It can't just be about the numbers


There are times when it feels like we have the lost the ability to understand and allow for nuance. Everything has become black or white, good or bad, etc. Twitter, for example, just doesn’t allow for nuanced debate and discussion, by virtue of its limitations, plus the reality that the majority of us fall short when it comes to both wielding and interpreting language. Different views can be constructive but we need to be able to share them with openness and honesty.

While there is a space for being clear, decisive and uncompromising when things are out of sync with our values, it is also important to recognise that there is much more than what meets the eye in most situations, which makes it necessary to scratch beneath the surface or, in the words of The Lion King’s Rafiki, “Look beyond what you see.”


Saul Williams’ performance of Coded Language on Def Poetry Jam is epic. I have read the poem countless times and constantly find something new in it, as with all his other work. I was fortunate to see him live, and get him to sign my copies of his books, one of the times he was in SA. And I continue to follow his evolving career.


In Stop Letting Numbers Decide Relevance in Rap, hip-hop and culture writer Andre Gee articulates something that I have been grumbling about for some years now, and not just in rap. The criteria with which we measure value is increasingly tied purely to numbers - sales, followers, likes, comments, etc. This, coupled with the ‘attention economy’, has birthed mediocrity and disposability.


I’m just started reading BJ Fogg’s book Tiny Habits having spent last year doing a lot of reading, writing and thinking about productivity, time and how to design my life to create harmony between work, family and self, which are the three elements I consider daily, as opposed to ‘work-life balance’. I consider work to be part of life. What drew me to this book was an interview Fogg did on the Knowledge Project podcast and what I am enjoying about the book is the exercises that are provided, in addition to the reasoning and research behind Behaviour Design.


I love Nnedi Okorafor’s writing and, at the same time, I have often felt uncomfortable with the idea of Afrofuturism, particularly as an African. It often feels like an idea of Africans in the future, seen from a Western lens. I believe it has its place but there should be a broader conversation around the future of Africa, Africa in the future, etc. Okorafor explores this perfectly in Africanfuturism Defined, whilst articulating her position on the desire to bundle her writing into Afrofuturism. Interestingly, the term Afrofuturism was coined by someone who isn’t African or of African descent, Mark Dery, and focuses on the African diaspora experience. As a side note, Wakanda and Black Panther were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.


Sir Ken Robinson passed away this week. His TED talk changed how I view education. And I am not alone. Over 65 million people have viewed his talk on the TED site.


Katt Williams was riding high as a comedian and then, seemingly, threw it all away. But it looks like he’s been quietly rebuilding his career. Katt Williams’ Genius Has Been Hiding In Plain Sight.


I must confess to finding interesting things for my newsletter from other newsletters I subscribe to. I can’t remember where this was from but, if you are like me and loved making paper planes growing up, this is for you. Who knew there was such intricate paper plane design. Still stuck on the most basic. Fold ‘N Fly.

Jet Fighter

That’s it for this week. Please share if you enjoyed this newsletter. If it was shared with you and you enjoyed it, please subscribe. I’d also appreciate thoughts, comments, etc.



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