THERE are certain people in the world who can make me do just about anything.
Nina's sense of adventure and spontaneous love for life is so infectious I would even go to Qwa- Qwa for a weekend with the man, which is exactly what happened a few weeks ago.
His business partner, Stanley Letsela, summoned him for a meeting about Julius Malema, or something arbitrary like that.
The previous day, Joe had sold me on the idea of the
The adventure actually started the day before when I met Nina at
Before he played me the album, we played catch-up.
"About three years ago I met with an old friend, Stanley Letsela, who wanted to invest and revive my record label, Killa Joe Records."
Thus began the process of recording not only a new album, but signing new artists to Nina's Killa Joe Records as well as more established artists like Tshepho Tshola who, together with Steve Kekana, feature on Back Together for Life.
The artists in the Killa Joe Records stable include a woman by the name of Bonolo as well as the Divas DJs, a female DJ collective.
After the impressive listening session, Nina invited me to Vibe FM in KwaMashu where he was to be interviewed on their drive-time show. Unfortunately, we got a |tad lost and, men being men, he refused to ask for directions to the community radio station. We just managed to get there on time and he ran into the studio and launched straight into the interview. Aah, the immediacy of radio is just |so perfect.
After 15 minutes in the studio we departed for
Let the games begin.
The homeland or Bantustan that is/was Qwa-Qwa was one |of those weird states that only apartheid could have invented. When the ministers abandoned their homes post-1994, the enterprising Letsela saw an opportunity for a nightclub.
The man himself looks a |like a cross between Trompies' Jakarumba and Snoop Dogg and he seems to live in a bizarre world of law and deals.
He is also the son of a chief |so he has shares in
On one side there is a magnificent view of the mountain range which includes Devil's Tooth, and on the other side Phuthadichaba basks down below in the manner |of Mordor.
I spent the morning lying in bed, warmed by electric blankets, watching vultures soar over the mountains. Outside it was so quiet that I could hear my thoughts loud and clear.
On the way down to Phuthaditjhaba, Nina insisted we stop and explore a graffitied cave. There is a leak in the roof and water drips into a little pond below. We laugh as we try to catch the water droplets with our fingers. It is amazing how mountains invoke simplicity in human beings.
When we arrive at Letsela's warehouse in Phuthadichaba he has just returned from Harrismith where he'd gone to buy a cow for slaughter. One minute the cow was a bundle of moos and a few hours later it was sliced and diced and hanging out to dry.
The warehouse has about 22 cars inside, all of which belong to Letsela. This includes a yellow Volksie which he used to drive Winnie Madikizela-Mandela around in. His struggle credentials include smuggling cars out of the country for the ANC comrades in
After the cow is slaughtered, Nina disappears to eat a piece of the beast raw.
"It's called ukufukusa," he explains. "It is part of our culture and I am a proud African man."
People come and go throughout the day and night, with Letsela and Nina the focal point of everything.
We pay a daytime visit to
I am introduced to their primary artist outside of Nina, the aforementioned Bonolo who sings in Sotho. The video for her debut single, Thaba B Nthhebilie, was shot on the mountains and |co-produced by Nina.
Nina is confident that the artist is set for bigger things. Money is of no concern for Letsela and he is very proud to be Sotho, which is why he is investing in music.
With Letsela at the helm and Nina the creative mind, it may just be that Killa Joe Records has the legs to enjoy a revival.
Most Popular Stories
- Rackspace Ends Talks About Possible Acquisition
- Mercedes Rolls Out S550 Plug-in Hybrid
- Missouri GM Plant Adding 750 jobs
- Family Dollar Spurning Bid From Dollar General
- Kohl's Hiring 67,000 for the Holidays
- Cool Features on Today's New iOS 8
- FedEx Adding 50,000 Holiday Jobs
- Poverty Rate Drops for First Time Since 2006
- Toxic Algae Threatens Florida Fishing, Tourism
- Plus-Size iPhones Live Up to The Hype