Babalwa Mhlauli

Lovelight flower Babalwa


"I will not be concerned at other men not knowing me; I will be concerned at my own want of ability." Confucius


Dear God


Do you remember my utter disappointment when I was advised by adults not to study at tertiary level the only thing that mattered most to me, FINE ARTS! Life stopped and I didn't really care much for anything else that I would study. I've always know that my calling was to unite people from all walks of life on planet earth, thus I  studied Travel and Tourism. I didn't like it at all except for the Public Relation course. I grew up madly inlove with music especially hip-hop! I use to learn Tupac's songs and Biggie Smalls. Who could ever forget that classic by Jay Z and Mary, Method Man and Mary? I was required to present something in my Public Relations Class, but I didn't prepare in good time. My friend use to give me Vibe Magazines to read. So on the morning of my presentation I quickly read about the life of Quincy Jones, I thus gave a presentation based upon a paragraph which I had read a few minutes before our class. I have no idea how I did it, but my lecturer was super impressed. I received something like a B+. Little did I know that one of Quincy's musicians whom my friends and I had a girlish crush on would visit Cape Town that summer.


We were working in one of the shops at the Waterfront. Somebody came to our store to tell us that, the musician as well as Grandfather Mandela were around. Ohhhh M G!!!!


Say What???:-)


We ran out of the shop, leaving it wide open and unattended! Without stopping, we would ask,

Did you see President Mandela? Somebody would say this way! somebody would say that way! We were screaming, causing so much havoc, beyond ecstatic! People just starred in disbelief! We really couldn't be bothered,

Ha ha ha! All we wanted was our grandfather. We were tired when we finally spotted him from a distance!


We screamed out loud,


"There he is!"

Ha ha ha!

Just seeing him energized us, we were no longer tired. We ran full force with boundless energy! So excited, so so excited!  The people didn't know what hit them! They didn't know whether they should run with us to grandfather or just stand there. Adrenaline was pumping, we were on fire! Eventually we reached him, little did we know that we had to deal with security in order to get to him. Well thank God, that was the least of my problems. Security just laughed when they saw me. They were elated, opened the way for me to speak to our dearest beloved grandfather. See I'm always smiley, smiley girl, people feel the love! Now you can imagine two huge smiles lighting up space and  inviting everyone to join inn. We spoke and it seems and feels like everyone was a part of that conversation. There were moments that explosive with joy in our conversation and moments that were extremely heart wrenching, everybody saw it, felt it and no one wanted to ask further about what brought so much sadness in our eyes. Everyone was touched too although they didn't hear a word!


When we eventually left, my friends were so so so happy, they felt like they personally shook grandfather's hand. They felt included although security didn't allow too many people to come close. I felt healed, loved and at peace with life. All was well with the pulse of humanity in the four corners of Earth. He liked my hair. I caught him suppressing laughter the minute he saw it. It was golden, on a golden girl with a bright smile! (The TRC commissioners called me Nwel'ezelanga (sun hair)! Whenever they didn't see me they would look around and ask;

Where's sun hair, laughing?) My grandfather said it was grey hair and I no longer look beautiful! Ha ha ha! My six year old cousin said,


"Yhu Babalwa you so ugly!"

The minute she saw me. She was running, going to the cafe, but my hair stopped her in her tracks. Journalist who covered the TRC said I was a rock star with a behive hairstyle!


The master piece though is that one of our friends wanted to see the musician that we all had a girlish crush on! We were mad, crazy and gaga about the possibility of meeting our beloved Grandfather. We were shocked, we couldn't believe that she wanted to go to the musician!

We all sang out loud

"You not going there, you coming with us!" She said she had already met grandfather, we still said no no no! I too had already met grandfather. But it felt like the first time always. Well the last time I didn't get special attention like I did the first time, so I wasn't gonna miss this opportunity for anything in the world.


It felt like we were drunk from sheer delight and Grandfather was the love drug we wanted badly. We needed that special Madiba magic?!!! :-)


Thank You for quenching our thirst grandfather. Glee, Glee, Glee! :-)

My heart skips a beat!

Feeeel it!!!!! :-) ha ha ha!!!!


God must have sent his angels to look after our store while we were running all over the place searching for grandfather like mad lunatics, ha ha ha! Geeee!!! Nothing was stolen although we left the door wide open.


After summer holidays I had to decide what I would study next. I seriously had no idea. I went to different colleges until I spotted Journalism. I saw something about writing, because I didn't know much about journalism. So when I spotted writing I knew that would be the next best thing if I couldn't study Art. I've always loved reading and writing well not thaaat much, until I received a certain book as a gift. The first gift I received which I personally chose was a book about the life and times of Whitney Houston. The second best gift would be The Diary of Anne Frank. And so began my love letters. Little did I know that life even then was preparing me for this moment. Infect my love letters and illustrations began with my grandfather. I always missed my granpa and I would call or write to him. I see clearly how I've been well prepared for these twists and turns that I've encountered in my journey.


I had to teach myself to speak English as a child, because one of my jobs was to call human rights lawyers whenever something happened at home during apartheid, especially if we were home alone. I was the child who had to take care of other children. It was non negotiable. I didn't enjoy that kind of responsibility since I was a child too. I could do it though, clean the house and cook. It was all made easier by observing my grandmother and my late aunt Elizabeth. That kind of responsibility is too much for any child.  I did it until one day, one day when I protested telling my grandfather that he must not say that I must not go on holiday in order to care for my cousins. I said I wasn't going to look after other people's children because I'm a child too who doesn't have children. Ha ha ha! That shocked my beloved grandfather. It was unexpected! My grandfather was loving, but very strict. He was noble so you didn't really question him. What he said was final. So this really shocked him to no end and I heard him tell my mother what I said. I was bold and I knew I was standing on the foundation of truth. So I heard my grandfather's children laughing, in disbelief, asking each other;

"did you hear what she said to our father?"


The others said what did she say?


"She says she doesn't have children, she's also a child so she's not going to stay behind looking after other people's children, while others go on holiday."


Usually they would all say ooohhh this naughty child, but they let me go, they were dumbfounded. My grandfather told his eldest daughter who was in utter disbelief too. Ha ha ha! Its funny when I think about it now. My grandfather was speechless. Ohhh bless his soul. I love him, love him , love him fiercely. He always treated me fairly though. He would always apologize when he was wrong. He honored truth and justice. After a while I made a decision to stop going on holiday and visiting extended family. I hated all that child labor. See I love participating fully in whatever I do, but I hate injustice. So when I saw that I was ill treated and nobody stood up for me, I decided not to visit. My grandfather told me that he is afraid to appear as if he is favoring me. So I made a decision not to visit if I was going to be ill treated. I was a mere teenager when I made all these decisions.


I remember being bullied  by some of my family members not very long ago. I responded by quoting President Clinton, President Obama and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. I've always loved how Mrs Clinton loved her daughter, saying she couldn't imagine discriminating against her because she's a girl. I've always loved how they all supported young girls and women. Last year I wrote a note of Gratitude to President Obama and First Lady Obama, because there's nothing more important in life than to reach out and uplift humanity as well as preparing the next generation of leaders who don't get much support in South Africa.


Some people are cruel here, radical transformation is needed in order to give this country a chance. Its time to do away with hidden agendas, twisting the truth to fit culture and tradition, in a quest for power and a desire to oppress! This is reminiscent of parents who sold their own children to slavery for brandy and other meaningless items? The truth flourishes whenever one seeks to suppress it. Justice prevails!


Grandfather Mandela elaborates further, his insight is always sharper than a raiser blade. His words always wholesome and sound;


"History punishes those who resort to force and fraud to suppress the claims and legitimate aspirations of the majority of the country's citizens.


History shows that penalties do not deter men when their conscience is aroused.


Ordinary South Africans are determined that the past be known, the better to ensure that it is not repeated.


Blaming things on the past does not make them better.


The past is a rich resource on which we can draw in order to make decisions for the future.


The purpose of studying history is not to deride human actions, nor to weep over it or to hate it, but to understand it- and then to learn from it as we contemplate our future."


Communication has always come easy to me despite the difficulties one encounters as child who can't speak the language fluently. Lawyers would hear me and I could feel their smile through the phone. I enjoyed our conversations in my broken english.


I studied Journalism for four years. In my second year I went to South African Broadcasting Cooperation for auditions. Infect what happened is that a friend I met during my first year of journalism called me and told me that there was a new television station and I could go speak to the boss. He hired me instantly, but I had to leave early because I wanted to go to the SABC for auditions. Thank God I did, because now I know for sure that I wasn't cut out for hard news. I'm a born humanitarian and this translates in absolutely every thing I do. I would at least meet Boys to Men while attending to my business. It was fun fun fun!


I went back to the new tv station. It was a huge blessing for a youth who was still studying yet working as a professional and highly competent. My boss said I raised the bar sky high. Perhaps one of the things that helped was the fact that I started in radio. I produced, wrote my script and presented my radio show. At one point I had a co host, talking about really difficult current affairs news I did not enjoy. I needed to discover what I loved most, thus talk about it. It was music. The love of music. My friend use to listen all the time, my engineer listened as well, they couldn't believe the brilliance with which my words flowed. Poetry in motion! The content was amazingly surprising as well. I loved it. Entertaining, spiritual, fun, bold and informative!


So while I was in television guess who came to visit us? Ted Turner! Yes the one and only CNN Ted Turner! My friend saw me on our news show with Ted and others. She called me in utter disbelief that I was actually on tv with the television guru. I saw my seniors all nervous before Ted came and I was wondering what on earth was wrong with them? I was the youngest in the news room. I had never ever heard of Ted Turner before. So here was this tall, lean man standing before me. I didn't say much because I knew nothing about him. But nobody said anything either although they knew much. Ted is fascinating, his presence is contagious. I loved hearing him speak about grandfather Mandela. I laugh now as I think about him and that encounter. It was heavenly. I love his dramatic and fascinating personality. rambunctious Ted! Love it! The man is explosive with energy. He's serious yet so intriguing and just a ball of energy, so lovable. Ted my forefathers are a bit upset with you, because you left me! Why Ted? I'm crying! See we need to talk about my Planet Earth document and my work at large, because you are one of the greatest leaders when it comes to environmental affairs! Me smiley smiley through my tears. :-) :-)


The previous year I was in Sweden on holiday. While there I was asked to participate in a documentary which would educate and inform Swedish people about the TRC. They called the radio station and thanked me for educating them. Sweden was Oliver Tambo's home while he was in exile. We received a lot of support from that country during apartheid and this is where grandfather Mandela would be reunited with his beloved brother and friend after almost 30 years. Grandfather Tambo was recovering from a stroke he had suffered, so he couldn't travel back home immediately. Ma Tambo traveled first to prepare things before our grandfather could come back home. Oh my, I remember that as if it was yesterday. To say the country was in a frenzy is truly an understatement. Young people didn't know much about Oliver Tambo, but we loved him deeply just as much as grandfather Mandela and grandfather Walter Sisulu . I've always felt a deep connection to O.R. My mother would see my excitement whenever I saw him on tv. She would look at me completely puzzled. She would say;


"You love O.R as if you know him personally!"


Well its a mystery, its a mystery I cannot explain. O.R's energy carries you to the heart of your calling. O.R places you on the pedestal of your heart's desire with the speed of lightning. O.R was a creative genius. The outfit I wore on that you tube video I made for grandfather Mandela was inspired by O.R and so was the dress I wore when I went to Springfield, to Abe, mhhhh Abe sweet Abe!


I'm just a kid who loves showbiz, art, culture, history, earth and humanity at large.



While I was working behind the scenes at the tv station, a journalist was sent to interview me and the son of Steve Biko who was working at the human resources department. The tv station interviewed us for the morning show as well. Almost every country I've traveled to, I always encounter tv or radio people who interview me on the spot or invite me to participate in their shows. I would never seek out that kind of attention, but I wouldn't miss an opportunity to heal masses, inform and educate if it is in perfect alignment with my calling.


I'm grateful to have had this kind of guidance stemming from pure love for God orders our steps. I thank the good spirits of love and peace, I thank God Almighty who's always with me, whether I'm ecstatic, giddy with joy or filled with grief and crying uncontrollably. God is Good, unconquerable, loving, true and always present. I love that kind of attention. I live for it, because through HIM I live, move and exist.

I just couldn't do this life thing without him.


One is greatly encouraged when hearing people like Hillary Clinton express their truth so beautifully, so courageously. In an interview with Diane Sawyer she said;


"We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt. We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea's education.


You know, it was not easy."


This is life changing. It creates a powerful shift in the atmosphere that gives birth to something new and fresh. It is a declaration that confer;


"And life has just begun!"


May the Grace of God remain in our hearts for all the time.


Blessings to all.