For all official information and updates regarding COVID-19, visit the South African Department of Health's website at

Home » Articles Posted by Lerato Matlala (Page 6)

Author Archives: Lerato Matlala

FEATURE: Focalistic on representing Pitori and his #StayAtHomeConcert
8 August 2020, 8:47 AM

Creatives Under Lockdown is a SABC News feature that focuses on issues affecting artists. This week musician Focalistic talks about his virtual concert.

Musician Focalistic, also known as King Sacrimima. Facebook @Focalistic

Musician Focalistic’s song titled Ke Star is making waves in African countries including Botswana, Swaziland, and Mozambique. The song, which means, ‘I am a star’,  aims to encourage people to live their best lives.

The song features music producer and Baby Boy hitmaker Vigro Deep.

Focalistic, whose real name is Lethabo Sebetso, says the song is more relevant now since people are dealing with challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Everyone who listens to it must understand that no matter what they are going through, what is happening, o star (you are a star), you are the best to ever live. It is just to make a life worth living, just to make people feel cool and good about themselves in the midst of everything.” 

South Africa has been under lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus since March. With no gatherings allowed, Focalistic has been keeping his fans entertained through social media.  

“Social media is very instrumental because that is the platform we have to disseminate, spread our music, and kind of like connect with our fans. It is the only bridge to reach our fans, even with corona (coronavirus pandemic) you can see that that is the only way we can connect with our fans. “ 

The beginning 

The 24-year-old’s musical journey started when his father gave him an ultimatum to choose between buying him soccer boots or a microphone. Maradona, as he was affectionately known at the soccer grounds, chose the microphone. This was just before his father passed away. 

“He never got to hear my first song and for me, it has always been about expressing myself, how hurt I was and different subject matters started coming out into my head and since Grade 9 I have been making music. “ 

He also drew inspiration from artists including Khuli Chana, HHP, and Spikiri.

“HHP had this South African Maftown sound and he always represented his hood, as well as Khuli Chana, and for Spikiri he always had the baseline that was definitive to a song. So, for me, that is what I am about, baseline and representing my hood like Khuli Chana, catchy hooks like HHP, and representing South Africa as a whole to the world.” 



View this post on Instagram


🏆 Until we get a Grammy.

A post shared by PITORI MARADONA⭐️ (@focalistic) on

Working with stars

The University of Pretoria BA Political Science graduate went on to work with the music duo Major League in the songs 19 Tobetsa and Skhaftin which also features hip-hop musician Cassper Nyovest. Focalistic also features Nyovest in a song titled Never Know. Although he is currently doing well, his road has not been easy.  

“I think one of the greatest challenges is what people were saying at the time, that ‘you can’t graduate and then become a musician’, for me I broke all the barriers, I broke all the boundaries that people were setting for me.”

He aims to continue making his fan base, the Maradona Squad, proud through representing Ga Rankuwa, where he is from and surrounding areas in Pretoria. “Every song of mine is like taking a walk through the streets of South Africa. Be it in Sandton, Alexandra, or Pitori where I am from and where I represent. For me, it is about that.”

His #StayAtHomeConcert will be streamed live @1606Streams today at 4 PM.  Below is the conversation with Focalistic: 


Q: Who is your favourite artist right now?

A: Focalistic 

Q: Besides music what else are you involved in?

I’m heavily involved in politics still. I keep up with the news and sign the necessary petitions. I know it’s important for youth to be up to speed.

Q: What do you think about the future of Pitori music?

A: The future of Pitori music is in the world because we have such an authentic and raw sound; it will be one of South Africa’s biggest exports.

Creatives Under Lockdown related articles:

Related: Part 1Starving artist’ a more meaningful phrase amid lockdown

Related: Part 2: ‘I don’t know myself outside my world of acting’

Related: Part 3:  Letshego Zulu on fitness under lockdown 

Related: Part 4: Uzalo’s Wiseman Mncube shares his journey

Related: Part 5: Artists advised to spend prudently in order to survive rainy days

Related:  Part 6: Thabo Malema on the new enemy, his dream and COVID-19

Related: Part 7: Musician Tribute Mboweni on her collaboration with DJ Ganyani

Related : Part 8: Musician Shade on life as an independent artist

Related: Part 9:  Kabelo Letshwene talks about fine art

Related: Part 10:  From Queenstown to the world, Siphokazi Jonas shares her poetry and theatre journey

Related: Part 11: MusicianTzafenda to release new single titled “Its Alright”

Ramaphosa appoints Special Envoys to Zimbabwe
6 August 2020, 10:01 PM

President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Dr. Sydney Mufamadi and Baleka Mbete as his Special Envoys to Zimbabwe, following recent reports of difficulties that the Republic of Zimbabwe is experiencing.

Last week, some citizens took to the streets to protest against corruption. They were also calling for the government to work on improving the economic situation in the country.

A number of demonstrators, including journalists and opposition party members, have been detained.

In a statement, the Presidency says the Special Envoys are expected to engage with the Zimbabwe government and relevant stakeholders to identify ways in which South Africa can assist the country.

“The President’s Special Envoys will leave for Zimbabwe as soon as all the arrangements are made,” the statement notes.

The Envoys will depart as soon as travel arrangements are confirmed. South Africa had been criticised by many for not publicly commenting on the situation in the neighbouring country.

But on Thursday, the government said that International Relations Minister, Naledi Pandor, has been in communication with her counterpart regarding the developments.

AU urged to intervene

Earlier on Thursday, Zimbabwe’s High Court dismissed investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono’s appeal for bail. The journalist was arrested last month and charged with inciting public violence relating to last week’s protests.

This is a move that has been labeled vindictive by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

SABC’s Sherwin Bryce -Peas reports on the reaction to the court’s decision: 


The committee has also written to President Cyril Ramaphosa in his capacity as Chairperson of the African Union (AU), urging him to make the country adhere to the principles of the AU.

They refer to the declaration of people’s principles on freedom of expression and access to information in Africa which was adopted by the African Commission on Human and People’s rights within the African Union.

The committee has received confirmation of receipt of the letter by Ramaphosa’s office.

The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights says it’s closely monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe. The Commission says there’s no basis for arbitrary deprivation of liberty or torture of citizens.

Chairperson of the AU human rights body, Solomon Dersso spoke to our correspondent Coletta Wanjohi in Addis Ababa: 

In an interview with the SABC earlier, African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Ace Magashule said   President Cyril Ramaphosa in his capacity as AU chair is in communication with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa over the human rights crisis in that country.

Magashule said as the governing party, they are also conducting discussions with their Zimbabwean counterparts.  “President Ramaphosa as the leader of AU is in touch with President Mnangagwa and I think we should leave them and give them their space. And of course, we have talked to the Zimbabweans that are exiled in the country. They’ve raised their concerns and we are trying to facilitate discussions between them and ZANU-PF and the leadership of Zimbabwe.”

Meanwhile, the government has denied reports of human rights violations:

Thousands could flee to neighbouring states

Zimbabwe’s crackdowns could see thousands fleeing to neighbouring states. Zimbabwe’s cabinet has approved recommendations for legislation and a code of conduct to be put in place to regulate the operations and conduct of all political parties, and that campaigning against one’s country shall be legislated at law and criminalised.

Founder and Editor of ZimEye say the latest round of crackdowns will see thousands of Zimbabweans fleeing to neighbouring states:

Singing KwaZulu-Natal nurse cheers patients up amid coronavirus
6 August 2020, 9:25 PM

At the peak of the coronavirus in South Africa, 57-year-old nursing Sister Thathakahle Gumede lifts the spirits of the depressed and sick. They call her the singing nurse. She is loved by her patients and is making waves on social media.

SABC Journalist Mlondi Radebe and camerawoman Nomhle Ngubane spent a day with Gumede at Philani Clinic in Scottburgh outside Durban.

Gumede is the Operations Manager at the Philani Clinic in KwaCele, near Scottburgh, KwaZulu -Natal south coast. She is popular on social media and to her patients. She sings to her patients, cracks jokes, and even brings them food.

Gumede also grows vegetables at the clinic for poor patients. “By making them laugh, I make them forget just for a minute their problems.  I am treating them psychologically and emotionally.  When they come to me they talk to me about their problems,  that is emotional,  then physically they get their pills from nurses,” she explains.

Gumede, who has been a nurse for 33 years, is passionate about her work.  “The wellbeing, the health of my patients will be my first respective over anything, will be my first consideration then let’s make that work. We must respect our profession first, we are complaining today that nurses are not respected,  it’s because perhaps we need to respect our profession more and the only way of respecting our profession more is to do our work diligently and religiously.”

The patients adore her. “I love her jokes and the way she treats us in this clinic,” says patient Nyenyezile Mzulwini.

Gumede is soon to retire and has only one wish that younger nurses should take care of the profession. -Reporting by Mondli Radebe

Zimbabwe’s court decision to deny Chin’ono’s appeal for bail vindictive: CPJ
6 August 2020, 8:03 PM

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has labeled the decision to deny bail to an investigative journalist in Zimbabwe a vindictive move by authorities.

A High Court Judge earlier dismissed an appeal for bail by Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono which means his detainment will continue indefinitely.

“Obviously, we’re very disappointed. We’re still waiting to see the judgment so that we can understand why the judge decided to refuse the appeal. But it obviously has implications in terms of Hopewell himself. Let’s just talk about the fact that he is in Remand Prison. At the Remand Prison in Harare, conditions there are appalling … overcrowded! We are talking about a COVID-19 pandemic. And clearly, we’re concerned about his health and so, over and above the fact that frankly what he did cannot be considered a crime,” says African Programme Coordinator for the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, Angela Quintal.

Chin’ono was charged with inciting violence after tweeting support for nationwide protests against government corruption and worsening economic conditions.

The government says he was not targeted: 

Both the UN Secretary-General and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have called on Zimbabwe’s authorities to live up to their human rights obligations.

Quintal says Chin’ono is not the only journalist being harassed in the country.

“There’ve been several cases. In fact, Zimbabwe’s probably has the worst record in terms of attacks on journalists since the COVID-19 lockdown started in April. We have two other journalists currently in jail – Sam Takawira and Frank Chikowore – who are facing charges of contravening lockdown regulations simply because they were at a hospital to interview three opposition activists. We’ve seen other journalists who’ve been attacked, intimidated, harassed, and more recently we saw the case of Mduduzi Mathuthu who is in hiding, whose home was raided, sister was actually detained in an attempt to lure him. We’ve seen a very bad record of how the press is treated in Zimbabwe and I’m afraid the fact that Hopewell’s bail has been denied is obviously going to affect the media at large.”

SABC’s Sherwin Bryce-Pease reports from New York: 

Illegal movement intensifies at Beitbridge Border as hundreds of people cross into SA
6 August 2020, 6:42 PM

The illegal movement of undocumented foreign nationals known as ‘border jumpers’ is worsening around the Beitbridge Border between South Africa and Zimbabwe. This comes amid a crackdown by Harare on dissidents.

Hundreds of people cross illegally into South Africa daily to get to Musina and elsewhere.

Police and soldiers are seemingly unable to control them as they make their way through the recently constructed R37 million border fence.

Soldiers tried to stop the SABC News crew from reporting about activities of illegal movement of people along the border fence. Hundreds of undocumented Zimbabwean nationals cross the border into South Africa daily.

They illegally jump the borderline fence, walk through the bush to the N1 to get transport to Musina town and elsewhere. Later on in the afternoon, they walk back carrying goods including groceries, using the same route back into Zimbabwe.

They do that during the day under the watchful eye of the police and soldiers who cannot control the influx. The undocumented foreign nationals say they cross the border illegally as the economic situation back home is bad.


Situation difficult in Zimbabwe 

A Zimbabwean national whom the SABC crew met in the bush says things are difficult.

“As people, it is tough for us to survive because at home we are hungry. If things were better we would not be here. We don’t want to interfere with the police when they chase us because they are right. In other words, they are protecting us from the criminals in the jungle. The main point is that things at home are tough,” he says.

The Zimbabwean nationals – who are illegally crossing along the Beitbridge borderline into the country to buy food have thanked the soldiers and police patrolling the borderline for not stopping them. They say that law enforcement officers allow them free passage.

“The SAPS … we don’t have problems with them, but the main problem is our Zimbabwean soldiers and police. They are demanding large amounts for us to come to South Africa.”

The Health and Social Development departments say that the high number of people flocking into the small border town of Musina is putting a strain on government services. Some women and children from Zimbabwe are often seen wandering in the streets begging for food and money.

Social Development Spokesperson Witness Tiva says 41 unaccompanied minors were picked up in the streets and are being kept at a private place of safety in Musina.

“We also work with the Department of Home Affairs for further processing of unaccompanied minors, upon identification of unaccompanied minors the referral is sent to social workers for assessment and temporary placement. The number of children placed at the shelter is 41,” says Tiva.

The police’s Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo says alcohol and illicit cigarettes worth millions of rands have been confiscated in the area since the start of the lockdown.



SABC © 2020