“I don’t know if this is part of your research, but since you ask, I’ll answer you very honestly. I’m a lot of things, son, I’m a Zulu and a Xhosa, a God and a Devil, I’m a valley and a mountain, a jungle and a desert, I’m the rain and the drought, but above everything else I am anamaZulu man.”
“Because I was born in Zululand, I lived in Zululand and I’ll die in Zululand. I haven’t been to school, but I’ve been a cleaner in one place for 40 years. When I walk to the bottle store I touch the ground of the heroes and the ghosts, when I pick up a mango I touch the hand of God, when I jump the hill with my grandson I can see the deep valleys of Africa, and when I dream I am a warrior in Shaka’s army. I learned to speak and think here, I drank from the river of wisdom of my grandfather. I herded cattle here and I spoke to my ancestors hiding behind the clouds when they bring rain. That’s why I’m a Zulu, son.”
“Do you tell these things to your grandchildren?”
Evan Mantzaris’ The Ndundulu Invasion calls to mind certain moments from Brilliant Orange matches. Suddenly everything clicks. A move, a look. And then minutes of exceptionally beautiful gameplay. Insight, grace and elegance, and a foul if necessary.
A book is like a soccer match. One chapter shows the build-up, the strategy, while in the next you’re overwhelmed by a Van der Vaart move or a Bergkamp back heel volley. But then you run into Neeskens and you’re right back down to earth. And every now and then you lose track. You wonder where it’s going. The match demands an editor at those times.
The Ndundulu Invasion has all the trademarks of an extraordinary game from the Cruyff era. Insight, enthusiasm, commitment, a certain kind of laziness, chaotic, but with a clear goal.
It’s with pleasure that we publish this Great South African Novel online. Each chapter is followed by a link to the next.
Chapter 1: Jesus Cristos (next post)
Evan Mantzaris’ blog : http://evanmantzaris.wordpress.com/
Bongi realised that now he had the time and the appetite to start and finish something, a novel, an African novel full of love, passion, tradition and soccer, not necessarily in that order.
Something that could push young people open a book, escape poverty and Playstation 2 and read. He now remembered vividly when he accompanied his 15 year old nephew to Gauteng. He bought Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist and passed it to the young boy.
The boy looked at him with a giant question mark in his eyes:
“What do I suppose to do with this, malume (uncle)”?
“It’s a book, son.”
“I can see, it’s a thin book.”
“It’s a thin brilliant book, so.”
“Is it available at Kalahari.net?”
“I’m sure it is, why you ask?”
“It will be cheaper there.”
“It does not matter now, I bought it.”
“Have you read it?”
“Some years ago.”
“So why did you buy it again?”
“To do what with it.”
“To read it.”
“I don’t read books on holidays, uncle.”
“I do Playstation and go to the mall.” Read more
Not many people probably know that The National Art Gallery (The NAG) in Nyanza is since 2006 a contemporary arts museum in Rwanda. It is even the only one in the great lakes district. The classical building hosting this museum has been constructed at the end of the fifties of the past century and is beautifully located in the scenic hills, just outside Nyanza. It was built for Rwanda’s last king Matara III Rudahigwa, who died in 1959, just before he would move into his modern palace.. Since Mutara’s death, the palace has hosted several judicial institutes, like the High Court and the Supreme Court. The late archeologist and visionair prof. dr. Celestin Kanimba, former DG of INMR, regarded contemporary art as one of the healing means to recover from the1994 genocide. The NAG is part of the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda, which includes 5 various national museums.
Architecture and location
The building, designed by Belgian architect Robert Quintet, has been constructed at the end of the 1950’s. It is beautifully located on top of Rwesero hill. The building and location itself can be experienced as an excellent typical Rwandese attraction, as a masterly mixture of landscape, colonial architecture and royal history.
It turned out to be a lucky shot to change the destiny of the palace into a museum.
In the first place because of the architecture and its surroundings. But even more important is its location in the city of Nyanza, were in former ‘royal’ days Rwandan culture was flourishing. The King’s Palace Museum is near and both museums are located far away from noisy cities like Kigali and Huye. Read more
A day at the end of June, 8:36 a.m. – A high-speed train, G7381 with the name “Harmony”, takes me from Shanghai to Hangzhou.
Apparently it was Marco Polo who said 下来有苏杭 上 有天堂 and indeed, it seems to be heaven on earth. I am traveling there on the ground, at the earthly speed of nearly 350 km.
Outside the built-up areas, the fields, the streets and the huge green-house areas – passing by like images from a dream, appearing and disappearing like the clouds one may see looking out of the window of an aircraft … 350, 300 …… 250, 200, 180, 140, 90, 80, 55, 30, 20, 10, 9, 7, 4 … the train stops.
It has been a while since I lived in a town in Germany – mind, not a village, not a city: a town. It has approximately 25,000 inhabitants and occasionally we would go to a city nearby: a place with probably 100,000 inhabitants. Well, we thought of it as a city. At least it had an opera house and a theatre and I had been privileged enough to occasionally be able to go there – after finding the required transportation and money. It’s among my favorite childhood memories, one of the things I thoroughly enjoyed during my childhood. Perhaps I enjoyed it so much because it made a little dent in an environment that seemed, and actually was, smooth. Any attempt to escape only lead to slippery ground that, although it required permanent movement, did not allow progress.
A little later this tiny, seamless world had burst. For me, in the same way as for the many others who turned to the streets at the end of the 1960s – against the aggressors in Vietnam, against German media-giant Springer who had been one of the gofers of the aggressors in the far-east; against the Gaullist system in France. But we also turned to the streets in favour of matters – of Bloch’s notion of the Principle of Hope and Marcuse’s realist utopia: You should sleep for nine hours without dreams. Then you will have the whole day for dreams.
Read more: Once Upon A Time-And-Everything-Changed
You are cordially invited to read the following notes – but please accept: though reading the reflections is hopefully at times entertaining, the notes are not easy to comprehend, presenting thoughts as they are: interconnected, being a complex structure that cannot be easily deconstructed without doing damage to the overall existence. It had been the easy ways of looking at history that allowed the total demonisation of Zarathustra – in the postscript you will see the reasoning behind this reference. Having said this, you should allow the postscript to be a postscript, as I would otherwise made it myself a Prologue or a Prolegomena.
Looking once back, aiming on a huge leap forward – or: Luhmann’s Strawberry Cake
Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France.
When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel?
You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children. – Pablo Picasso
When I met Gerhard Verdoorn he was the Executive Director of Birdlife South Africa. We sat together through a long day devoted to the presentation of the outcomes of research into the harm caused to the environment by pesticides (including fungicides – biologists often don’t discriminate between the two), and at the end of the day, looking for helpful advice, I asked him what he thought I should spray my roses with. He barked one word in answer: “Roundup!”
Given the facts that roses are exotics in the southern hemisphere, that they will not grow down here unless you fertilise and spray them, that fertilisers and sprays undoubtedly harm the environment, that the environment is in trouble and needs to be cosseted, and that global warming is going on the one hand to parch our lands (through chronic droughts) and on the other hand to drown them (through raising the level of the seas), Professor Verdoorn’s response to me would seem to be fully justified. But it only SEEMS to be justified. In reality, it was either witty or rude, depending on your frame of mind at the time, but not at all justified. There are about seven billion people in the world. If we didn’t use fertilisers, insecticides and fungicides, we could feed about four billion of them.