Friday, May 22, 2009


What started out as a half funny side story has become dead serious. The South African High Commission in Mozambique has confirmed that Prophet and his friends will be tried for sabotage and they have lodged a formal appeal to visit Prophet in jail in Tete. It is good that they are in contact with Mrs Ngwato.  

Thank you for all those who have made contact with Mrs Ngwato and we look forward to your support as we prepare to go to Mozambique. We will go to Tete as soon as possible. In the meantime, we should find a way of raising money to help Mrs Ngwato visit her son and get independent legal council.The show of goodwill and solidarity has been powerful.

Please spread the word.  

Friday, May 15, 2009


Prophet Bonginkosi Ngwato is in jail in Mozambique. He is one of four men arrested on charges of  terrorism and sabotage. His mother knew something was wrong, when she started having bad dreams, long before she knew about his troubles. Two days before I got the news that Prophet was arrested in  Mozambique, for throwing 'rainmaking objects' into the Cahora Basa Dam, I received a phone call from her. I could feel that familiar sighing that mother's do  when they want you to feel their words. "Where is my son? I cannot sleep at night, I keep having bad dreams about him." She told me, expecting me to lift the weight of her worry by saying that he was with me, or something like that. She knew that he had gone on a trip to Zambezi with some people but she did not understand what he was going to do there.  I assured her that Bonginkosi would be fine. He was traveling with a good man, Dr George Richl  on a mission to save the African environment by making the rains fall. "What kind of rains?" she asked me. I fumbled with my thoughts, because even now I cannot explain that PROPHET left with a well-intentioned man who uses  crystals to radiate positive energy. I  could not explain  orgon energy. I am sure PROPHET struggled to explain Orgon energy to her before he left. I just kept telling her that it was about making rain. "But how do they do this?" she pressed me, obviously expecting me to know more about this movement called ORGONISE AFRICA.  "Don't worry. I said, George Richl, is a good guy. I met him, he travelled with me and PROPHET to go and see the great Credo Mutwa. Hey, and Credo Mutwa also knew the guy."Something in her sighs told me was not convinced.  "My dreams are troubling me, please find my son." she said before the phone went dead, just as was still explaining that she too has the gift of prophecy. 

Two days later, after reading the Sunday Times I had to  let her know that her son was arrested in Mozambique. She did not let me finish my story. "What has he done? Bonginkosi, Oh Bathong!" I spoke over her sounds of hurt. "They say he and his friends were throwing harmful substances in the most important dam in Africa." With a sigh still heavy with weeping, she interrupted me, "How can they arrest them for creating rain, Steve what are you telling me?" I begged her to phone the Department of Foreign Affairs and to contact our foreign mission in Mozambique, because the newspapers said Mr Gebuza, the president of Mozambique was very angry. This was all too much for her. She kept quiet for a bit and I kept telling her, this is an open and shut case. THE PROPHET will come home.  She broke my desperate consolations with one of her weighty sighs, "what am I going to do? I don't even have airtime."

When I met PROPHET, five years ago, he was still called Joseph. His  age-mates in Boikhutso Location call him Oupa. He was just coming into his manhood when he found himself in Johannesburg looking for a job with no matric.  He was lured into the insides of the perplexing home of gold. "The Rage of Beauty" he calls it, the pinnacle of a civilization  where cash and flesh are the only gods worth worshiping when humanity spins  on an axis of meaninglessness. Caught in the nauseating beat of  a bad house music track, the PROPHET revolted against the the fake dreams of greed beamed from all directions as history goes into overdrive. Unable and unwilling to join the rush of want that makes us all worship at the cathedrals of consumerism. He draped himself in cloths with sacred symbols and strode the city streets with a wooden staff, sticking out like a peace flag in a war-zone. 

When he fled the impoverished craddle of Boikhutso location, next to Lichtenburg, where his mother still lives with his three brothers and one sister, he just wanted to be on TV. He was prepared to do anything have his voice and his image on that screen. He went looking for Vuyo Mokwena, he camped outside Dali Tambo's house, too scared to approach him as he stood on his balcony. He came close to his dream when he joined a casting agency and ended up organising extras for Isidingo. Blown by faiths and spirits in a city of poets he had to find his core. And it was here, in the hungry alleys of  johannesburg, that his spirit toughened with new insight about his place, in this space. Behind the open mike he bellowed truths  in Setswana calling himself Prophet JD. He even recorded his message over a crazy house music. Yet in all the confusion and the pain, all he wants to be is a messenger of goodwill using the unknown but maligned ways of his ancestors. He told me that he wants to be an African scholar in the tradition of The Great Credo Mutwa. When he left for this Safari, he was still wrestling with the rigors and the demands of his 'chosen' mission. He left incomplete rituals, unclosed circles, unfinished manuscripts and new love in the back room of a Soweto house. The path of the PROPHET is not for the meek and feeble-minded. Many times I  do not agree or understand the many things that he tells me, when the moon is angry, but I am totally convinced that he is a PROPHET. Any human-being who is prepared to stand up for the healing and transformation of his people --  is a Prophet. And God knows. we need genuine prophecies because the presence of our ancestors is being drowned out by the post-digital cacophony where fake is real and real is fake. Bonginkosi is a genuine article and like all prophets before him, his, is a path of suffering where the soul is often entangled in the cruel barbwire of time. There is no doubt that he will come out refined and ready to take his craft to another level. In the meantime, we must worry about the heavy heart of a mother who stops herself  from crying by sighing when her dreams take her to the insides of a jail cell in a land she does not know. 


Personally I am more annoyed than worried because I know that THE PROPHET lives large in poverty, as he often says. The gods always make a plan for him, no matter how austere.  
When PROPHET came to tell me that he was going to the Zambezi, he was in fact looking for a pair of boots. This request  opened a portal for him to recieve blessings  from Kamal El alaoui, the Mystic/Teacher, who now perches grudgingly in London having left a pair of shoes in johannesburg. Kamal wrote.

"It will be a great pleasure to have someone using my shoes, in stead of them dying the slow death of decay. These shoes are blessed and have faithfully served me on many long journeys, they are artistically contaminated, the person may experience artistic explosions of creativity, some dancing and fancy moves, long interesting journeys travel, meeting lots of beautiful people and may come to lots of money!!! I reserve the right on this last one as a I must be a partner.Permission granted for the shoes.I can't wait come back home."

"Blessed Love." That is all THE PROPHET said when he read Kamal's words. I encouraged him to go with George Richl to Zambezi. After all what is one more mythology to a PROPHET already creating his own. I even gave him a copy of  Ben Okri's Songs of  Enchantment to take with him. Everything told me this was a mission of goodwill that is experimenting with new ways of dealing with the catastrophic effects of humanity on earth. Dr Richl and his wife, Fredericke and all the people who are actively searching for alternatives ways of being in the world, must be must be supported, I told him. THE PROPHET can only be strengthened by his dialogues with seekers of all orientations.  And hey, lets face it, a famished PROPHET needs to go out of the city every once in a while. I too would not mind to be part of a goodwill safari where I can drench my ghetto soul in the lushness of Africa's eternal wisdom.  But I am not brave enough to break the law on any expedition and this is what makes this a sad and serious matter, The international press is livid. The incident has triggered diplomatic activity that includes the  German Government, the South African Government and the Mozambican government, The Government of Portugal and the Government of Botswana. None of them have called Mrs Ngwato. The president of Mozambique is also justifiably perturbed and this can only make the case more difficult. And now that Kamal shoes are in the picture, we may have to include the Moroccan and the British Governments as well. 
No wonder president Gebuza is angry. I am sure he is asking the same question that Mrs Ngwato is asking. "If these men are bringing good, why don't they tell us about it -- who knows we might even help them throw it in the right places?"  

I started this blog spot as way of taking out messages of solidarity and support for PROPHET and his friends. Jail is not a good place for anyone, not even a stoic young Prophet who sometimes enjoys bashing himself against great odds.   

We have it on good authority that the substances that they were throwing around are being tested by forensic laboratories in South Africa. They have already been tested by Mozambican authorities and the lawyer, secured by the Richl family is confident they will be released soon. We are thankful to hear that our government is also involved in trying to have the matter resolved. In the meantime please pass this on and encourage people to send their prayers and good vibes. In fact, send it to the governments of Mozambique, Botswana, Germany and Portugal...Don't fogert Morocco, or anyone who can do something. Anything. Unless you have better a idea of what we must do. It  has been two weeks... Our mission is try and get Mrs Ngwato to go and see her son. I am sure the South African Foreign Mission will help. Use your contacts and to talk the good people you know.  Someone must still tell MaNgwato, how rainmaking in the 21st century can lend a good-boy in jail. In the press, Prophet is  referred to as a 21 year old  tour guide from Credo Mutwa Village who calls himself a prophet. He is 30 for godsake. It is not hard to get yourself lost in a foreign jail.




TUESDAY, MAY 5, 2009

South African man held in Mozambique for sabotage

Tell the world on
SA man held in Mozambique for sabotage 05/05/2009 15:49 - (SA)

Maputo - Four foreign nationals, including a South African, have been arrested for allegedly trying to sabotage a hydro-electric dam, Mozambique police said on Tuesday.
Pedro Cossa, national police spokesperson, told reporters in Maputo at a weekly briefing that a South African, a Botswanan, a German and a Portuguese national were arrested.
The four had allegedly attempted to put a corrosive chemical in the turbines of the Cahora Bassa hydro-electric dam on the Zambezi River.
Cossa said police had confiscated 500kg of the yet to be identified corrosive substance.
"The suspects were caught putting the substance into the dam's turbines," said Cossa.
No further details were given and investigations were underway.
He did not reveal the names of those detained.
Cahora Bassa, which produces 2 075MW short of its potential of 14 000MW of power is touted as one of the solutions to the power crisis in the Southern African Development Community region.
The dam supplies power to South Africa, Mozambique and Malawi. There are plans to connect Botswana, Tanzania and Swaziland.
The dam was built by the colonial Portuguese government in 1974 and in November 2007, ownership of the dam was transferred from Portuguese control to the Mozambican government.


Mozambique arrests 'dam plotters'


Four people who were plotting to sabotage one of the largest hydro-electric dams in Africa have been arrested in Mozambique, police say.

The detained were foreigners caught with materials designed to damage the Cahora Bassa dam in north-western Mozambique, according to state media.

The suspects were from South Africa, Botswana, Germany and Portugual, police reportedly said.

The accused allegedly tried to put a corrosive chemical in the dam turbines.

National police spokesperson Pedro Cossa told a weekly briefing in Mozambique's capital, Maputo, that 1,100lb (500kg) of the unidentified corrosive substance had been confiscated, reported the South African Press Association.

"The suspects were caught putting the substance into the dam's turbines," Mr Cossa was quoted as saying by Sapa.

The Cahora Bassa dam, on the Zambezi River, is a vital source of electricity for Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Built in 1974 when Mozambique was still a Portuguese territory, ownership of the dam transferred two years ago to the Mozambican government.

Mozambique is among African countries which have pledged to provide electricity to South Africa during next year's World Cup to prevent power cuts.


MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) - Mozambique police have arrested four foreigners in connection with an alleged plot to sabotage the African country's largest hydroelectric dam, officials said Wednesday.

The four _ from South Africa, Botswana, Germany and Portugal _ tried to place a corrosive chemical in the turbines of the Cahora Bassa dam in the northwestern province of Tete, Interior Ministry spokesman Pedro Cossa said Wednesday.

State radio reports they were arrested over the weekend.Cossa did not say what the motive might have been, and would not name the suspects.

These people will be brought to trial, after the investigation is concluded,he said.

The dam, built during Portugal's rule of the southeastern African nation, had been the subject of protracted negotiations. It was handed over to Mozambican control last year, 33 years after independence in 1975.
The Mozambican state owns 85 percent of the dam and Portugal owns the rest.

The dam generates electricity for Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa. 

Foreigners try to sabotage Mozambique dam
cahora_bassa_dam.jpgThe Cabora Bassa dam
Maputo - Four foreign nationals have been arrested for attempting to sabotage the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi river in central Mozambique, police announced on Tuesday.

The suspects were caught putting an unknown corrosive chemical in the turbines of the hydro-electric dam in Tete province, national police spokesman Pedro Cossa said.

They were described as a 50-year-old German soldier and architect, a 21-year-old South African, a 30-year-old Portuguese hotel worker and a 28-year-old pilot from Botswana.

Tete police chief Jamal Chande said samples of the substance had been sent to the capital for analysis and criminal charges have been filed against the men. 
Police confiscated 500 kilos of the substance.
"They are suspected of attempting something. Now they were transferred to the judiciary in Tete to face the accusation," he said.
The Cabora Bassa dam, which was built by Mozambique's former colonial power Portugal in 1974, has a capacity of 14 000 megawatts of power. It is a key source of electricity for Mozambique and its neighbours, South Africa and Malawi. 


Thursday, May 14, 2009


The newspapers have not bothered to ask who Joseph Ngwato is. They treat him like a disposable negro; "a South African who claims to be a prophet. 'the tour guide from Credo Mutwa Village' PROPHET is a special talent, one of our country's finest young artists who will leave a positive mark on this time. The Prophet was born Joseph Bonginkosi, Nhlanhla, Mmalehi, Tello, Oupa, Ngwato. The fatherless son with seven names. His story is coming out in the forth-coming documentary film, OUR FATHER WHO ART IN MEMORY. PROPHET is a writer, poet, and performer who was the lead in the Award Winning Film, A Blues for Tiro.

Before his capture in Mozambique, we were preparing to do work on a feature length documentary about his life - THE PROPHET - A BIOGRAPHY IN DREAMS AND METAPHORS. The videos are from the unfinished film...