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The master of the makarapa

first_imgThe man behind makarapas, Alfred Baloyi, and hisunique fan gear. (Image: Bongani Nkosi) Scan the crowds at any major football match in South Africa and what will immediately stand out are the elaborately carved and colourfully decorated plastic hard hats settled on fans’ heads.Known as the makarapa – isiXhosa for the migrant workers who wore hard hats on the mines – this iconic adornment is, with the noisy vuvuzela trumpet, an important part of the local football matches’ festival atmosphere. But it is not a fly-by-night commercial gimmick; it’s the brainchild of a highly talented artist who invented it not just for show, but for safety.The idea came to Alfred Baloyi, now 51, in 1979 at a local derby in Soweto, South Africa’s largest township, in the southwest of Johannesburg. Soweto derbies, traditionally played by top local teams Kaizer Chiefs, Moroka Swallows and Orlando Pirates, are tense affairs, and crowds can become unruly. At this particular match Baloyi saw a bottle flying through the air about to hit another fan’s head. At that moment, the idea for the makarapa hit Baloyi.“We used to go to the stadium without wearing anything on our heads and it was dangerous,” he said. “I realised that these hard hats could protect me.”Baloyi, an ardent supporter of Kaizer Chiefs, known locally as Amakhosi, started collecting plastic helmets, painting them in his team’s yellow and black colours and adding its emblem. Initially, these were only for himself.With only primary school education, Baloyi was employed as a municipal bus cleaner in Pretoria at the time, but soon became totally focused on his new-found art. His work didn’t stop at hats either: he began painting workmen’s overalls in the Amakhosi colours, transforming them into vivid and gaudy fan gear.Other football fans started to notice, and asked him to sell his makarapas on the spot, and gave him their overalls to paint.Makarapas mean business“Supporters taught me business. They used to say, ‘This is beautiful. Sell it to me’,” Baloyi said.By the 1980s Baloyi was starting to make money from his makarapas, which he sold for R7 apiece. But he never stopped thinking up ways to craft a better product.I caught up with Baloyi at his small shack in an informal settlement in Primrose, east of Johannesburg. The shack is like most in the area: there’s little light inside and barely enough space to do any sort of work.But this is where Baloyi, known as “Magistrate” or “Professor” to his fans and friends because of his impressive skills, creates the beautiful helmets.In his work room, which reeks of paint, there is a display of finished and unfinished products, and his personal archive of newspaper clippings and photos. One article, written by Don Makatile and published by Drum magazine in 1999, is prominently placed.It was in 1990 that Baloyi started carving pieces out of the plastic hard hats and manipulating them so they stood upright, changing the headgear’s traditional shape. As he recalls, it was at the request of his friend and fellow football trendsetter, Saddam Maake.Now one of the defining features of the makarapa is its many intricate protrusions, which make the hat appear far larger and taller than it really is. The outward pieces are sometimes fashioned into horns, emblems of local or international sports teams, or expertly cut into the shape of football players dribbling a ball.Baloyi started out by selling his makarapas at stadiums and taxi ranks, but business has taken off, so he now takes orders. Some of these come from large South African companies such as Absa and Vodacom, who buy the headgear for their staff to wear at matches.“I am having more and more companies putting in orders,” Baloyi said. “Individuals are also ordering.”Baloyi’s work is sold through Makarapa Integrated Marketing, a company he founded with sports marketing expert Grant Nicholls, and his production rights are protected under the trademark “Baloyi Makarapa”.The current makarapa price ranges between R300 ($47) and R500 ($67), depending on the accessories Baloyi adds – some customers have special requests. He’s now able to create at least two a day.His makarapa earnings have allowed Baloyi, a father of five, to build a “big and fine” house for his family in Kgabyane village in Limpopo province, as well as to send his 20-year-old daughter, Calphina, to college to study graphic design.“My dad’s art is special,” Calphina said. “He did not learn it in school, but he’s making interesting things. I would like to take over from him one day.”For Baloyi, it’s all about family. “I want to give my family a better life,” he says. “I have to grow it [the makarapa brand] and leave a legacy for my children.”World Cup feverNicholls and Baloyi plan to build a factory that will employ young artists to produce thousands of makarapas in a month – this has always been Baloyi’s dream.Other companies and individuals are picking up the makarapa craze and beginning to make their own, but Baloyi isn’t worried. “I’m not scared by the competition I now have. My makarapas are different because I use my hands to make them and I paint them very well.”Baloyi is a busy man and his phone hardly stops ringing, with old and new customers placing orders.While I was there two calls came through, one from a Golden Lions rugby supporter, and the other from a Coca Cola employee – identified only as Lerato. She was making plans to fly him to Cape Town on 4 December, apparently for the 2010 Fifa World Cup draw.Baloyi is expecting business to boom in the months leading up to the tournament, which kicks off on 11 June 2010. “I know most orders will come next year before the World Cup,” he said. “I will have to work very hard.“When people come to South Africa next year they must come to Primrose to see the father of makarapa. Going back to their countries with a makarapa would be the only way to show that they were indeed in South Africa.”Celebrity football fansMost of the regular, well-known football fans in South Africa – especially in Gauteng province – proudly wear Baloyi’s makarapas. Their headgear, together with their impressive dance moves, singing and vuvuzela-blowing, always attract television cameras and help to get the crowd going.These regulars try to attend as many matches as possible and often pool money so they can travel across the country to work their magic.World Cup visitors are likely to hear some of their names and nicknames, including Baloyi himself, Saddam, Masilo Machaka, Mdokies, Mzioni Mofokeng, Gladys Bailey and uNtshebe. These fans will be seated in the front row of 2010 matches to stir up the atmosphere and drum up support for South Africa’s national squad, Bafana Bafana.Machaka, also a staunch Chiefs fan, says he has never worn and never will wear a makarapa made by anyone other than Baloyi. “Baloyi’s makarapas are different, and that’s why we call him Professor,” he said.“This is the best man for the job. When people want makarapas, especially international supporters coming to South Africa next year, they must go to him.”last_img read more

Infographic: how South Africa fared in the RWC2015

first_imgSouth Africa gave a stellar performance in this year’s Rugby World Cup, despite experiencing a shocking start when they lost in their opening match against Japan. Overall, the Springboks secured a solid third place following their 24-13 bronze play-off win against Argentina. Research and text: Priya Pitamber Graphic: Sachin Baboo Click on the image below for a larger view. Source: Rugby World Cup That is a hat-trick try to @BryanHabana as he scores 64th test try and another in RWC history joining Jonah Lomu = 15 pic.twitter.com/hvefZGuyfd — South African Rugby (@Springboks) October 7, 2015Having equalled @JONAHTALILOMU‘s RWC try record of 15, @bryanhabana enjoyed the moment with fans after RSA’s win https://t.co/aMsDN7tqwf — Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 7, 2015What a privilege it has been pic.twitter.com/qCwNBy3oRG — Victor Matfield (@VictorMatfield) October 31, 2015Now that’s what we call a selfie. #RSA pic.twitter.com/uHuxYWWmgC — Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 30, 2015#RSA and #ARG, you’ve been great. Thanks for the #RWC2015 memories! pic.twitter.com/shdGgjrtdk — Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 30, 2015last_img read more

Quit Crashing Your Computer: Editing 4K in Adobe Premiere

first_img4K footage looks amazing but if you don’t know how to set up your projects it can make video editing a real nightmare.It seems like every filmmaking website has tons of articles about 4K resolution. You hear news articles about the latest 4K cameras like the Blackmagic 4K and the Lumix GH4, meanwhile your computer freezes when editing HD video. So you may be wondering, how in the world am I supposed to edit in 4K?Thankfully you probably don’t have to buy a new computer…but you do need to understand how to set up your projects so they can more easily intemperate large 4K files. In the following video Luke Neumann shows us how to edit 4K footage without bogging down your computer. The process is surprisingly easy and can be done using only Adobe Premiere and After Effects.The video covers:Editing Raw source settings in PremiereImporting Premiere Pro Sequences into After EffectsPre-comps in After Effects. To download the Raw RED Scarlet 4K file click the link below their video in YouTube. Be warned: The file is 1.3GB.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIbD6LoOQDEThe video was created by Luke Neumann from Neumann Films. Thanks for sharing!Know of any better ways to edit 4K footage in Premiere? Share in the comments below.last_img read more

Those living in Bengal must speak Bengali: Mamata

first_imgWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday that people from other States will have to speak in Bengali in West Bengal.While the message evoked mixed response in the social media, with many Bengalis opposing the idea, it appeared to be a clear attempt message to create space for linguistic and regional nationalism to counter religious nationalism. The idea has been advocated by various language pressure groups in the State for some time.“We have to take Bangla forward. When we go to Delhi we speak in Hindi, when we go to Punjab we have to speak in Punjabi. I do it. When I go to Tamil Nadu, I don’t know the Tamil language, but I know a few words. So in the same way if you are coming to Bengal you have to speak in Bengali,” Ms Banerjee said.She further added that “people from outside cannot come to beat up Bengalis.” Ms Banerjee was addressing a rally in Kanchrapara in North 24 Parganas district. Two key leaders of the area, Mukul Roy and Arjun Singh, moved to the BJP from the TMC.“In Naihati, Kakinara, Barrackpore, houses of Bengalis have been ransacked. We will not tolerate this. Our party cadres didn’t ransack houses of non-Bengalis here. We are against this sort of violence,” she said.“Just because they have won a few seats by programming EVMs doesn’t mean that you can beat up Bengalis and minorities in the state. We will not tolerate this. The police will take action against the hooligans. If someone is living in Bengal he or she has to speak in Bengali,” Ms Banerjee said. A Trinamool Congress advisor told The Hindu that the Chief Minister wais “concerned” about the “growing political clout of the people who do not speak Bengali and are from other States.”“So long these communities only pushed their economic interest in the State but being affluent now they are also pushing their political interests, contesting elections and influencing agendas, as every party has substantial number of people who have come to the State over last few years. This has bothered the Chief Minister,” the advisor said. Ms. Banerjee, however, said that she had “nothing against non-Bengalis living in Bengal.” “But the BJP is trying to create a Bengali and non-Bengali divide. I would urge them not to test our patience. We will never allow Bengalis to become homeless in Bengal,” she said. Alleging that the BJP was trying to turn West Bengal into another Gujarat, she alleged that just like the BJP engineered riots in the western state to retain power, it was trying to use the same technique in Bengal.“We have nothing against Gujarat or residents from that state. We are against the politics of riots that the BJP had followed in that state and is trying to replicate here. As long as I am there I would never allow them to turn Bengal into another Gujarat,” she said.(With PTI inputs)last_img read more