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Nicholas Rawhani Photographs Johannesburg's 'Varsity Blues'

Nicholas Rawhani photographs rising South African musicians Sam Turpin and Kgotso Seleka on a stroll through Johannesburg's Wits University.

Nicholas Rawhani is a rising Johannesburg-based photographer and videographer who recently reached out to us with his slick, red-and-blue-tinted photo-story on Wits' campus. Titled Varsity Blues, the shoot follows up-and-coming emcee Sam Turpin (who teamed with DJ Spoko not too long ago) and DJ/producer Kgotso Seleka as they stroll from the east to west sides of the Joburg university. "The Piece is really about the unexpressed and inexpressible emotions that cloud us during early adulthood," says Rawhani, who himself is a second-year electrical engineering student at Wits.


"I love Wits' campus.. I really think it's a beautiful university and has plenty of nooks and crannies," Rawhani told us over email. "This fitted perfectly with the concept for the shoot - Varsity Blues. The story is all about the period of young-adulthood. It's all about uncertainty. It's about communicating that looming, inexplicable feeling that we face on a daily basis - the question of what is to become of us. And what if we fail? And we're expected to contemplate these most important and life changing questions while also learning the most important and life-changing things we'll ever learn..I just think it's such an incredible period of life. In a way I want to celebrate that looming feeling. That's Varsity Blues."

Rahwani recently made it onto the Superbalist100 of young South African creatives (you can "upvote" for him here). Follow him on Instagram and Tumblr, and check out his Varsity Blues photo-story with Sam Turpin and Kgotso Seleka above.

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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