“PTA is dead man! Besides one or two rappers doing their thing, what does it have going?” he said. His words had a disparaging ring to them however they held an unuttered truth. This gentleman – whose name will remain anonymous because he hasn’t earned the clout points which warrant a proper mention – laid bare the frustration of some of our fair city’s culture- obsessed residents. Our exchange bared resemblance to the raucous merriment at a black family gathering that is soured by an exposition of a long kept family secret by a drunken elder (never a youngster). uMalume driven wild by a calabashe of fermented sorghum beer ends the time honoured code of silence agreed upon decades ago in an unceremonious way. Invariably the man’s monologue is a barrage of drunk truths interspersed by deep sobs and punctuated by mumbled curses to the person(s) perceived as his lifelong enemy(s).
As fate will have it the man whom I considered umalume let it rip and hang all loose. In our chats Anonymous hit the right points as quickly as he threw back the copious dumpies of refrigerated Zamalek. “Of course PTA is not dead but it’s not exactly brimming with any exciting stuff” I said to myself twice; once in a mirror softly and the other time in a taxi packed beyond its fifteen seater capacity. The breakdown of PTA’s foremost youth culture institutions has lent a grave like silence to a place formally known as the hub of everything cool.
From early afternoon to on a Friday, crammed between fellow spectators, curious onlookers manning their vending stalls and disinterested shoppers buzzing by is where any kid would be if they needed a fix of rarely available youth culture. We knew what it was before it was before it had a name. Our main stomping grounds namely the quad outside State Theatre and Sammy Marks square bear the indelible marks from firm pounding by Timberland boots in many of the dance battles and the mortified face a rapper left behind after being booed off stage and the moving, shuffling by engaged spectators. The audiences from our neighboring cities dismissed the growing monster as a shameless derivative of their own cultural scene. Of course haters will hate.
As quickly as it rose it came down. Standing atop the heaps of what used to be the cultural landscapes, established institutions as well as budding entrepreneurial projects, is a fresh faced generation deeply concerned with the dispiriting state of affairs. All attempts to build a living monument to the beloved culture have been exhausted. Even the resurgence of popular subcultures - Barcadi music being one of them - was met with disapproving gazes and averted expression (turned backs). 2012 proved to be both the defining point of the culture (the zenith) and the last days of intermingling between the hip hop cats, maBujwa and the faithful documentarians who captured the happenings of the period between 2007 and 2012. The post-2012 masses have made one point abundantly clear “there is no point in reliving a bygone era.”
Incidentally, “skillx ’n flow.” (yes us) are the proud by-products of that machinery which faithfully ran its course. You have to have been an active participant in all the impromptu dance battles, disruptive parties that drove crazy all the permanently ensconced neighbor suburbia , even ridiculous glamour competitions to understand the significance of that time in Pitori’s history. As naturalized citizens who’ve learned to love the city before ourselves, we scoff at the loudmouth visiting surveyors who reinforce Anonymous’ erroneous assessments. But secretly take cognizance of the dire condition of our scene and what it will take to rebuild. Now it’s time to suck up guts, pull up pants and socks and carry ourselves to the forefront. The failure of our predecessors to capitalize on the rise of mainstream is the needed stepping stone for the youngins to take over. Who covers the parties, writes the reviews, and promotes the parties, give the music a platform when all the oldheads are taking 5 hour naps? As self-elected candidates we’d love to take duties from our idling seniors. This site, our brand and ambitions are the culmination of years of soaking up game, eradicating any wackness (inherited or learned), waiting on opportunities to swing by then knocking them squarely out of the park through a series of concerted efforts and more wackness eradication. The understudies have become the equivalents of the pioneers.
Up next is what we believe will shut the naysayers up for good or at least until the adhesive has worn thin from the tape pressed over their lips. As well as give the much awaited spotlight to the criminally underrepresented wave of talented musicians, visual artists, dancers, fashion designers and writers. It wouldn’t be Pitori Mahlanyeng if a few eccentrics didn’t set out on an adventurous undertaking. The kids are too busy to read fanzines, gig guides, culture magazines. They want it all condensed into a user friendly platform. And just like Martin “You know we love the kids”.
So here it is kids. Of course its not all Pitori - we cover it all from Eastrand to Kimberly. Here is the platform which rolls out news feed as quickly as they happen (give or take a few hours to compile and arrange into digestible portions). Reviews, updates on the latest local music releases, coverage of events on the social calendar, are all available here. If the preceding sentence reads to you like the poster from a kasi spaza shop is because it was intended to produce that very effect. If you need it ASAP and you can’t depend on the megastore or chain suppliers we’ll parcel it out to you without any charge. We would harp on about the expertly curated content but it’s been a whole paragraph or two of unashamedly self-promoting the brand. Take a moment after your siesta to mock or validate our claims by checking out the rest of the site. While you peruse the pages of our newly minted site please hold on to all comments and suggestions. There’ll be space to unload them on the section down below or above or on the next page. We’ll try to take the projected bile or indirectly presented compliments as best as possible.
In summary, “skillx ’n flow.” the brand as well as the ambassadors of Pitori, stand for making cool sh*t despite the growing pressures to do the opposite. Giving the cool sh*t a conducive environment to develop, and propagate to the masses is our biggest priority. Furthermore, we believe in building communities outside of our secluded social spaces on the net and irl. We are committed to joining fellow internet junkies, art lovers, through the type of media content and craft and information that will make our elders blush. The sheer force of our collective power, can sink a boat or shut the trolls up or squash the decade long beef between AKA and the rest of South Africa. The worlds of social commentary and interaction, music and art appreciation, youth culture, fart jokes, criticism and satire all live on this digital platform in a tacit balance tethered to each other around a glowing magnetic center. The center is you - the audience. Try not to be square by missing out…