Author: Ovayo Milisa Novukela

OVAYO MILISA NOVUKELA chatted with legendary actor Sir Jet Novuka and upcoming legend, director Siya Sityana, about their circuitous journeys to success and hope for the future. Jet Novuka (or Sir Jet Novuka to most!) grew up with multiple generations in a mud house in Ngangelizwe township in Mthatha. He describes the house as “fantastic”. “I didn’t feel [deprived] because they showed me so much love,” Sir Novuka said. Siya Sityana and Sir Jet Novuka in conversation with Cue/Grocott’s Mail at the Media Room at the Monument. Photo: Ovayo Milisa Novukela When he moved to Johannesburg at a young age,…

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By OVAYO MILISA NOVUKELA and SIVE FAITH GINYA Should the National Arts Festival (NAF) stay in Makhanda? That was a question NAF chairperson Ayanda Mjekula once posed to the NAF Board as the city struggled to keep water flowing, the lights on and roads surfaced. But, Mjekula said at the NAF opening ceremony on Thursday he is slowly seeing change: “The mayor has made a massive political effort to improve the infrastructure of the city.” One of the performers who electrified the Guy Butler Auditorium at the Festival’s opening ceremony. Photo: Ovayo Milisa Novukela Mjekula said he was thrilled to…

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By OVAYO MILISA NOVUKELA The National Arts Festival (NAF) was officially launched outside City Hall on Thursday. Citizens watched excitedly as several dignitaries arrived to launch the NAF, including National Speaker of Parliament Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, MEC of Social Development Siphokazi Mani-Lusithi, Sarah Baartman District Municipality Mayor Deon de Vos, Deputy Provincial Commissioner Brandi Majikijela, and others. Makhandans watched as the police, alongside the Community Police Forum and local security company, Hi-Tec, came in full force to mark the start of the Festival. Police also marched to City Hall to receive orders to take to the streets. Dignitaries take their seats…

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By OYAYO MILISA NOVUKELA When Fundile ‘Jeff’ Budaza’s coffin arrived in the Joza Indoor Arena last Friday, the atmosphere amongst the hundreds who had assembled was sombre. Devastated friends and colleagues paid heartfelt tributes to the former Makana Parks and Recreation manager brutally gunned down outside his home on 25 May in an apparent assassination. Makana Citizens Front (MCF) leader Ayanda Kota said his friend was “a peaceful soul that had a disarming humility made him be an upright man in a rotten environment.” An emotional Kota said we live in an era of fear – people don’t want to…

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By OVAYO MILISA NOVUKELA Sorrow and gloom pervaded the memorial service for murdered Parks and Recreation manager, Fundile ‘Jeff’ Budaza, hosted by the Makana Municipality at a packed Joza Indoor Arena on Wednesday. Budaza was known for his stance against corruption. The way he was gunned down at the gate to his home in Extension 4 at 8 pm on Wednesday, 25 May, bore the hallmarks of a political assassination. Speaking at the service, a visibly emotional Makana Municipality Executive Mayor Yandiswa Vara said Budaza would “tell you the truth without fear or favour”. She described Jeff as “very strict…

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By OVAYO MILISA NOVUKELA Avuyile ‘Beast’ Mqina, Hlumile Mpolweni, and Uyanda Mnyapa made history in Oatlands Preparatory School as the first-ever Oatlands pupils selected for the Eastern Province rugby trials and made it to the Albany Primary Schools, comprised of the best U13 rugby players across the district. Oatlands Preparatory Rugby has turned in stellar performances this season under the guidance of Renaldo Gombert and Shawn Kitchen. The under 13A side has remained undefeated and is still a force to be reckoned with in the district and province. A school with few resources and facilities has produced a monster of…

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Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane was re-elected ANC provincial chair at the gruelling ninth Provincial Conference at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in East London from 6-9 May. Grocott’s Mail political reporter OVAYO MILISA NOVUKELA was there. After two postponements and an extended run-time over the weekend, the ANC Provincial Conference ended in a narrow victory for Cyril Ramaphosa’s Eastern Cape ally, Oscar Mabuyane. With 812 votes, Mabuyane held off a strong challenge from Babalo Madikizela, who polled 662 votes. Madikizela stepped down as Eastern Cape Public Works and Infrastructure MEC after his defeat to pursue his business interests. It…

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By OVAYO MILISA NOVUKELA Last Saturday, the Tuksie Educational Trust Fund, was launched in the name of Felicia Ngeniswa Mbebetho-Nkwinti, better known as Tuksie, at the Drill Hall in Makhanda. Ma Tuksie passed away in December 2020. She was a high school teacher at Leap Mathematics and Science School in Cape Town, where she was an isiXhosa educator and the Principal. Family members decided to set up a trust fund to honour her legacy of educational excellence, especially in disadvantaged schools. Felicia Ngeniswa Mbebetho-Nkwinti, better known as Tuksie. Ward 2 Councillor Ramie Xonxa is the chairperson of the trust fund.…

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By OVAYO MILISA NOVUKELA Democratic Alliance Councillor Geoff Embling and Makana Municipality Speaker Mthuthuzeli Matyumza have squared off about Council procedure. Embling recently reported in his Ward 4 WhatsApp group that he had “no confidence in the Makana Speaker’s office, as it tends not to respond to queries. The Speaker does not include the motions we submit in the council agenda”. Geoff Embling, DA councillor for Ward 4. In response, Makana Speaker Mthuthezeli Matyumza said if Embling did not have confidence in his office, he should “give valid reasons”. Embling complained that a motion of no confidence in the Municipal…

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By OVAYO MILISA NOVUKELA Oatlands Preparatory School’S U13A rugby team has been a force to be reckoned with this season. Oatlands is not a traditional rugby school. But this season, they have remained unbeaten despite playing against powerhouses, such as Selborne Preparatory School, Cradock Primary School, Port Alfred Primary, and Dr Viljoen Primary. The boys practice on an uneven field belonging to the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure. Head coach Renaldo Gombert said the school doesn’t have the budget to invest in a standard rugby field, but they can use St Andrew’s Preparatory facilities to play home matches.  The…

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