Literature

Listen to the Cheeky Natives' Interview with Nthikeng Mohlele, Author of 'Michael K'

The author speaks about his novel, the writing process and his favorite writers.

Nthikeng Mohlele is a South African author who has thus far written five novels. His novel, Michael K, is a response to fellow author JM Coetzee's Life and Times of Michael K.


Nthikeng Mohlele sat down with Dr Alma-Nalisha Cele, co-host of the popular literary podcast, Cheeky Natives, which interviews Black authors about their bodies of work.

In the interview, he spoke about many things including his recent work, Michael K. Veteran novelist, playwright and poet Zakes Mda, described Mohlele's Michael K as "a work of reflective intensity, re-imagining character from JM Coetzee's world of stark and sparse prose".

READ: In Conversation: Zakes Mda on No Story Being too Taboo or Sacred to Tell

JM Coetzee's novel tells the story of Michael K who sets out to take his ailing mother back to her rural home. However, she dies during the journey. Michael K is left alone in an anarchic world of ruthless armies. After he is captured and imprisoned, he escapes and attempts to live as best a dignified a life as he knows how.

Speaking on his response to Cotzee's novel in Michael K, Mohlele says:

"I think Michael K is the representative of the unsaid and the misunderstood. He functions primarily as a very metaphorical figure from where I am sitting. But it also speaks to a very silent thing, which is the interdependence of generations of thinkers and writers."

In addition, Mohlele also speaks about the writing process and the inspiration behind Michael K, the importance of young readers and writers reading contemporary works as well as some of his own favorite writers which include Niq Mhlongo and Zukiswa Wanner.

Asked about the myth of Black people not reading or buying books and the sometimes exclusionary world of publishing, he responded:

"There are commercial considerations, publishers are in business. There are policy issues in terms of your arts and culture department. I believe, humbly, that a lot needs to be done in terms of the promotion and support of the arts and policy that will enable writers to enter mainstream publishing. On Black people not buying books, that is untrue. That is a reckless statement. Black people read. I was taught by Black professors who referred me to a whole lot of other Black people."

Mohlele also shared a list of five books he would recommend to a young 16-year-old to read. His list included: Things Fall Apart by the late Nigerian great Chinua Achebe, Detained by the veteran Kenyan writer Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography by South African writer Mark Mathabane, the poetry of the late South African Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile and the works of the late Zimbabwean writer Dambudzo Marechera.

You can purchase Michael K here.

READ: Meet the Dynamic Lawyer-Doctor Duo Behind the Riveting Cheeky Natives Podcast


Listen to the full interview below:



Still from YouTube

Watch the Retro Music Video for Dyo's 'Go All the Way' Featuring Mr Eazi

The video, directed by Mahaneela, is a tribute to the vintage photography of Malick Sidibé, James Barnor, Seydou Keïta, and Samuel Fosso.

Mr Eazi teams up with budding Nigerian artist Dyo, for her latest single "Go All the Way."

The duo share a memorable music video, inspired by the work of vintage African studio photographers like Malick Sidibé, James Barnor, Seydou Keïta, and Samuel Fosso. The music video features cameos from several young African creatives including Congolese artist Miles from Kinshasa, who are all photographed in stylish clothes before staged backdrops.

The video was directed by multi-hyphenated creator Mahaneela, who also appears in the video,

The Mirza-produced song sees both artists singing suggestively about their lovers. "Go go, go all the way," Dyo sings smoothly on the track's chorus.

Still from YouTube

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Join Us For an Everyday Afrique Party This Labor Day In NYC!

Featuring music by DJ Moma, DJ Tunez, Rich Knight, Boston Chery and DJ Buka.

Everyday People, OkayAfrica and Electrafrique are back with the best Labor Day weekend party around with Everyday Afrique.

Come hang with us for another installment of the party that brings out the New York City's finest.

This September 2 we're taking Everyday Afrique back to The Well in Brooklyn, where you can dance and drink the day & night away across the venue's outdoor and indoor spaces.

Grab Your Tickets to Everyday Afrique's Labor Day Party Here

Music will be handled by a top-shelf line-up of selectors including DJ Moma, DJ Tunez, Rich Knight, Boston Chery and DJ Buka.

The party will be hosted by Young Prince, Saada, Roble, Sinat, Giselle, Shernita and Maine.

Make sure to grab your tickets here and we'll see you on the dance floor!

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Interview
Courtesy of Sibu Mpanza.

INFLUENCED: Meet Sibu Mpanza—the YouTuber Who's Making a Killing from Just Having Fun

'I am the person I needed when and even before I started my YouTube channel,' the prolific YouTuber says.

OkayAfrica brings you the 2019 INFLUENCED Series. In the coming weeks, we'll be exploring the online communities being fostered by young South Africans who are doing more than just influencing. From make-up gurus and hair naturalistas to socially-conscious thought leaders, get ready to be influenced. Read the rest of the series here.

Years ago, Sibu Mpanza found himself experiencing two realities Black South African students are still battling with even today: crippling financial woes at university and debilitating depression.

An aspiring musician who ended up studying psychology instead at the University of Cape Town, Mpanza began skipping as many classes as he possibly could. He would spend copious amounts of time at a computer hidden away in the corner, passing the hours watching funny videos on YouTube. In fact, he says he spent so much time on YouTube that he was literally one of the very first people to view Beyoncé's epic "711" music video—something Mpanza recalls in stitches.

He was searching for something, although admittedly, he didn't quite know back then what it was exactly. It eventually got so bad that in his second year of university, he packed up his things, dropped out and moved to Johannesburg to see if he could become what he'd always imagined he could eventually be.

Fast-forward to 2019, and the name Sibu Mpanza is not only an undeniable success story but an entire brand.

Mpanza is a full-time YouTuber who has been able to capitalise on creating hilarious content about his life and pretty much anything that interests him. While he initially "blew up" because of a YouTube video he put out, a video which called out White students at the University of the Free State who were recorded beating up protesting Black students at a rugby game, he's since moved onto a second channel, More Mpanza, where he makes content that's a lot more fun, apolitical and doesn't take a toll on his mental health. As if two successful channels weren't enough, he's also got a third channel, Arcade, where he and his business partner talk about things they enjoy in the technology space.

For anyone looking to just let off some steam, watch a YouTuber who's willing to poke fun at himself or find some really quality content in an era where everyone seems to have a YouTube channel about something or the other, Mpanza is definitely your guy.

We caught up with him to talk about what inspired his various YouTube channels, the fame that comes with being a household name and what's really important to the young South African creative.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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