It changed everything

posted in: The Journey, The Music | 1

In 2005 I couldn’t read or write music. So I bought a second hand keyboard. Took piano lessons as well as voice lessons. All I wanted, at the time, was to be able to translate the songs in my heart into something beautiful. Music has always been a big part of my life.

Labels & radio didn’t quite get my sound. But I am blessed to have a manager who abandoned ‘the box’ and found an audience for my music. 2 EPs and an album later my music was being played (on radio) in 36 countries. The journey was long, often disheartening but I stuck by the music. My journey is obviously different from other artists who have a label and a big machine behind them. I am my own label and everything I do is D.I.Y. Sometimes this can be a lonely journey but it is always fulfilling.

In 2013 I entered the Wawela Music Awards. At first I thought “what are the chances?” but my manager persisted. On the day nominees were announced, I was unable to attend. But I was alerted via twitter by someone that was there. Not only was I nominated once but twice.

 

 

best female 2

He he he. One day people will spell Porcelain the correct way ;)
He he he. One day people will spell Porcelain the correct way ;)

Knowing that I was nominated was enough for me. The Wawela Music Awards focus on singers/songwriters and composers with accomplishments on the local and international stage. I am by no means a ‘star’ in South Africa but my music has a life of its own outside of the borders. I was happy just to be recognised alongside one of my favourite artists (Lira).

My manager informed me that there would be a performance on the night of the awards. It was at this point that I called my father. Voice shaking, I told him that I felt overwhelmed. He assured me that I would be fine and would come back with one award. I didn’t believe him. Award night arrived and my stomach was in knots. Only God knows how I got through the performance of Johnny.

Johnny performance

Everything changed after that. The night is kind of a blur but I remember hearing my name. Giving a teary acceptance speech (I really should have written one in advance), changing my outfit, sitting down again and hearing my name again. Just like that! My whole career had changed.

Accepting my second award
Accepting my second award
I look terrified because I was. It all happened so quickly.
I look terrified because I was. It all happened so quickly.

 

That night I got to talk to Johnny Clegg, Mam’ Dorothy Mauku, Ray Phiri, Zwai Bala, Lira and many other people that I had admire for many many years. I could, honestly, go on and on about selling more albums (via my site) & getting booked for more gigs (both true). But being recognised for your craft, meeting other creative people (who want to collaborate) and being a part of something so wonderful… Nothing can compare to it.

There are 9 days till entries close for the 2014 Wawela Music Awards. Enter. You never know how it will change your life/career: Enter here.

Feb ’14 Book (July’s People)

posted in: Book Worm | 1

I JUST finished this book. February was short and I had many things to do. I’m amazed (and ashamed) that I’ve never read a Nadine Gordimer book before. Nobody recommended this one. I was at my favourite bookstore just looking for South African Fiction. July’s People jumped out at me.

IMG_20140225_152858

I have often wondered what would have become of South Africa if the ‘transition’ was not peaceful. Things got pretty violent before our first democratic elections. Much of the violence was between black people. I won’t give a history lesson because… Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Nadine Gordimer’s book goes to that place: What if there was a violent take over? The Smales, a liberal couple with 3 children, find themselves with nowhere to run. They are taken in by their servant July. He takes them to his village and suddenly they find themselves relying on July. For everything.

You know I’m not big on ‘spoilers’.

Writing: I am so happy to have finally read my first Nadine Gordimer. She writes beautifully. That is stating the obvious, I guess. They don’t just give the Nobel (Literature) Prize to anyone.

The story: Very very intense. I realised that I would often hold my breathe while reading it. There are so many aspects to the story that I feel like I should read this book again (later in the year). Some of the conversations that the characters have made me wish South Africans would do the same. There are many things that we haven’t been able to be honest about. A lot of misconceptions that lead to resentment. There is a lot of that in this book.

Verdict: Go to your library, bookstore etc. and get this book.

On to the next one!

Get Involved: AYM

posted in: Making a Difference | 2

Last week I shared information about The Shine Centre (where I volunteer) in Cape Town. Today we focus on Agape Youth Movement in Soshanguve.

Agape

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does AYM do?

AYM is a youth lead organisation. They actually want young people to get involved, help themselves and others. They have many different programmes and all of them focus on education as a way to positively change the lives of young people.

How do I volunteer?

They prefer not to use the word ‘volunteer’ but Agents of Change. These are young people who do want to see change in their communities. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get involved. If you would like to tutor in schools, mentor offer team building exercises etc. You can see how this would be something that you would need to committed to. Last year AYM launched a (Science) tutoring project at Ruabohlale Junior Primary school in Soshanguve.

Which Schools does AYM work with?

Ruabohale Junior Secondary School, Amogelang Senior Secondary School, Rodney Mokoena Primary School & Refihlilepele Primary School.

What Skills do I need?

AYM needs people with a variety of skills. Skills that they wouldn’t mind sharing with members of the community. They run various programmes. See which one you might be able to help with:

  • Tutoring
  • Mentorship
  • Science Labs Projects
  • Career Expo
  • Financial Literacy Workshops
  • Sports Tournaments
  • Poetry Sessions

If you have skills in any of these areas and are willing to get involved with the young people in the community then Get Involved.

Not all of us have time to go to schools (during work hours) and help children read/write. But we can use our skills to empower young people (through education). Never underestimate the importance of Career Days or Financial Literacy Workshops. All those things are part of improving young people’s lives through education. They then in turn help the community

I’m in! Now what?

email AYM info@aym.org.za or call them on 012 771 4705

Tell them what ‘skills’ you have and where you see yourself fitting in. They are more than happy to have people come in and help. I spoke to Thabang on the phone and he is very patient and happy to point you in the right direction.

Please let me know if you know of any organisations that need volunteers/books. Anywhere in South Africa. If they deal with education, I will write about them or interview someone from the organisation.

Jan ’14 (Americanah)

posted in: Book Worm | 0

I’m at it again. Trying to read one book a month. To be fair. I started reading Americanah in December but I was at home and my family doesn’t give me ‘free’. There were so many wonderful reviews by magazine people and ‘real’ people about this book. I had to get it. Purple Hibiscus is also a very beautiful book, so I trusted the author.

This is a pic of me reading the book in the bath. It was December and that was the only time I could read.
This is a pic of me reading the book in the bath. It was December and that was the only time I could read.

Honestly, I wanted to love this book. This book is the ‘perfect’ guy that your friends try to set you up with. ‘He’s perfect’ they’ll say. You know, and like, his sister. “How different can they be if they were raised by the same parent?” you ask. The answer: VERY!

There is no doubt that Chimamanda Ngozi Adicihie writes beautifully. I enjoy her ‘way’ with words. She makes ordinary things seems so enchanting and yet brutally real. THAT is why I love her. It’s the story that I’m not all that crazy about. Love the writing. Not the story. Is it  a bad story? Not at all. Just not one that I enjoyed.

It is the story of 2 high school sweethearts who seem to have it all figured out. Of course, we all know that nobody has it ‘all figured out’ in high school. So life throws them some real curve balls. They find themselves on ‘opposite sides of the world’ and estranged. The book deals with how different ‘blackness; is for African (in this case Nigerians) than it is for ‘African Americans’. I enjoyed some of the insights. The main character Ifemelu becomes a ‘race blogger’ in the US and she adjusts (somewhat) to life in the US. But the desire to go back home is so strong that she finally makes the move back home.

I feel like I’m describing the entire book he he he. Read this book. It is beautifully written by an author that I love and respect. Perhaps you’ll enjoy the story. I haven’t met one person who didn’t.

Get involved: Shine

posted in: Making a Difference | 0

Every year, without fail. It happens. People are up in arms. Parents, people with no children, even those who don’t really care about schools. They all complain about the state of education in South Africa. “How can the pass mark be so low? No wonder these kids fail at life! This should be illegal etc etc”. It’s exhausting. I tweeted about it.

I suggested that instead of ‘rage’ around matric results time we should get involved during the school year.

— Black Porcelain (@BlckPorcelain) January 23, 2014

I’m going to compile a list of school projects & NGOs that need volunteers. I will try my best to cover all provinces.

— Black Porcelain (@BlckPorcelain) January 23, 2014

We don’t all have time during the week so I’ll try find some wknd gwans too. If you don’t have time but books, stationery etc thats fine too

— Black Porcelain (@BlckPorcelain) January 23, 2014

Anger is not enough & it’s exhausting. Let’s get involved. Let me know of any school projects/NGOs that you know of. Let’s share the info.

— Black Porcelain (@BlckPorcelain) January 23, 2014

I used to be one of those people. In 2009, while I was still a radio presenter, I interviewed someone from the Shine Centre. She asked me to join them for one session and see what they get up to. Instead of the predictable rage, I found myself getting involved. I became a (very small) part of the solution.

Every week I will share a different organisation that is in need of volunteers. I will start with one that I know very well. The Shine Centre

shine

What Does The Shine Centre Do?

The Shine Centre provides literacy and language support for Grd 2 & 3 learners.

What skills do I need?

If you can read and write (English) then you are it! It also helps if you like children and are patient. Volunteers attend training sessions. These happen quite often. This is necessary because the Shine Centre uses specific methods & games. The sessions happen every few months; for new volunteers and others who would like to brush up on their skills.

How does it work?

Once you’ve gone through the training you are ready! The Centre Manager (at the school) will then pair you up with a Grd 2/3 learner. You will work with the same child so you can track their progress. The children are usually shy in the beginning. My isiXhosa is bad (I speak SeSotho) so that is always a great source of amusement for them. That’s my usual ice breaker. You spend an hour with your ‘learning partner’.

The sessions take place at a school and they are usually in the morning. Children that have been *assessed (by Shine Centre) are pulled out of class for an hour. These sessions take place in the ‘Shine Classroom’ where all the necessary learning material is.

*The assessments take place at the end of the year. Children who are below their ‘age literacy level’ are then put on the list to be part of the Shine Centre’s hour the following year.

During the hour

The hour is broken up into 4 parts and you will go though reading, play (Shine specific) games, writing (sentences) and a little bit of comprehension. I’ve been volunteering since 2009 and I can tell you that the first few weeks will test you. It has nothing to do with the children. More to do with you (and your ego). It takes a lot of time (and repetition) for the kids to finally ‘get it’. That’s just how you learn. But we tend to forget that. In (the beginning of) 2009 I felt like I was not helping at all. One of my learning partners couldn’t read words that were made up of more than 3 letters. Near the end of the year, we were reading a book. Sometimes you have to read together. She covered my mouth and asked to read by herself. I was so proud of her. She came to the word ‘birthday’, I held my breathe and she read the word like a pro. That hour will become the best part of your morning :)

Where? (Cape Town)

There are several Shine Centres around Cape Town. I volunteer at the Prestwich Street Primary School. Because it is a convenient location. I often have early morning meetings in town so it works.

I want to volunteer. Now what?

Well done! Contact Carrie Masheck (she is all kinds of awesome)

shinecapetown@gmail.com

Please let me know if you know of any organisations that need volunteers/books. Anywhere in South Africa. If they deal with education, I will write about them or interview someone from the organisation.

Reading in 2013

posted in: Book Worm | 2

Reading in 2013

These are some of the books that I read last year. I promised myself at least 1 book a month and it went really well. I couldn’t put all the books I read in this pic. They had already been returned to their owners. You see? I’m good like that. I return people’s books ;)

If you want to find out more about the books. Just go here

The week in pics

I’m gonna try this out. If it doesn’t work then we’re just gonna act like it was a once off kinda-thing. Okay? Good. I won’t do this every week because… D.I.Y life.

Monday

wk1 Monday
After a super long Monday I had coffee at Vida. All I was thinking about was how much water I still had to drink. I’m trying to drink more water. It’s getting easier.

Tuesday

Went to dinner and a movie. No I didn't go see Khumba. It was Thor and OMG I LOVED it. Took a pic of the box because I thought it was cute.
Went to dinner and a movie. No I didn’t go see Khumba. It was Thor and OMG I LOVED it. Took a pic of the box because I thought it was cute.

Wednesday

wk1 Wed1
Had my first magazine shoot &b received awesome news about music things in 2014. *scream* I wanna share but the manager lady will murderise me. Also was reunited with my favourite makeup artist (Malinette Newman)

 

Went for burgers (and cheese fries) at Clarke’s. Lovely place :) Manager lady took me there to celebrate my first magazine shoot and super awesome 2014 things.

Thursday

Thursday was another super long day. Missed a deadline (writing things). So I decided a pre-bedtime selfie would be a good way to cheer myself up.
Thursday was another super long day. Missed a deadline (writing things). So I decided a pre-bedtime selfie would be a good way to cheer myself up.

Friday

Work function. I didn't feel like talking to anybody because I am only at the 'office' for 3.5hrs a day. They don't know me and I didn't feel like making 'fake office party conversation'.
Work function. I didn’t feel like talking to anybody because I am only at the ‘office’ for 3.5hrs a day. They don’t know me and I didn’t feel like making ‘fake office party conversation’.

Saturday

It was raining ALL DAY, so we went to Tasha's for the red velvet cupcakes & to 'watch the rain'. He he he
It was raining ALL DAY, so we went to Tasha’s for the red velvet cupcakes & to ‘watch the rain’. He he he

Sunday

It stopped raining and I took a walk around the hood. Also I had a million DVDs to drop off. Let us never talk about my 'late fines'.
It stopped raining and I took a walk around the hood. Also I had a million DVDs to drop off. Let us never talk about my ‘late fines’.

September Book 2 (Red Ink)

posted in: Book Worm | 0

I’m just going to act like I didn’t take a bit of a break from the blogging stuff and move along swiftly to the second September book. I had never heard of the author (Angela Makholwa). I do this thing where I walk into a book store and search for SA fiction. I read the blurbs and hope for the best. Serial Killer stories are always intriguing, so a crime novel about one was bound to ‘get chose’.

Image

PR Consultant Lucy Khambule receives a call from a convicted serial killer (Napolean Dingiswayo). He would like her to write a book about his life. Lucy agrees but she gets ‘more than she bargained’ for and finds herself in danger. Although Napolean is behind bars, she begins to suspect that he may be involved. <—– That is a quick summary.

How could I not be intrigued by a story like that? Firstly I will say that I really enjoyed the story. But I’m not so sure that I enjoyed the story-telling. I’m not sure if that makes sense… I’m a sucker for serial killer stories & the story was interesting to follow. But I already knew all the story’s ‘secrets’ before they were revealed.

If you’re looking for a fun holiday read then this one is for you. It is that time of the year; people want to take it easy. If you’re put off by blood etc. Don’t worry, there is very little violence in the book. Weird. But true.

My New Music Video (Hot Pink)

posted in: The Journey, The Music | 0

Late last year I started releasing my new single (Hot Pink). Instead of sending it to radio and being annoyed by responses like “we’re not quite sure what format it is” or whatevs… I decided to release it ‘face to face’. So I went around Cape Town and introsuced myself to people (mainly at offices) and played them my new song.

We had so much fun doing this. My friend (Linda) was at some of these ‘Hot Pink Serenades’ and he put together this music video. I was not joking when I said I am a D.I.Y artist :)

September Book 1 (The Whale Caller)

posted in: Book Worm | 0

September Book 1 (The Whale Caller)

I think we should just call 2012 & 2013 my Zakes Mda years. I was going through my books, hoping that I would find my copy of Ways Of Dying. Sadly, some swine really did steal my book. Aaarrgh! But I did find a copy of The Whale Caller. Then Marcee suggested that perhaps I swapped books with someone and have forgotten about it.

The book is indeed about a whale caller, not to be confused with Hermanus whale crier. The Whale Crier alerts visitors when there are whales nearby. Never been to Hermanus but I understand that people go there for whale watching. The crier let’s them know where the whales are by blowing his horn. Don;t ask me how people know exactly where to go though.

Back to the book: The Whale Caller is about a love triangle. One with a twist; man, woman and whale. I want to tell you more but I feel like I would be doing the ‘annoying spoiler thing’. If you’re familiar with Zakes Mda’s writing then you already know that this is a magical book. He has a way of finding the magic in the mundane.

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