Cape Town – The Mother god

God is an artist. Look around. See for yourself. God is an extraordinaire. I hope I’m not sounding like a pantheist as I stress you once more to look around at the immanent wonder that surrounds us. As an artist myself, I often wonder about the beauty of our world. I wonder about the beauty of Africa and how to rightfully emulate it in my work.
How do I allow myself to be inspired and what inspires me? At the moment and not merely for the sake of this competition, I’m inspired by Cape Town even though I’ve never actually been there. Yes, I’m a Cape Town virgin longing to be sated. I’m inspired by the mother city and her magical mountain with the flat top, her winelands, her sandy beaches and picturesque greens. But how do I emulate her? How do I emulate Table Mountain?

Cape Town is the ultimate piece of wonder and the ultimate challenge for someone like me whose art and talent leans more on words than the physical moulding of an object.

And so it begins. As I try to create the beauty that is Cape Town, I see sky, air, greens and blues in my vision. I see nature, bright and thick along the rocky surface of the famous mountain. Gathering my thoughts, I begin to collect my materials. Dirty stones carefully carved meet my gaze, green leaves, purple flowers, white cotton and blue cardboard fit my vision. So with care and precision, I let my fingers work on my masterpiece. I think of the endless lost skies, the birds as they take flight, the sun in its burning glory and the ocean in its continuous journey of tranquillity. Elements which I personally think resemble God.

Perhaps the mother city is a glimpse of God or maybe, even better…a god herself?

God is the epitome of that thing that we know is real but feels intangible. God is an experience of everything we deem magical, impossible and out of reach. I’ve experienced the peace of watching floating clouds as white as cotton form shapes of life in the sky. I’ve experienced the simulation of flight, during a daring rollercoaster ride at the Golf Reef City amusement park. I’ve also experienced the heady heat of a bright summer day when the sun smiles down on me but never, in my 26 years of existence have I felt the arms of the Capetonian ocean envelope me. Never have I seen a mountain with an undisfigured top and a head on the side like the mouh of a lion. Never have I breathed in the fresh air that lingers on the beachfront of Camps Bay. Stupidly, never have I taken advantage of the cheap flights to Cape town that almost everyone in my hippy circle brags about. 

So basically, not only am I a Cape Town virgin, I’m also an aeroplane and an airport virgin too. Traveling is this big great mystery to me that I long to experience. 

And so with wonder, I dream. I dream of a time when I will experience such beauty. I dream of a time when I will know what they speak of when they speak of Cape Town, the mother city. I am a child born in the golden concrete that is Johannesburg, the city of gold and as much as it’s full of hustle and bustle, my heart sings with the hope of adventure and tranquillity Cape Town seems to exude. Is it really greener on the other side? 

Dear Cape Town, I pray you let me get a glimpse of you someday. #CapeTownChallenge with Travelstart 

Written by Janneth Mazibuko

Cape Town -The mother God

Cape Town on a plate 😃

Excerpt from upcoming book *Dreaming Naledi*

dreams

Naledi 

Sleep Child. I pray you sleep. Rest where lucidity finds you no more. I pray you sleep, just long enough to find peace. May the gods that torment you, give you peace and a sound mind. 

See the thing about dreams was that, they were either a series of thoughts or a science of the mind. Sensations occurring in a person’s subconscious, like images when they slept. An indulgent of pleasantries. Mediums, would call it, a distraction from the present. Dreams were either cherished aspirations, ambitions of a perfect ideal or an unknown world that came off as real as touch. But for Naledi – dreams were an experience. An experience closer to feeling, rather than breathing. A vivid awareness, astral projections and lucid performances that would torment her at night. A war between dark and light.

Observations, she would then call them. Mere observations.

Tonight, she would observe even though she would be the one being observed. Naledi was acutely aware of all that was about to unfold. She had seen it as clearly as she’d predicted her father’s death. That afternoon, her father – the monarch of the Gold had come home from battle against the Easterns, wounded by the invasion of an arrow to his abdomen. He had asked for his daughter as soon as he’d been mounted off his horse. He had asked for her. Word of his injury had erupted amongst all the clans of the South. No one could fathom how the Chief and keeper of the Gold could not harness his healing and escape death once more like he’d been known to do for many years. Ancient elders believed that the power of the Gold came with gifts of immortality that could be channelled when death called. For years, many have believed that the late Chief Senza Zwane could do the unfathomable. They deemed him greater than the legendary King Shaka. In battle, they knew Chief Senza would find favour, because well – He always did. They believed his undefeated victories in war and the conquering of lands were compliments of the Golden stone. As keeper, he ruled the Golden stone like an invisible phenomenon.

But then, suddenly as real as daylight – there he was that one afternoon, bleeding through a wound, gushing out so much red that death was inevitable. His injuries promising an end, just like his young, lithe and mentally tormented daughter had predicted months before. He’d asked for his daughter with careful desperation. He would not frighten her although she knew – he knew – she was smart enough to understand what was happening to him. He’d asked for her and his final words came hard with struggle as he looked into his daughter’s wide brown eyes, filled with tears.

Sleep Child. I pray you sleep. Rest where lucidity finds you no more.  And when you wake, marry or flee Child. Marry or flee.

 

Crimson Storm (The Crimson #3) snippet

Zak finally confronts his mother in Crimson Storm. Check out this exclusive snippet from the final book in The Crimson Series.a zak quoteZak

Convinced more than ever that there’s no way in hell I’ll get any sleep tonight, I get up from the bed and stretch out my long legs. It’s cold as fuck but I don’t bother to put my shirt on. After pacing the room for a while, I creep out and walk to the kitchen. Everything feels so damn small in here. It’s like I’m too big for this intimate living space.

How do people deal with this shit?

I put on the light and manage to find a glass, pour some water and gulp down the liquid in a matter of seconds. With my back to the door as I lean on the counter, I’m jolted by footsteps. I don’t even have to turn around to know who’s just crept up behind me. The tension in my shoulders says enough.

This is it.

It’s finally going to happen. I can’t keep avoiding her. We have to talk eventually. I remain as still as a church mouse, hoping mama will make the first move and to my delight, she does.

“You look just like him you know, a replica of your father. He would have been so proud of his favourite son,” mama says and I cringe. There’s something about the tone in her voice that makes me uncomfortable. I knew this was coming. I’ve been here for two days and we haven’t said much to each other. We’ve just stayed out of each other’s way, not just for the sake of mourning but because being alone just the two of us is rather awkward.

Shit, am I ready for this?

I crane my neck and steal a look her way.

My sweet beautiful mother – I’ve missed this woman. I don’t like what life has done to her though. She looks older than she actually is. She’s young, much younger than she looks. I think she had me when she just turned twenty. Her face that was once fresh and full of youth is now, old and full of grief. Her skin that is naturally a light shade of golden brown like Thembi’s and the way Khaya’s was is now slightly darker and cracked.

I look nothing like her. I am my father’s son. I look just like him like everyone always reminds me – tall, dark skinned and strong in built. So I tower over mama like some gigantic gladiator. All I got from ma is her dimpled smile. God, I’d give anything to see that smile. I’d give up all I have to see her smile at me with love in her eyes. I turn around slowly with my shoulders shrugged to look at her and try to smile.

Facing her properly, I see not only coldness and grief but a longing too. I’m struck with fear. That inevitable fear between two strangers has me sad inside because she’s not supposed to be a stranger. She’s my mother for God’s sake. The look in her eyes though. The look in her eyes right now will put the fear of God in anyone. It’s like she’s seeing right through me. It’s like she’s seeing all my fears, all my sins, all my nightmares and all my torment. I know what I want to say to her but the words just won’t come. I’m just not ready. My mouth goes dry.

“You were as good as dead to me, you know,” she says and I swallow hard. I’m not stupid. I completely understand what she was trying to say or implying by that simple sentence, so I finish it for her.

“So you wish it was me who had died instead of Khaya?” It comes out as a question but I didn’t mean it as one. Something snaps in mama’s eyes and in a heartbeat, she closes the distance between us. I see it coming because I know I crossed the line but I don’t even try to move when her hand strikes me hard across the face. I bite on the inside of my mouth and take in the burn of its force. I’ll admit it – that hurt like hell.

That fucken hurt.

My cheek is still feeling the burn of the slap. Tears fill mama’s cold eyes and roll down her dry face as she looks up at me with her trembling hands wiping away the evidence of her emotions.

“I carried you for nine months in my belly. Nine months Zakhele and you think I would wish for your death. Uyahlanya?” Are you crazy? She says in Zulu and I know I’m on my final strike. Like a boy schooled, I keep my big mouth shut now.

“You were a part of me, every part of me Zakhele. Your cells are of mine. Your every little nerve, your blood, your tiny little heartbeat, it was all a part of me…You are still a part of me. You will always be a part of me. You are my son,” she cries and I can’t look at her anymore.

I am ashamed.

I am ashamed of the man that I’ve become in her eyes. I just want her to love me the way that she loved Khaya.

I just want you to love me ma.

The child in me is still crying out for her love. “You stand here in front of me today and believe that I would wish for your death. You…my son, my first child, you stand here and put words in my mouth. You are the one who made me a woman. The one I first learnt the pain of birth from. You are my son, my first evidence of giving life. You think I would wish for your death?”

Shit. I feel my eyes flood. For the first time since I can remember, I actually feel tears in my eyes, tears that really want to fall. I thought I was immune to tears. All these years, I thought I was immune to tears but not now.

My eyes are on fire, my throat is throbbing and it feels like I’ve swallowed hot burning lava. My eyes are on fire, my throat hurts and there’s an indescribable pain in my chest. Shit, I think I’m about to cry. For the first time in years, I think I’m about to genuinly cry.

It hurts. It hurts so fucken bad.

Exploring Faith: Zak’s redemption

Faith requires trusting in the unknown and being fully aware of your limitations as a red blooded form of flesh and bones. Faith makes a fool of what makes sense but it is in the confusion, that we find direction. It is in the confusion that we learn to trust in the unknown. It is in the confusion that we learn to believe in what we truly want. It is in the confusion that we learn to lean on something else besides ourselves. I would like to thank everyone who’s been supporting the Crimson Series and I want to hear from you. Do you think Zak (the lead male protagonist in my book) deserves to be redeemed?

Excerpt from Crimson Death (The Crimson #2)
Zak

“Do you believe in miracles Zak?” Thembi asks me before I step out of the car. I stare at my sister from the corner of my eye and somehow the answer comes naturally to me.
I smile. A sad smile that doesn’t reach my eyes, but still, it feels good to just smile given all that has happened. “My life is a miracle Thembi.”
“Do you think life is pre-destined no matter the efforts one makes or the prayers?”
Confused, I raise a brow at her. “This is broad Thembz, in what sense?”
“Do you think that people are what they are no matter what? That, you were always meant to be this guy, proud and successful and that Khaya was always meant to be that guy who’s sad, broken and sick?”
Understanding dawns on me as she says this. I take her cold hands in mine and look deep into her eyes. “Life is all about choices babe. A war of cause and effect and I think there is life and death simultaneously in every choice that we make.”
“Are you proud of your choices?” Thembi then asks me and I suddenly know what she’s really trying to say to me. This is about Khaya – what she thinks I did to him and how his life turned out in general.
I should be angry.
I should be fuming at the fact that everyone seems to think that I am personally responsible for how Khaya’s life has turned out but I don’t let the anger consume me. I think my family has had enough pain and anger to last us a lifetime.
“Khaya is his own person and his choices are his and his alone to carry,” I try to reason with my sister.
“Are you proud of your choices Zak?” Thembi asks again, not letting me off the hook.
Fuck, I am tired of taking the blame for everything. Again, I should be angry. I should be angry but I’m not. Instead, I have a deep realization about it all that has never really dawned on me before until now that I am forced to seek it.
“I am not proud of all my choices Thembi, but I wouldn’t change a damn thing. I wouldn’t be who I am without them.”

aya and zak quote

 

NALEDI (Excerpt from new sci-fi book)

NALEDI
(Catching Realms #1)
By
Jan Art

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” J.R.R. Tolkien

Chapter 1
Over the Northern Seas
Grayson Falcon landed in an eerie flash of blue light leaving a trail of dust to form around him wildly. He was exhausted. His lean muscled body sunk to the floor where he sat with his knees raised and head buried in his hands. He reveled in the adrenaline he still felt every time he defied time and space.
“A blessed man is what I am,” he admitted quietly. He shook back the dark hair that framed his face and forced himself to recover. The power of his stone still flowed, enchantingly around him from the teleportation and his body ebbed. It had been an exhausting journey. He stood now, admiring the giant doors of his family mansion and found that he was quite excited to be back. He was home now – home once more where he belonged, with the people he guarded. He smiled to himself as he made his way up the clear crystal stairs leading up to the entrance of the exquisite Falcon mansion.
When he turned towards the family parlor, he stilled on his tracks in shock as he felt a strange whisper of power. It was strong and enthralling and it was the most intoxicating feeling in the world. His heart tightened in his chest and he swore it would stop. He felt a magic like no other fill his senses. It was powerful. It felt so powerful that the diamond pendant around his neck began to glow in a sparkling indigo. The magic filled his senses and his stomach coiled like snakes lived in his belly. He took a deep breath and tried to calm himself before he opened the door to the meeting quarters. Forcing himself to recover, he walked into the wide open room and found his uncle, Robert Falcon, who was also his adviser and guardian waiting for him with a frown marring his old face.
“I have been trying to get a hold of you for hours now. Where have you been Grayson? I hope you haven’t been chasing maidens again,” the old man spoke irritably. Grayson couldn’t help but laugh at how well his uncle knew him but chose to keep the wild conquests of his latest ventures all to himself. Quite simply – he was exhausted.
“I have secured many good deals for our lands uncle,” he spoke. When his uncle said nothing, he sensed something was clearly not right around the mansion since his departure.
“Uncle, what’s the problem?”
His uncle paced the room and then let out a sharp breath before he spoke again, calmly this time.
“You have a guest from the African Gold, daughter of a very good friend of mine who met his death a few weeks ago. She is eager to speak with you.”
“She?” Grayson questioned, devilment playing on his face and he couldn’t help but smile. His thirst for women was his weakness, even he knew that.
“Could you be serious for once in your life Grayson?” Robert barked.
Grayson said nothing because he wasn’t in the mood to argue with his uncle who clearly needed a sense of humour. Then he stifled a yawn, making his uncle’s brows crease in annoyance. He has hardly been back a minute and his uncle was already uptight, Grayson thought.
“She traveled very far and would not tell me her reason for being here. She wished only to speak with you and said that her matter involved the gods.”
“What do they call her uncle?” Grayson asked, curious to know why a girl from the African Gold would seek him out. African women were always too reserved, cultural and traditional. They were of no interest to him and his wild ways. And besides that, Grayson fancied women with pale skin and romance in their eyes.
“They call her Naledi Zwane, keeper of the African stone.”
The smile on Grayson’s face faded when he heard his uncle’s last words. The girl from the African Gold was a keeper? The realization made his stomach coil.
###

Hope you all enjoyed this very exclusive first look at my new book Titled Naledi (Catching Realms #1) to be released in July 2016

This African warrior princess was done by Mnkene.African_princess_warrior_by_mnkene

Eureka: Creating an urban cocoa princess

Eureka: Creating an urban cocoa princess

naledi
When I was a child, I wanted to be a princess. My thoughts would drift, ever so enthusiastically to a place of magic and beauty. A lot like the Disney fairy-tales I would binge watch with my sisters. Not only was I fascinated by the art of animation and storytelling, the little girl in me was also captivated by books. I would read and read and read hoping my mind wouldn’t detonate from all the visuals playing a dance in my wild imagination. I would dream of what I would see through the narratives.
And so I dreamt – of milk-skinned pale beauties with honey golden locks, silky dark curls and eyes like the ocean, eyes like sparkling emerald stones and eyes like hazel sands. I would dream of their beauty and how much I wished to be like them. I loved everything about storytelling, especially the fairy-tale elements of the trinkets of jewellery, flowing ball gowns and the diamond crowns. I was fascinated by the little elements that made a story glow. Be it the golden slippers, the poisonous apple, dwarfs, god-mothers turning pumpkins into carriages, ornaments of magic and even the Prince who slayed the dragon. It all intrigued my young mind into curiosity.
I imagined what it would be like to be a character in one of those ever so popular Disney stories that have stayed with not just me but young kids all around the world for so many generations. I’m talking Cinderella, Sleeping beauty, Alice in wonder land, Snow White and even Princess Jasmine from Aladdin who was at least some sort of Indian Asian beauty. Princess Jasmine and my all time favourite Pocahontas really stood out the most to me.
It was Princess Jasmine and Pocahontas’s physical attributes that made my mind snap. It was like a moment of truth – a moment of realization for a young ‘wanna-be’ princess like me at the time.

pocahontas
A Eureka moment.
For the first time in my life, I truly grasped the human traits and elements that these ‘made-belief’ characters actually possessed.
Princess Jasmine and Pocahontas were not…WHITE.

disney-princess_28129_8
The child in me realized for the first time that as human beings…even those in fiction and animation, we’re all different somehow.
And as I got older, my childhood books, cartoons, movies and dreams stayed with me. They found a place deep in my soul to bury themselves as parts of my most treasured memories. The narratives of the stories I read as a child stayed with me and collided with new ones from the novels I would read as a grown up. Mills and Boon Titles, The Circle Trilogy, The Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games, The Fifty Shades Trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia and the recent indie published titles like Callie Hart’s Blood and Roses Series or even Brenna Aubrey’s Gaming the system series. I loved them all and still do.
Yes.

I was an avid reader all throughout High School and Varsity and even now. I am a self-proclaimed addict. In all honesty, I guess you could truly say that I’m a romance book whore.
I’ve found many relatable insights and attributes of strength from the heroines in the books I’ve read. I’ve found the female leads really strong in heart and mind but it’s never gone further than that in the physical sense.
There’s been a hole in the commercial storytelling voice that I’ve been struggling to accept because I want to believe that the world can’t possibly be such a shallow place. There’s been a hole that has been growing, wider and wider over generations because Africa lacks enthusiasm for commercial fiction. Little black girls from Africa grow up admiring every form of voice but their own. Little black girls from Africa grow up seeking every form of beauty but their own because the world is a shallow place.
Nobody is going to give you what you think you don’t have. Nobody is going to write the stories that you think need to be told too. As an individual, you have to take a stand. Find something to fight for or it’s like you’re not really living at all.
There’s so much to be told. There’s so much to be discovered and made right in an era full of contamination and hate. Love is a fire and in order to keep it burning, we need to set our souls alight. Burn for something and in turn let the world feel the flames of our fire.
My fire happens to be storytelling.
Creating Ayanda Miya (The lead heroine in my book Crimson Muse) was emancipation, like rain showers after an immaculate drought. It was a birth – The coming of a new voice full of culture, anxiety, insecurities, pain, joy, honesty, love and most importantly (at least to me) brown skin and thick coarse hair. Finding Ayanda’s voice and giving justice to the unique, confused and somewhat strange young woman that I wanted her to be was also a challenge – One that I found pretty enjoyable. I got to be someone else for at least the duration of 80 000 words. I have grown pretty fond of Ayanda and all that she has to offer. I love her voice and I hope that my readers find her as beautiful as I do.
Get to know Ayanda Miya – my version of an urban cocoa princess. Ayanda Miya is a varsity drop out and struggling artist who wants to paint the world in colour even though it keeps giving her black and white. She also claims to know how to decipher people’s aura’s…like how weird is that, right?
Extract from Crimson Muse:
Aya
Colour over colour, shapes and curves creating intensity with every stroke. I see rainbows dancing in my mind as I paint. An avocado shade of green, over many flows of brown, I’m layering, stroke after stroke, line after line. My brush smudges over plastered clay paper.
Suffocation – I’m calling this one, suffocation. Today, after many years, I’ve finally worked on a new painting, something I haven’t done ever since my dad made a remark, about me wanting to draw cartoons for a living. I laugh at this as I finish off the final shade. Now, here I am. With a mirage of wild colours that reflect exactly how I’ve been feeling lately.
Suffocated – I’ve been feeling trapped in a life with no real purpose, no inspiration and nothing great to offer to the world. Over these past two days, like a fool, all I’ve been able to think about is that, weird pull of energy between Zak and I. Ok, maybe I’m just imagining it – my imagination is crazy these days especially now that I’ve started painting again. It’s all over the place. That energy can’t possibly be real. His aura must be lying to me because, I’m no fool – I know guys like Zak. Guys like that don’t notice strange girls like me, so there’s no way in hell that, that was possibly some kind of surreal connection. Like soul mates and shit.
Yes, I’m gullible like that and damnit, all I know is that I’ve never felt anything like it in my entire life. The power of it – the power of his aura is something I want to puzzle out and solve. I want to paint it, the colours of his aura and the strokes of his energy. I want to capture it in art. Silly, I know – sometimes my mind is a foolish childish palace. Soul mates – I mean seriously, I don’t believe in that crap anyway. Not that I want Zak’s advances or anything. I’m a loyal friend, so that means that, Khaya’s enemies are automatically my enemies too.
Download Crimson Muse for free on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/607939
But it on Amazon for as little as $1: http://www.amazon.com/Crimson-Muse-The-Book-ebook/dp/B01ANW5C8O/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0PF7X0E31N24DQR5RND3