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.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Home Is In N.U 6

"My home is in N.U 6. I want a better house but apart from that I don't wanna go anywhere else. I just want a better house!" 

Sometimes one sentence says enough. It says all there is to say.

When we started publishing the Mdantsane Way as a blog we thought initially of something like a " visual feast". It was not our intention to create a magazine that talks about who stole how much money and which organisations have corrupted government money the most.
Instead we wanted to leave a very strong visual impact for the readers inside and outside of South Africa by publishing images through which they can recognize their township. The Mdantsane Way was created as a site for seeing all the beautiful and interesting places and spots of Mdantsane live online. And our focus is on good and empowering stories.

Our archive has grown so much, that we will not run out of pictures for the next 5 years! And if we continue working as we do, we will achieve our goal of becoming the most extensive online photography documenatary and publication of Mdantsane ever.

What one can take home from these images and the sentence that was so well said by one of the owners in N.U 6 is: there is so much love in Mdantsane! The residents have a whole lot of love for their kazi!

Traditional Xhosa Wedding Gifts In Miniature Form

Another Xhosa Tradition To Remember

It was heritage day just recently but we could not come up with a meaningful story. We were looking for a story, that is not repetitive of all the other stories. But now we have one, that we think is worth telling. 
On the African continent many people of all sorts of skin-colors, nationalities and convictions are busy trying to preserve traditional African culture. Look around, you can see them everywhere! Many of them are not even affiliated with the so so callled International Development Agencies or Organisations. 

They do this because they believe in a common cause. They are passionate and they believe in an African identity, that differs from region to region, but that nevertheless is distinct and unique.
Each tradition in each country of the African continent, be it a specific language, a poem, clothing, jewelry, song, the way an item is made or anything else, that is preserved, kept alive or remembered contributes to the great African identity, that must not be lost.

It is not easy to preserve African culture and traditions because in most African countries American influences swamp out many traditions and beliefs. The irony is that American culture is readily accepted by the younger generation in Africa, while Afro Americans are on a quest to discover their African roots. 
So it is a fiery topic. 

A great percentage of the inhabitants of Mdantsane are of a Xhosa origin. Most families have relatives in the Transkei. But what is Xhosa culture and how can one preserve it? It is so manifold and rich! Which traditions can be left behind and which ones have to be remembered and preserved.

One lady has done a lot of thinking and a great job in this regard.
Annegret Mostert has created a symbolic XHOSA wedding gift. Annegret has had produced the traditional Xhosa wedding gifts in miniature form, assembled them as a picture, elegantly framed under glass
When given to a young couple on their wedding day, this gift serves as a reminder how this day was celebrated traditionally.

Annegret Mostert, was born in Africa and has worked most of her life as an occupational therapist with people with disabilities. Listening to her is like opening a treasure chest of knowledge. 
She has worked many years for REHAB, the non-profit organisation, that we have introduced in an earlier article as a consultant. Her great passion is the preservation of traditional African cultures and African craftsman's techniques such as basketry. And as such she also focused her efforts on the Xhosa culture. 

She spent years working with women's organisations in the Transkei. And she has created a very unique wedding gift, that can remind the younger generations of the traditions of their parents.


In an interview Annegret said: " This gift is for the people who come originally from the Transkei but who have moved to Johannesburg or other parts of South Africa. With time the younger generations loose their connection to the Xhosa culture"

With the framed picture comes an exact description, where, why and how it was created. The production of this wedding installation picture helps women in the rural areas to get additional income.

So, if you know someone who is getting married, give it a thought because by giving this gift to a couple you start a whole process of remembrance and preservation, thereby enabling the ones who have stayed in the rural areas to also live a little bit a better life. 

This was my Sunday morning Sermon to you ! We wish you all a happy and blessed Sunday with your families and loved ones.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Siseko Says

SiIseko Tose Tose Says

I met a while ago this fella, called Siseko Tose Tose. Grew up in Mdantsane. Spend a couple of years in Cape Town. Then came back to his home ground.
Siseko is indeed a very interesting guy and he has a few things to say. He does this on the African blogosphere.

One thing that can be said with certainty is that Siseko is never without his music and never ever will it happen, that you will see him without it. I can predict that. He is the kind of guy who carries a mobile home office stored in a huge backpack around. ALL the time! Enough me taking about him. Let us here now what he has to say about himself.
Siseko says about Siseko:
this [SisekoSay] is on a lighter side of things as you will figure it out as you bare witness.
i am not here to preach, front and show how intelligent [and lack of] or opinionated i am, i am on this
tip cause i can – so i will post it and you can read it / luckily there is an option for you to paste your comment about my opinion/s and frankly i dont really care if you dis-agree but if you do / hey :)
without further sounding like an uncle in a family gathering / lets do this
_remember if you say something stupid – you earn the right to be shot with a water pistol.
this blog is born on Father’s day / not on the 19th, on Father’s day – got it

That gives you an idea? Right? Intrigued? Yep, others call him fresh! Lets go and check it out.

Siseko blogs on wordpress and here is his link SISEKO SAYS

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rehab - Association For The Rehabilitation Of Persons With Disabilities

We have chosen today's story, that was written by Chido Mbambe, a journalism student at the Walter Sisulu Univesity in East London, because we have a long affiliation with the non-profit organisation REHAB. 
Rehab is not situated in Mdantsane. The NGO occupies premises in Southernwood, but the importance of its work for the whole of the Eastern Cape can not be overlooked. Rehab does a lot of work in Mdantsane. There is a programme that looks after disabled people at their own homes in Mdantsane and busses used to travel to the township to fetch children with diasbilities and bring them to the Rehab creche in Southerwood for occupational therapy.There is no other facility in the Eastern Cape like Rehab. 

The health and the samity of a society is also marked by the existence or absence of social structures and institutions that cater for the disadvantaged and people with diabilities.We have recently spoken about the plight of old people in South Africa. What does it say about our society that there are so few institutions that cater for the old and the disabled in South Africa, South Africa beeing one of the richest countries on the African continent. 
We can afford it but we do not want  to afford it ! Here is Chido's Story.

REHAB by Chido Mbambe

Local companies are offering learnerships to the disabled who are part of Rehab’s database. Mercedes Benz recently took 26 clients, First National Battery and VW Uitenhage took 10 each and the Department of Health took 11 clients for learnerships.

This gives Rehab’s clients hope for better living. Occupational therapist, Mrs Judith Dirks said: “They actually make for good employees because they will guard their jobs.”
Rehab is the Association for the Rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. The non-profit organisation was formed 14 years ago as a support structure to the disabled. The associations for mental health, the physically disabled and the blind all merged to form one society.

Rehab is the only facility of its type in the Eastern Cape. Their head office is in Southernwood, East London, and another office is in Butterworth.
It serves as a resource centre to the disabled community. The resource centre hosts various workshops, counselling and support groups, fundraising and employment opportunities to assist the disabled gain confidence and independence.

Tony Moore works in the Pick ‘n Pay control room. He started as a volunteer at Rehab fixing wheelchairs.

Employment in the workplace is one of their key focuses as accommodating the disabled will break down stigmas in society. Many face attitudinal, social, financial and environmental barriers within their communities.

The learnership programmes open doors for Rehab’s clients. Not only are these learnerships a learning curve for the disabled, but they provide exposure, experience and training.

Mrs Dirks said: “Learnerships are advantageous as they cater for more people. They create more employment opportunities as companies take big groups at a time.”

The job preparedness and work assessment workshop Rehab recently held was one of their many successful information sharing workshops. This workshop had disabled persons who had just completed learnerships share their experiences of the working world with others.

An ex-Rehab volunteer, Mr Tony Moore, works in the Pick ‘n Pay control room. He has been part of the Vincent Park Pick ‘n Pay family for four years. He started as a volunteer at Rehab fixing wheelchairs.
Although in a wheelchair, he is a skilled carpenter, but has now also developed the necessary skills required in the CCTV control room. When asked about the work he does he commented: “I’m enjoying it, but actually I’m looking for something more challenging, I’ve got it now.” 

Story and Image by Chido Mbambe/journalism student at the Walter Sisulu University, East London

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Graffiti is Art - And Art Is Ever Changing in Mdantsane

Graffiti is Art!
The Everchanging Art of Mdantsane!

Art is perishable in Mdantsane
In Mdantsane we find a phenomena, a natural phenomena, that artists in Europe try to achieve intentionally. Perishable art, art that vanishes and art that dissolves or is destroyed again. In the west installations are set up with great effort in public spaces or in nature, only to be taken over by natural forces or to be destroyed deliberately. The process of destruction is watched by many. It is a process, that shows that art is perishable, a creation of the mind and as such it represents the state of the mind at a given point. 

Art is ever changing in Mdantsane

We have come to this place several times, a deserted trading complex in N.U 5 that is merely a ruin now. Each time the graffiti and art on the walls have changed. I can not deny that sometimes this has left me in an emotional state - because I came back to see a certain painting but instead I found another one.

Art is loud.....to be heard

Not a second do we think that these walls have been vandalised. They have been beautified.

Art is Ever Changing in Mdantsane and it is public.
Art is verbal and loud in Mdantsane

Wrap It Like An African Gal - Cornelia's Creations

It's fashion time today. We are simply crazy about head wraps, turbans, bandannas and head scarfs. And as no one can dance like us Africans, no one can wrap it up like an African gal. We have asked a genuine Eastern Cape gal to wrap it one more time for us. And what a job she did this time!!!

If you use the African Wax or if you use our traditional ShweShwe - the rule is it has to be big!

We can say in all honesty that these creations have created a genuine admiration and a tiny little bit of jealousy from the European sisters lately. We received an email from an American gal asking us how she could learn to wrap it like our Eastern Cape Gal.  

So now we are preparing ourselves to shot a small movie, a sort of teaching instruction for the European sisters  how to wrap it.

Stay tuned, this is gonna be fun !

Monday, September 24, 2012

Do It Yourself

Women are doing it for themselves! Well not everything, but more things lately!
Seen in N.U 6

Pink Blossom In Mdantsane


Spring in Mdantsane comes with a lot of pink.

Here are some pink moments from N.U.6

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mdantsane Breathing

Amitabh Mitra is a Medical Doctor in the busy hospital Cecilia Makiwane in Mdantsane. He is also a poet and a painter. I have come across his website by pure coincidence and learned that he has written a poetry book about Mdantsane entitled "Mdantsane Breathing".

A widely published poet in the web and print, Amitabh has been hailed as one of the most popular South African poet writing in English today by the Skyline Literary Review, New York.

Amitabh, now settled in South Africa, uses his experience of social interaction and cultural impact from countries like India, Bhutan and Zimbabwe where he worked under varying conditions, in his art and poetry

His first book of poems Ritual Silences was published in 1980. Ten of his most admired love poems are available, with a background of indigenous African music, on CD: A Slow Train to Gwalior, from Harp Records, South Africa. 

Mdantsane Breathing by Amitabh Mitra

Amitabh has a blog as well where you can find his latest artwork and poetry.

We find his poems and his artwork of great intensity and that is why we would like to share this with you.


 on the road to makiwane
grows thoughts
many upheavals of
in larceny
quick and sharp incisions
each bereaving the other
a country rode to democracy
nights swept over this road
in disharmony of conjugal skies
wild grass in abandon
seeks a river
a white morning
seems at time
standing at its edge

Acrylic on Canvas by Amitabh Mitra
 ( originally posted on his blog South African poetry and art of Amitabh Mitra  on 24th of April 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Getting Your Soul Clapped in Mdantsane

We have the pleasure to present to you today an article written by second year journalism student Tukute Philasande. The Department of Media Studies of the Walter Sisulu Univesity in East London sends us from time to time articles, that are written by second year journalism students. 
"Soul Clap" fits perfectly the profile of our online maganzine and in our endeavour to promote and expose young talent in the Mdantsane we are publishing it today. 


Soul Clap sessions are a free entry fortnightly event on Wednesdays at Endaweni Lounge in Mdantsane NU6, which provide local artists with the much needed exposure.

The sessions were started by poet Thandeka Vabaza also known as Nkqo in 2010 to provide local poets, hip-hop and soul artists with a platform to show their talents while familiarising them with performing in front of an audience.

“The sessions are a platform where we encourage local artist to perform for their respective communities,” said Vabaza.
Sessions start at 8 pm and there are always headlining national acts such as My Man, Moonchild, and Ohayv, which inspire the local artists to believe that their dreams can also come true.
“I started the movement because of lack of understanding from our community as to what art is,” said Vabaza.
Among the artists who perform is Slulami Slujah Bunu, a member of Capital Effect, a soulful hip hop group from Mdantsane, and a solo act.
Slujah said: “The sessions have helped me grow musically and bond with my listeners.” They help artists to express themselves. “It’s live more than anything because you get criticised constructively.”
Xabiso Gqirana owner of Endaweni Lounge said that the venue has a capacity for about 80 people.

Slujah believes that there is room for improvement as “there is little space”. He suggested that a bigger venue is needed to accommodate more people as he believes still more people would like to come.
Akhona Mshiywa, a regular spectator, said: “The chemistry between people and the feel of performances are what drive me to attend the sessions.

Soul Clap sessions are proving to be a success unlike the sessions that were there before them which have ceased to exist.

According to Mshiywa discovering more poets is what brings more popularity to the sessions.Vabaza started the sessions with a clear vision in mind of what he wants to achieve. “I want to see sustainability in Eastern Cape artists,” he concluded. 

Article and Images by a 2nd year Walter Sisulu University journalism student Tukute Philasande /WSU

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How To Improve Your Livelihood The Old Fashioned Way

There goes the saying: " Good advice is rare. Or: "Good advice is hard to find."
By this we mean really good advice, advice that is tailored to your needs and that helps you. It is hard to find when life is good and seems to run smooth. But in times of hardship good advice is even more complicated to find. 
We do have times of hardship now because if we believe what the statistics tell us, then only every fourth person out of ten people is employed in South Africa. So what are the other six doing? And the families of the other six. If we think about this, we understand the pressure that rests on the four out of the ten who have jobs because you are never alone in life. There are the ones around you who need you.  

In hard times many look back to the lessons of the past. How others have done it before us.They have chosen a simple but laborious formula. If food gets to expensive and you can not afford to buy it anymore in the shops then it is the time to start planting a garden.

Driving through the sections of Mdantsane you can see kitchen gardens sprout everywhere.

The ground appears to be hard but people work on it hard. Improvised irrigation systems with empty plastic bottles are created.

And after a couple of weeks, spinach, cabbage and carrots land on the table. It works. And most of it has been organically grown.


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