Mdantsane faced was vandalism with numerous attempts to steal cables that supply the poles and the lights. But the project did create jobs and two years later.......

And here they are. So Urban Renewal does take place in Mdantsane!
Or what do you think?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Show Me your Muscles - Ernest Mtandeki - The First Black Mr. South Africa

Today I am taking you back in time. I am taking you back in time 37 years, when a young man with a perfectly sculptured and incredibly beautiful body - the calendar wrote the year 1975 - was posing for a photo at the beautiful and lonely beach of Bonza Bay in East London, South Africa
The young man's name was Ernest. 
Ernest Mtandeki was the first ever black Mr. SOUTH AFRICA in history. The history books were open at Chapter Apartheid in 1975. And here was Ernest.

Not only was he the first black Mr. South Africa, but he was crowned by the god of all bodybuilders in Johannesburg, the then Mr Universe, now governor of California Mr.Arrnold Schwarzenegger. 
Ernest came from the township of Mdantsane.
And he still lives there today in NU 10.

"This was me at my prime", he says, while handing me a black and white photograph in a frame under glass,that he carefully had unwrapped first from several layers of newspaper
 "When I look at it now, I want to cry, he says.  I will never be were I was then. I am here now." 

"The pose is in the picture is for the upper arms only, he explains, but I had wanted my whole body shown, so I can memorize this moment."

I have met Ernest today on his 64th.birthday. He works in a store in Buffalo Street and takes care of the security of the shop. He has brought cake for all the employees and his boss.

It was my intention originally to take the picture out of the frame and to scan it. But when holding the photo I felt it should not be removed. So I just took some pictures of it. 

I suddenly realize that all the ladies from the shop, with olive colored, white colored, caramel colored, and black colored skin (the colors are not cited in any particular order), ranging from age 15 to 69 years and older are bending over the counter, where Ernest has placed the picture.
Most of us are studying intensely the part of his body above his waistline.
There is also the occasional sigh!

" Oh my" says then the mother of the Ernest's boss," if I had seen you that day on the beach, my dear Ernest.....

The story of Ernest Mtandeki will be our first short movie on The Mdantsane Tales on YouTube. If you interested what he has to tell us, stay tuned. 


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