King Solomon’s Mine

If word birthed world
Then I have the whole in my head

And on these pages are fragments – patches on paper
But life willing all will be revealed
Not in future but as it happens

Because as long as I keep digging deep
There’s a chance I might unearth some gold

Uncovering the value of myths in the mind through rhyme
Finally to rest on my deathbed at some age – old

Having first traversed the earth searching for riches
And stories to be told

Which all along were to be found at home
There – on the heath
In Great Zimbabwe
At King Solomon’s Mine

 

Heath Muchena, 2017


80.2

acknowledging reason is at times flawed
and understanding that one can never know it all
ought to humble even the most egotistical
and perhaps even save a soul

 

Heath Muchena, 2017


Design Indaba And Emerging Artists On The Scene In South Africa

design2rise
Image: design2rise

My recent Design Indaba experience was a first, but I got a good enough taste of what’s going on in the local design and art space. I can’t say it was what I expected but surprisingly I went away with some fresh perspectives and a new appreciation of design but also art in general.

Early summer evenings in Cape Town tend to be sort of celestial and this one was no different. It was warm with a cool breeze and an inviting atmosphere I can only attribute to the unique landscape. I got my pass and headed straight to the exhibitions. A fashion designer acquaintance and one of the Emerging Creatives at the 2017 exhibition Tangeni Kambudu was displaying a ready to wear collection so I figured it would be good to go and show my support.

The space allocated him was a couple of floors up so naturally I started looking at some of the stands positioned on the lower levels as I made my way up. Initially nothing particularly stood out but what was apparent was the fervent enthusiasm the artists seemed to have. It was fascinating to see how engaging the young artists coming from different parts of South Africa were.

Art has always brought out the inquisitiveness out of me, so in such settings I tend to come out of my shell a little and not only observe but participate as well by asking questions. Being a strategist, I must admit it has become a habit to try and gain insider perspectives about different markets whenever the opportunity arises, and in a conversation I had with an energetic graphic designer by the name of Lungile Mbokane, I got some of the answers I was after. Listening to him passionately divulge details about the struggles and triumphs of trying to make a successful living as an artist, I couldn’t help but relate.

What was even more captivating was how after I had made a few rounds, looking at the different works, I went past Lungile’s stand again only to find out that he had almost sold out of all the prints and originals that he had on display earlier on. The smile of satisfaction he wore as he was telling me how he’d have to get up early the next morning to ensure he has ample stock for the Saturday exhibition was what any entrepreneur who has had a good day would have on their face.

I believe it is a worthwhile investment for any nation to promote its artists by providing them with a platform for expression and to let their work connect with the people.

He acknowledged it was all worth it because of the feeling he got seeing customers appreciate his work and wanting to possess it, but also in the process affording him sustenance and the means to continue creating. A sentiment I shared. To know that some festival goers were impressed enough with the works on display to spend some money and in turn support the artist was quite encouraging.

My mate, who I was meant to meet up with in the first instance finally showed up, so we decided to head over to the Nightscape event which had a musical showcase staging on the Artscape piazza. But before we took off in that direction, we came across a few more artists that are worthy of mention. What caught my attention was the work of Fatima Mohammed Bham whose retail product package designs and transparent bags were quite unique.

Other captivating works were by interior architect Carien Momsen whose alpha-BET furniture range was tasteful and Ivan Brown whose Beegin project I found intriguing especially because I’m also involved in the industrial design sector. I believe it is a worthwhile investment for any nation to promote its artists by providing them with a platform for expression and to let their work connect with the people.

We finally moved on to where the music was live and were welcomed by the upbeat sounds of The Frown – a band whose sound I can’t compare to anything I’ve ever heard before – fronted by leading lady Rakow who has quite distinct vocals. Overall, the evening went spectacular and it was a good social vibe.

It was also nice to just see a diverse crowd really enjoying and celebrating South African arts. What I took away from the whole experience is mainly that art is still mankind’s great unifying factor and that our common humanity finds its true embodiment in our artistic creations and expressions.

Originally published in The Huffington Post 9/3/17


The Way of Joy

on the laundry line
articles blow in the wind

man, woman, child
in the garden picnicking

fun times in the sunny clime
fresh food on a mint blanket

good drink and lush greens
you’d think it was a market

love in their hearts, on their minds…
uplifted spirits

the joy a family unit brings
like a spring in the desert

 

Heath Muchena, 2017


On The Page The Ink Better Bleed

all he ever wanted
was to continue writing heuristic hymns
never sought fame or fortune, only dignified means

but life is such that
now he has to deal with the pressure
expectations that he’ll be the one to pioneer
and bring in more funds than Payoneer

a burden he will bear for his kindred without fear
besides, he expects nothing less of self
and the ink has bleeding through the nib of his quill since before the age of twelve
slowly sharpening his skill
so that in time he’ll transcend
to reach the pinnacle… sorta like Ray Dalio

and because a true vocation
requires patience and perseverance
he understands that for now it’s best to learn and keep the focus on getting better

 

Heath Muchena, 2017


11 Lobby Lane (the sequel)

Don’t you think a successful investment strategy in emerging markets has to factor in Veblen’s theory of ‘conspicuous consumption’, as well as take into account the undying nationalistic tendencies which are reviving protectionist sentiments in an increasingly intertwined global political economy?

You’re right. One only needs to look at the APAC region’s consumer activity. On the one hand, the buying behaviours are mirroring those of the West more and more that it could even be argued there’s an element of unintelligible emulation…

That assumption however would suggest those in developing economies are intellectually unfit to properly interpret symbols, which is not at all what I’m alluding to.

Well, you didn’t let me finish. I was going to say that on the other hand is the issue of pride or the so-called ‘patriot’s paradox’ which is what you were referring to by nationalistic tendencies, correct?

Right, yes. Because if you carefully observe, you’ll discover that the majority of those who are now part of that middle income bracket are still morally and ethically trying to grapple with the notions which seek to affirm that excess and waste are a standard feature of the developmental equation.

Of course, it clashes with their cultural reasoning.

Exactly, but then again, sooner or later the need for satisfaction always turns into a desire for status, which creates conditions perfect for indulgence. All this makes consumer behaviour unpredictable. So in order to be truly profit driven, a strategy needs to be responsive and allow a degree of flex…

Leave room for volatility – that unsettling mystery which all investors ultimately have to face. God save us!

Oh well, I guess the higher the risk the greater the return. So a clever investor would thoroughly assess the opportunities, threats, and every aspect of each venture before hedging in different sectors. And it all starts with understanding desire within the context of identity.

I see. A people’s mentality moves the market you mean?

Oh yes, so one has to certainly direct investment through changing market sentiments, true indeed!

 

Heath Muchena, 2017


Buttercup Blossom ii

her beautiful skin
brown as a Bourbon vanilla bean

and the fragrance worn
a flavourful phenomenon on its own

back where it all began
who would have known… still can’t believe we’re at it again

she seems grown
and I’m sure a lot has changed
but can’t say that about her taste
clearly she still has a thing for Goyard trunks and Birkin bags

still, when around me she keeps it simple
and in a powder blue Beetle we roll

cruising along the peninsula
John Mayer in the player
and we sing along to
The Search For Everything: Wave Two

intimate glances in between laughing at each other’s discord
and keeping our eyes on the road

 

Heath Muchena, 2017