Brian Khoza’s first book entitled “Born Almost Free in South Africa” is available for download as e-book for $0.99 at Amazon.com and the link is below. Thankful for support thus far.
The world according to Brian
12 Aug 2013
BRIAN Khoza wanted to learn about publishing so he published a book. Called Born Almost Free In South Africa, it’s a collection of his published and unpublished writings, which will be launched this week (August 16).
Where some might only dream of seeing their work in a bookstore, he took the initiative to find someone who could help him produce his own book. This can-do attitude is nothing new for the energetic Khoza (33), who has been writing regularly for The Witness since 2008.
A hip hop artist, he’s also recorded at least three albums, put together a volume of poetry, organised a concert, written a historical record of the Pietermaritzburg rap scene and keeps a blog. “The bravest thing I’ve done is write for the paper,” says this man who knows the perils of standing out in the crowd.
Born in Caluza in 1980 to a Zulu father and Xhosa mother, he was sent off with a false name to a school for Coloureds in the ’80s where he excelled, before spending his high school years at Carter High, a former Model C school.
“It’s been very strange,” he says of the experience of being a columnist. “I thought only middle-aged people, academics and a few nerds (though I am one too) would read it. But everybody, every category of people in life read it. They came and confronted me about what I wrote. Some [columns] they liked, and some were controversial, such as when I wrote about the generation gap, or race.
“It’s made people suspicious. The editing part is difficult. Sometimes the meaning of what I’ve said gets changed. I get SMSes from people and it’s really stressful. It’s not just in the black community, it’s all the communities.
“I’m putting myself out there. People can interpret a sentence in five different ways. I knew that, but I have to face my fears. Safety is a concern, but I also don’t want to alienate my friends, black and white.”
Khoza writes from his own experience and readers of The Witness and Weekend Witness will be familiar with his unflinching treatment of everyday issues, from his parents’ divorce to the racial ins and outs of making eye contact and gender politics.
“I’m very passionate about [gender],” he says. “Girls can’t feel comfortable walking down the street. I was influenced by [late rapper] Tupac [Shakur] — he was a hard-core gangster, but he was a feminist.”
Khoza’s dream is to be a role model for young men. “Until I made peace with my father, I was crazy,” he says about the effect of his parents’ divorce when he was six. He agrees that the phenomenon of single mothers in this country is a huge problem.
“All my friends who grew up with both parents are mostly married. [But] I’ve had to teach myself how to deal with relationships. I had to learn from TV. Kids grow up not knowing how to deal with conflict and co-existence because they haven’t seen their parents dealing with it.”
On his own path, he’s been influenced by hip hop culture, which is about self-knowledge and constant growth. “Hip hop pushes you to be as creative and original as possible. I use it in my writing. Because I have experienced different backgrounds, I’m aware of different perspectives.”
The courage to do this, he says, comes from being “in touch with my mortality. I do things for my unborn kids. I used to live a dangerous life and didn’t think I’d live long. I’ve been in lots of fights.”
Khoza has managed to navigate a passage through sometimes choppy waters. He’s now working on a full-time Masters degree in education and development, and has just started a salaried job with the Department of Agriculture and the Environment, as a sociologist. “I have no social life,’’ he says cheerfully.
He acknowledges that the company he keeps is important. “My friends are very intelligent overachievers. They motivate me.
“Attitude is important for success,” he says. “Getting a job is not all about having money to start with. We all have something we can do but fear stops us.”
• Born Almost Free in South Africa is published by BK Press and will be available at the launch, on August 16, 7 pm, at Illawu Inn Conference Centre, 111 Chief Albert Luthuli Street.
RSVP 0823260141 or
Download “Born Almost Free in South Africa” at
Sharing my life with Everything Woman
I believe in miracles, however they are orchestrated, and what I have gone through the past few months is possibly an example. And since it is love month, I want to take this opportunity to speak on my miracle love, Everything Woman.
It was August and I was at the end of my frustration with M’am I’d clicked with and quickly unclicked with after she started disliking me based on material perceptions. In my frustration I always remember 2pac’s line, “(Homies) know me as a player; I gotta stay true!” I haven’t been a player for ten years but I was about to try it again for a bit. Suddenly, this beautiful woman who had complemented me on Facebook some years back, and who to my slight disappointment was spoken for, reached out to me again. She wanted help with music this time, and I felt intimidated because how could somebody from London think I can help them?
Anyways, I describe my circle of friends as the love movement and one of them had passed away four ago in August. I’d been thinking on him those past few days because his funeral was on Michael Jackson’s birthday 29 August and I always remember those two milestones. That’s my brother Snoopy and our little bond was we were the two Snoopy’s in Imbali One. I was named after Snoop Dogg because of my hairstyles and he was named after the original Snoopy cartoon. She told me she was his sister, and made contact around his birthday too. Also, she had arrived at my former high school a year after I left and says my little brother was a big brother figure to her. What she says about the first time she saw me as I visited the school is quite flattering.
We met on the 31 of August at the Tatham Art Gallery, on the day I sent the long distance love interest flowers to say I give up trying to win her over. Besides business plans she told me a very heart-wrenching life story; a little more than you should tell a virtual stranger. However, her range of skills and talents and her broad knowledge of world history, religions and life still make me feel mediocre and are why I call her Everything Woman. That faith in me was heart-warming, but also it felt like looking into a mirror. I tell strangers so much too, mostly because I calculated a long time ago that I have more to gain than to lose for it. I broke my rule by dating her so soon, but I knew that I was loyal to her brother more than herself then, hoping it would grow and it did, exponentially. On Friday 7 September 2013 we began a relationship and Friday 7 February 2014 I told her I want to marry her ten times over. She said let’s do it.
I told my parents I’ve found love. Now, if I could just… find… that… ring!
MILLION MAN MARCH PLEDGE by MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN. 16 OCTOBER 1995
Now, brothers, I want you to take this pledge. When I say I, I want you to say I, and I’ll say your name. I know that there’s so many names, but I want you to shout your name out so that the ancestors can hear it. Take this pledge with me.
Say with me please, I, say your name, pledge that from this day forward I will strive to love my brother as I love myself.
I, say your name, from this day forward will strive to improve myself spiritually, morally, mentally, socially, politically, and economically for the benefit of myself, my family, and my people.
I, say your name, pledge that I will strive to build businesses, build houses, build hospitals, build factories, and then to enter international trade for the good of myself, my family, and my people.
I, say your name, pledge that from this day forward I will never raise my hand with a knife or a gun to beat, cut, or shoot any member of my family or any human being, except in self-defense.
I, say your name, pledge from this day forward I will never abuse my wife by striking her, disrespecting her for she is the mother of my children and the producer of my future.
I, say your name, pledge that from this day forward I will never engage in the abuse of children, little boys, or little girls for sexual gratification. But I will let them grow in peace to be strong men and women for the future of our people.
I, say your name, will never again use the B word to describe my female, but particularly my own Black sister.
I, say your name, pledge from this day forward that I will not poison my body with drugs or that which is destructive to my health and my well-being.
I, say your name, pledge from this day forward, I will support Black newspapers, Black radio, Black television. I will support Black artists, who clean up their acts to show respect for themselves and respect for their people, and respect for the ears of the human family.
I, say your name, will do all of this so help me God. Well, I think we all should hold hands now. And I want somebody to sing “To God be the Glory”.
And the reason I want this song sung is because I don’t want anybody to take the credit for a day like this. I didn’t do it. Reverend Chavis didn’t do it. Reverend Jackson didn’t do it. Reverend Sharpton didn’t do it. Conrad Rawell in Manarana Karinga (ph) didn’t do it. Dr. Cornell West didn’t do it. But all of us worked together to do the best that we could but it’s bigger than all of us.
So since we can’t take the praise, then we have to give all the glory, all the honor, all the praise to him to whom it rightfully belongs. So in closing, we want to thank Mayor Barry and Mrs. Barry for opening this great city to us. And out of every dollar that was collected, ten percent of it we’re going to leave here in Washington that Mayor Barry may aid some institution, some good cause in the city. We want to set a good example.
This may change, but I am mixing the first set of Nevermind Then (Vel’ Uyeke) with We Can Just Be Friends (Bianca’s Song) and performing it to Shu’s drums. I might freestyle or do other stuff depending on the mood. Rap along if you are at the show. I’ll give you my twitter, which will have the link to get you here..
Do you believe in Karma?
I’m the charmer in shining armour
The Black Jack of Hearts who made the sea calmer
Margarine rhymes pack kilojoules like Rama
And I’m vain like wine to Afrikaners
I ploughed Earths like farmers
Then you came with this energy challenging The Sun
And a face that’ll have a playa mismanaging his funds
We did it the first night you keep stressing
A tough lesson
Somehow I feel you’re BS’n
You’re my Budd like Zola
Did I need Payola
To get Earplay? ‘Cause you treat me like a stroler
Push me away ’cause I’m The Sun you’re the Ola
Ice-cream I make you melt but you bowl me over like a bowler
Your essence is effervescence like Coca Cola
You’re bubbly I know you’d love thee a high-roller
But you kill me from inside like Ebola
So when your cell rings it’s not my number on your Motorola
THAT IS OK
WE CAN JUST BE FRIENDS
I’m trying to write a poem to a poet
I’ll suck it up if I blow it
You know if
She feels it belongs where cornrows is
And thinks me corny and horny and only trying to score me a hit
I feel like I’m just about to bore me a chick
Who’s soft as petal but look how thorny she gets
Understandably prickly she warned me a bit
That I don’t stand a chance but it ain’t dawned on me yet
“Your chances are slim be content with a smile a day
Daily emails you’re 13 000 miles away
Find a S.A. chick before your style decays
Pursuing me you’re like a little child at play
With fire you’ll get hurt”
No full stop I’ll continue I’m gonna insert
Coins, game over? I ain’t playing no game
Gimme your lifetime I’ll give you my name.
THAT IS OK
WE CAN JUST BE FRIENDS
When I walked your way
And saw your heart’s door way
I froze like an African sole in Norway
Not saying I was pervin’
But I’m observant
Mumbling words in
Gibberish I had you cursin’
The kind a man never divorces
I would proudly follow your orders
And I just met you I wished you were not international
I definitely sounded irrational
But you’re so beautiful it made sense when I revealed
The fact that it meant I had no chance for something real
We got closer now I toast the most adorable
Oasis for one sip you’re so implorable
I gave up on writing a poem to tell how
We met, we fell out
Before you left I’ll leave the details out
We never got to say goodbye, it was on!
Thank you for the surprise, a book by Frantz Fanon.
THAT IS OK
WE CAN JUST BE FRIENDS
Looking beyond her
Even though I want her
‘Cause it’s an honor
To know Bianca
If true to my game
I wouldn’t say your name
But it ain’t no game
So it ain’t no shame
You don’t stagnate my flow
All you say is dope
Our mindsex quickies impregnate with hope
My bottom lip drops
Like albums in hip hop
So heavy with the words
I put it all in verse
“9 to 5 minimum wage? What type of life is that for me?
It’s BLASPHEMY!” Xzibit featured by Snoop Dogg, B Please, No Limit Top Dogg, 1999
So, we are looking at attitudes to Vocational Education and Training (VET) in my research and why people have such a low opinion of FET’s and other institutions that offer this product. One of them, I would believe and probe, of course, is the perception that you will earn a low wage once you get your diploma.
So, is it true? Do university graduates in South Africa earn more than people with qualifications from other institutions. We have to ask this because it may not even be true. We may be dealing with perceptions.
And then another question would be whether or not the careers of diplomates will pay reasonable wages for somebody who wants to have a middle class existence or already is from the middle class. Can they live in a good house, drive a new, quality car, send their children to schools of their choice and access other material wishes. It is the fears of a life doomed to minimum wage or just above it that might be at the forefront of why vocational education and training is not attractive as an option in South Africa.
Just an idea, I will tell you more as we go.
“You wanna know the crime of the century
A ghetto elementary
A mental penitentiary”Ice Cube, The Nigga Trapp, Laugh Now Cry Later, 2006…
I planned to do this from the beginning of the year but have had challenges and blessings that got in the way.
Since I am doing a Masters degree and I believe in focusing energy, I want to spend the next while writing my thoughts and views here. This will be feelings and ideas and I will formalize them privately.
My focal point are the attitudes of the youth to vocational education and training or further education and training (FET’s) institutions. There is a sense that these are for people who have not done well in school and thus will not do well in life. I want to probe this and write some thoughts.
Now, be warned that since I touch-type, these may be long, but that’s good. You are supposed to read. Well, I’m supposed to edit too but I won’t. Haha. We’re even. You don’t quite read, and I don’t quite edit.
Have a good time wherever you are people. Always believe in that vision you have and that voice you hear.
Brian “Tha Playmaka” Khoza