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.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Orange Time in Mdantsane

Orange Time in Mdantsane

This is how you can get your daily dose of Vitamin C at Hi-Way in Mdantsane. Every year it is the same.....when the oranges are ripe and cheat..... the orange mountain appears!
Just the vendors are not always the same!

Friday, August 16, 2013

MALAIKA - Miriam Makeba Sings - For My Brothers And Sisters Live 1977

Here comes some more African music. We have created this video a couple of months ago and we hope that you do like it... it sort of embodies many different facets of Africa. 

The unforgettable Miriam Makeba sings the Tanzanian song "Malaika" in her own inimitable way. The track was recorded live in 1977 and is part of the vinyl LP "For My Brothers And Sisters" produced by the Black Music label. We prefer this version to any other version and we think Makeba has captured entirely the spirit of this wonderful song of East African origin singing it in English and Swahili.
When it comes to the part where she sings "I love you my angel, I said, I love you my angel" the power of her voice triggers an entire waterfall of emotions........
Yeah, it is THE MAKEBA.....

About The Song 
Malaika is a Swahili song and comes from Tanzania. 
Malaika means angel in Swahili. Like many Swahili words, it has its origin in the Arabic language. An alternative Swahili meaning is a "baby" or "small child". 
The traditional version of the song Malaika is being commonly used as a lullaby throughout East Africa. Malaika is one of the most widely known of all Swahili songs.
The authorship of this beautiful popular song is still disputed. Many attribute it to the Kenyan musician Fadhili William.  For sure is, that William was the first to record the song, together with his band the Jambo Boys, in 1960.
It was later re-recorded at Equator Sound Studios by the British-born Kenyan music promoter Charles Worrod, who marketed the ballad to eventually become an internationally acclaimed song. 
The song went on to be popularised by many international artists including Angelique Kidjo, Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba to name only a few.
The lyrics of the song differ slightly from version to version; the title itself is subject to variation, e.g. to Ewe Malaika or My Angel.

Our Kenyan friend Asha (thank you Asha) has translated the original text into English for us. Well, again it is all about love and the "lobola", the bride price a young man has to pay for his beloved and simply can not afford it.
Malaika, nakupenda Malaika
 Angel, I love you angel
Malaika, nakupenda Malaika
 Angel, I love you angel
Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio
 and I, what should I do, your young friend
Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
 I am defeated by the bride price that I don't have
Ningekuoa Malaika
 I would marry you, angel
Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
 I am defeated by the bride price that I don't have
Ningekuoa Malaika
 I would marry you, angel

Kidege, hukuwaza kidege
 Little bird, I think of you little bird
Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio
 and I, what should I do, your young friend
Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
 I am defeated by the bride price that I don't have
Ningekuoa Malaika
 I would marry you, angel
Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
 I am defeated by the bride price that I don't have
Ningekuoa, Malaika
 I would marry you, angel

Pesa zasumbua roho yangu
 The money (which I do not have) depresses my soul
Pesa zasumbua roho yangu
 the money (which I do not have) depresses my soul
Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio
 and I, what should I do, your young friend
Ningekuoa Malaika
 I would marry you, angel
Nashndwa na mali sina, we
 I am defeated by the bride price that I don't have
Ningekuoa Malaika
 I would marry you, angel

About The Images Used in The Film
The images were taken some sixty years back by the street photographer and scientist Dr. Juergen Schlichting, who was our publisher's uncle. He was the man who taught Chocolat how to see and how to take pictures. And as Chocolat says, this was the greatest gift of her life.
Schlichting traveled and photographed the African continent at a time when not many others where taking this road. He started in the late 1940's and continued until the end of his life which ended sadly at the age of 46. His images are witnesses of an Africa that is no more!
One more reason to continue with The Mdantsane Way. We know by now, that later generations will look at what we are documenting today!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Paul Xiniwe - 19th Century Political Activist, Entrepreneur And The Man Who Opened The First Hotel For Africans In King Williams Town

The Eastern Cape is full of historical surprises. 
Who was Paul Xiniwe?

Paul Xiniwe - owner of the Temperance Hotel in King Williams Town

Paul Xiniwe lived in the 19th century in the Eastern Cape. 
He was born in 1857 and died in 1902.  
Mr. Paul Xiniwe went to Lovedale in 1881 as an advanced student based on the recommendations of the Reverend Edward Solomon, of Bedford.

He had spent his youth in Bedford and had previously occupied positions on the railway as a timekeeper and later as a telegraph operator. 

In January 1881 Paul started studying at the by now famous Lovedale College. The College has produced many African leaders and later freedom fighters over the years.
In the second year of his studies Paul obtained the seventy-fourth certificate of competency at the Elementary Teachers Examination. 
He graduated from the Lovedale College like many other future leaders of South Africa and started to teach at the Edwards Memorial School in Port Elizabeth. His school was said to stand high in efficiency in the classification of schools of the district. 

But Paul was destined to be more than a teacher in his life. After some years of teaching he had saved enough money, so he could resign as a teacher. He bought properties in the cities of East London, Port Elizabeth and King Williams Town, and opened merchant stores there. In the years to come he became a prominent business man in the Cape Province. He was interested in politics, a Christian in belief and he took a very keen interest in the welfare of the African people.

In 1884 he presented a paper at the Native Educational Society, in which he stressed that the time had come for Africans to become members in Parliament.

He was a memeber of Imbumba Yama Nyama and became later a leader of the South African Native Congress.

But even more astonishing is the fact that in 1984 he opened the Temperance Hotel at Market Square in King Williams Town. It was the first hotel for Africans in the Cape Province and the double storey building was acquired at the time it cost 2000 Pounds. 
In a very short time the Temperance Hotel was known throughout the Cape Province. 

In Imvo Zabantsundu (June 3 to November 21, 1961), Z. K. Matthews noted the following observations concerning Paul Xiniwe: 

“One of the best known buildings in King William’s Town is the Temperance Hotel. For generations this hotel has been a home away from home for many thousands of Africans, who, for one reason or another have had occasion to pay a visit to King William’s Town. Some have spent a night or two there, others have had a meal or two there, while others have gone in there just to rest their feet after a round of busy shopping in the town. One wonders how many of those who have had the benefit of this place ever spare a thought of gratitude to Paul Xiniwe, who established this home for Africans many years ago. 
Like so many of his contemporaries Paul Xiniwe was educated at Lovedale where he qualified as a primary school teacher. After he left Lovedale he entered the teaching profession and taught at various schools in the Eastern Cape. 
Eventually he decided to give up teaching and to blaze a new trail for Africans in business. This he did at a time when the belief was still widely held that no African could run a business successfully. . . . But the Temperance Hotel was not merely a business place. It was a center of culture. Both Paul Xiniwe and his wife were capable musicians. In their younger days they had both been members of an African Choir which toured Europe and they always encouraged music in their home and in the district”.
(Z.K. Mathews from "Paul Xiniwe blazed new trail for Africans”, Imvo Zabantsundu, October 7, 1961).  

By the way Imvo Zabantsundu ( Native Opinion) was a newspaper published by the brilliant 24 year old John Tengo Jabavu, another lovedale graduate. He had set up his own newspaper with white and black political allies and the first issue appeared on Monday the 3 November 1884 and its appearance was a landmark occasion in the political history of South Africa, heralding the birth of an independant black press, a major step in the struggle for racial equality in the still new colonial system

The African choir who toured Europe is an amazing story in itself. 
The other members of the African choir were Johanna Jonkers, Josiah Semouse, Charlotte Manye (Maxeke). These young New Africans seem to have been inspired by the visit of the "New Negro Orpheus McAdoo and the Virginia Jubilee Singers" who visited South Africa in 1890 singing all forms of Negro Spirituals. In appropriating the Negro Spirituals, Charlotte Manye Maxeke and others were among the earliest who established a Black Atlantic connection between New Negro modernity and New African modernity (Pitzer College).

Paul Xiniwe A Man Of Great Influence And Power At His Time

Paul married Miss Ndwanya, the sister of Mr. Ndwanya, a law agent who was respected alike by the Europeans residing in the province and the "natives" at Middle-drift. 

He became the father of five children, three sons and two daughters.

Unfortunately Mr. Paul Xiniwe died at an early age leaving a widow and five children to look after themselves. 

According to the website Ancestry 24:  "Mrs. Xiniwe who, with her husband, had been to Europe as a member of the African choir, was a lady of experience, tact, character and business acumen. Difficult though it was, she maintained her late husband’s property, and carried on the business and educated her children. This lady indeed commanded the respect of all who knew her, white and black. Paul Xiniwe was a man of his word. He swore he would never touch liquor. When he became very ill his doctor advised him to take a little brandy, but he made up his mind that he would not do so, although it was said brandy was the only thing that would save his life".

To illustrate a little bit the spirit of the time in which Paul Xiniwe lived we just have to look at the images and listen to the following facts. 
King Williams town was a booming place with businesses mushrooming at every corner. But STILL It was unusual for an African man in the 19th century to become an entrepreneur and be successful with it, at the same time promoting his culture and the arts, all the while being actively involved in politics. But Paul Xiniwe somehow managed. The fact, that he was an extremely well educated, well groomed and easy to talk to man made him popular amongst the White settlers and business men as well.

By 1880 many of the large businesses, that dominated King Williams Town for the next two decades had already emerged. They were Malcher & Malcomess; Baker, Baker & Co; Whitaker & Dyer and J.W.Weir.
These business used traders as intermediaries in the rural areas and wholesalers were able to build up a large two-way trade by selling imported goods and purchasing skins, hides and wool for the export.
According to John Noble, who estimated conservatively the purchasing power of the Cape African's "at the low amount" of 400.000 pounds annually, 60.000 woolen blankets were sold in King Williams town in one year only, among other things like American ploughs, hoes, picks, sheets, axes, iron pots, ring beads, clothing, grain bags, flour, sugar, wire, knives, ochre, buckets and chains.

King Tanning, the image was taken in the 1930's

A Shop In King Williams Town in the 1930's

Paul Xiniwe was without doubt a great modernizer of his time, who managed to induce change (At least for him and some around him) with great skill in an environment, that was not open to change.

The streets of King Williams Town look very much different today, that in the last century. How much of that change can be attributed to a man like Paul Xiniwe. Business is now open to people of all color, but still it is difficult to be successful.

Preparing For Trade On The Streets Of King Williams Town

And while the houses and the cars, the clothes and the people change, while time moves on and the clock ticks away our time, and we think we are the ones who count now, nothing exists itself. Everything is linked and many have contributed to what is now.

A Historical Building in King Williams Town
King Williams Town Street Life

A Memorial in King Williams Town

The Sun Newspaper Building in King Williams Town

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Public Holiday In The Transkei - A Story Without Words

A tiny piece of rural African life observed during two hours from the same spot.
Breathe the color!

Vava;s Tavern at Quolora By The Sea
Child Of Africa

Dog Of Africa -One Of The Most Faithful

Do Not Leave The Parcels Here Again! Whatever it was what the person did - he upset someone!

Unlock The Extra Cold Castle Lite And Save At The Same Time!

Breathe The Color - Vava's Tavern At Quolora By The Sea

In Africa Learning How To Take Care Of Your Siblings Starts The Day When You Are Born

My Home Is My Castle

Afternoon Freedom

Still a lot to unlock this afternoon......

Some Things Take Longer To Heal

Thirsty...... unlocking mother goat's milk

Safety In the Arms Of Her Baby Sister

Traditional Fencing In The Transkei

Africa's Beauty United In A Single Child

Local Design At Quolora By The Sea

Just Afternoon Life.....
If I could just get rid of this stick....

Coming Home

I am A VODACOM kid.....

A Lot To Tell

Bringing home the drinks - in a wheel barrow

Attending to the young ones

Studying in front of the trading store

Africa is a dancer

The Transkei

Give me your hand...

A Nguni Bull

The Ferryman

Roadworks Never Seem to Stop

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Rare Recording Of The Xhosa Sacred Singers - Ndiyakolwa on 78rpm Gallotone

Before we continue with the second part of our "Hugh Tracey And The International Library Of African Music" story, we bring you another rare recording of "The Xhosa Sacred Singers" - Ndiyakolwa produced and pressed on the Gallo label.
Here it is played on a President travel gramophone.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mdantsane Cribs - Cool Modern Retro Properties

Townships in South Africa are generally associated with poverty, low cost housing or make-do housing, meaning shacks. The expression "Shanty Town" is used for informal settlements and impoverished living areas.
A shanty town also called a squatter settlement is a slum settlement, sometimes illegal or unauthorized, where the houses are made of plywood, corrugated iron, sheets of plastic, and cardboard boxes. Shanty towns, which are usually built on the periphery of cities, often do not have proper sanitation, water supply or aqueduct, electricity or telephone services.

And nobody who owns a little bit, has a little bit and still yearns for a little bit more in life, than he or she has right now, wants to live next to a "Shanty Town" in South Africa.

When buying a property in South Africa buyers are strongly influenced by the future development potential of the area surrounding the property like everywhere else, but here in South Africa special attention is paid to the possibility, that existing townships and informal settlements in the area might spread out and shanty towns might develop in the vicinity of the property on sale.
If this possibility exists the property in question is much more difficult to sell and looses market value.
The preconceived idea of a shanty town is not a good one!

A cool modern retro crib in Mdantsane

Shanty towns are mostly found in developing nations, or partially developed nations with  unequal distribution of wealth. In extreme cases, shanty towns have populations approaching millions. According to the Wikipedia as of 2005, one billion people, one-seventh of the world's population, live in shanty towns. 

This might be true but as always there is the other side of the medallion. And until you turn the medallion around you don't see it.
In Mdantsane you can find amazing modern upmarket houses, that the outside spectator would never associate with the classical, traditional definition of a township house.  

NO more Shanty Town - An upmarket property in Mdanstane

The suburbs NU 9 and NU 17 in Mdantsane are the home of stylish modern luxury cribs like the mansion in the pictures, that is build in a modern retro style. The architecture of this double storey building incorporates a lot of glass and steel elements.

A double storey upmarket property in Mdantsane

We have been working on a couple of articles, which we would like to develop into an ongoing series "Mdantsane Cribs". We feel honored, that we have been invited by many families into their home and that they have shared their intimate living space and a meal with us for a couple of hours. This has given us an idea how beautiful, creative and diverse the Mdantsane homes are on the inside. 
How much HOME they are!

No matter if the home we visited, was a shack, a middle class house or a small palace like the one in the images - we have seen amazing interiors, that have left us speechless.  Fascination lies in the creativity used to create beauty and how much you make out of something.  

Mdantsane Property With A Malibu Setting

The following facts might also surprise you. Houses in NU 17 fully fenced with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, one lounge and kitchen fetch up to 550.000 Rand at present. These are normal houses, that are not the embodiment of luxury and extravagance. Just simple normal houses - like this one.

Property on Sale by Xoliswa Tini Properties in NU 17 in Mdantsane for 550.000 Rand

Xoliswa Tini Properties is another South African success story. Xoliswa Tini was one of the first black ladies to enter the property market in East London and to turn her business into a financial success. She was one of the first property agents to market the Mdantsane properties. Xoliswa Tini Properties just celebrated 10 years in business in June 2013.

Xoliswa said that it has not all been plain sailing during the past 10 years but she describes her business with the following metaphor : "We are like that little duck on the water. In sight is a calm duck swimming but unseen under the water the duck is paddling away." 

Palm Trees Holding The Sun A Captive

Back to the modern retro crib of our today's article. The inside is as stylish as the outside.
A predominantly white interior with some furniture pieces in the accents colors mint green and burned orange is soothing and calming to the eye. No furniture overload here.

Contemporary interior design in an upmarket house in Mdantsane

Clean simple lines and open plan living dominate.

The bar area like the whole house has a retro feel.

Palm tree integrated into the foyer

The Dining Room Area tucked away between pillars

The TV lounge, black leather and white again

A Guest Room
And of course houses like this need maintenance and one employee will simply not do if do not want to clean and swipe the whole day!


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