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03 Apr 2021

LULUTHO MNTONINTSHI: Awakening Love and Compassion

                      LULUTHO MNTONINTSHI

 

       Awakening Love and Compassion: “. When you smile you also put a smile on someone’s face”

 

“The only way we can go forward is to move towards our fellow men. Understand them. There is no chance of any sustainable development if we can’t manage to live together”

Yann Arthus-Bertrand

 

 

Photo Credit: Migal Vanas

First of all, I have to ask you how your name is pronounced please

She says it to me in a beautiful melody-like voice: Lulutho. I repeat it out loud to make sure I say it properly; she agrees.  Lulutho means valuable and esposa (wife).

 

Wow! You do have a name Madam!

 

I look at her and what I see is a girl, a teenager, a woman, a mix of these three with one thing in common: energy and spontaneity. I think this woman can melt the hardest hearts and the iciest of screens.

IMG_2298 Courtesy 

My dogs barked and I apologise to her. She smiled and just started the interview. Ha!

 

“How many dogs do you have?”, she asks me.

“Two”, I replied. They continued barking and she was laughing at the same time, a sort of communication between this spiritual woman and the natural world which surrounded me.

I was about to discover so much about this twenty-five-year-old South African model and student but I still didn’t know up to what extent, this interview will change me too.

 

What are you studying?

I am doing a course on biotechnology; I am a full time student.

Sounds very difficult to me.

No, you know, I have always been a science person. It is completely different from modelling but I am keen on science. I love it. I am doing my post grade now; I think it is very important to have more than one thing not just one and, especially, in this industry; you never know what might happen so it is good to have something on the side to full back up to.

Very wise of you.

 

When did you start modelling? You are very beautiful.

Thanks.  In a whisper she pops up with another question: “Do you see me well? Hope you can. Maybe there is little light behind me and you see dark.”

 

I then realised how humble she was and that she was the one who wasn’t aware of how pretty she is, inside and outside.

I see you clear! Besides, believe me, it is better that I see you rather than you see me. I am 54 and I am not that cute.

Oh wow! Thanks so much!

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Courtesy

Well girl, you are amazing, you inspired a painter to make a series of acrylics on canvas with your face so… Congrats! Lulutho is the muse of Lucrecia Oks, an Argentinian painter who made a series of pieces of art based on what Lulutho provoked in her.

PHOTO-2021-03-31-11-53-09Lucrecia Oks painting insipired in Lulutho  @lucreciaoks

PicsArt_02-04-01.07.58

Lucrecia Oks painting insipired in Lulutho  @lucreciaoks

She is curious, she wants to know more about me.

 

How long have you been a writer?

Since I was twelve

So it is something that is with you; it is a passion

Yes, surely it is.

 

Have you written any books?

Well, my first printed book has just come out in Argentina

 

Amazing! What is it called, what is it about?

The translation will read something like “Insane Footprints”. Complete silence.  I continue talking.

 

There are things in life that hurt you so much that you are on the verge of going crazy due to pain and, as for footprints, I think that those experiences leave marks, some of which- the worst ones- are not seen.

 

Our stories are pretty put in our faces, like a background. So I always say be kind to people because you don t know what they are going through; it is a true thing for people to live up to. When you smile you also put a smile on someone’s face. It is a great thing.

 

You are so tender…

Thank you.

 

What do you do in your spare time?

I do a lot of stuff.  I am a very spiritual person so I am very committed to my spirituality, I do yoga, I do Muay Thai fighting; it is one of my trainings lists to try to keep my head fit, out me or out of what is going on in my life. It is a kind of escape. I do it every day, I really do enjoy it. I have always been a physical person who loves to be active, I was a tomboy as a child. When I was in High School I used to play so many sports, so I think it is being transferred into my adult life now, it is not only to keep my body in shape (I admit it also is the case) but to keep my mental health.

 

I get it. Doing exercise helps to stop our thoughts

Yeah it works!  I love it! I also spend a lot of time with my family, my granny especially. She is old and lives in Cape Town. I try to spend as much time as I can with her. I also study, as I told you before. That is much me on a round basis.

 

What about your other family members?

My mother lives in Pretoria with my step Dad. We chose to live in different places.  I am definitely more with my grandmother; she is 83 and I love it with her because elder people like company, and she also gives me so much advice, always and all the time. I appreciate the time I still have with her. Be with the people that you love and show them as much love as you can because you never know when the lost days are. So I always intend to do that.

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I had to take a deep breath; in a second she made me go back in time to so many people I have loved and are gone and reminded me of the ones I must keep a close eye on.

You like music and play the violin, don’t you?

YESSSS, I have been playing the violin since I was in high school; I was 14. And in music I am in grade 5 at the Royal School of Music. I always liked to play an instrument but mostly string instruments. I love orchestra, I played at an orchestra when I was at high school. I like classical music, especially strings classical music.

 

Music heals too

Music is very healing; it is very beautiful.  It has different interpretations for everyone; it is never the same thing. We all feel different toward distinct sounds.

 

What do you feel when you play the violin?

For me it works on my concentration, I focus.  I am a little scattered, so it really helps me to focus; music is on the right side of your brain which is where the attention is.  It also helps me when I study. I am better. I interpret my work with my music, I relate them. I put them together. We try to memorise things; when we were kids we used to memorise using music or to sing to try remember something well; that is what music has helped me with.  I incorporate music with my school work because, in this way, I am able to articulate something or pick a certain memory in me from a tune I have heard.

Awesome!

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What music do you listen to?

I never had a favourite gender, I love good music. In the past years I have been listening to jazz hop which is like a mixture of jazz and hip hop; there is no words, no lyrics just pure instrumental. It plays a lot of jazz instruments. I also like young music like hip hop, afro music, afro soul.

 

It is lovely and spiritual and touchy

Yes, it is. Back in the days, music was a spiritual thing; in Africa music was used to connect with the spiritual world. To bond with our ancestors, to those people who have our roots, to embrace your story, to go back to the emotional ties that bind us. It is a beautiful feeling that you get from music.

 

What about dancing? Do you like dancing?

I love dancing but I am shy. In my mind is like I am Beyoncé dancing but I just do it on my own.

 

I bet you dance very well.

If I go out, I dance, but I would not like performing in front of people.   

I got it.

It is more like to feel free and get a little lose and have a good time and enjoy myself.

I like to see women dancing gracefully

Sure! Moving at the old beat, the old times is more sensual. People can get lost in dancing and you can tell they are not performing for people but for themselves.  Feeling the music and allowing the body to move and let the body interpret whatever it wants while listening to music.

 

Do you like travelling?

I do travel a lot. Funny that I want to go around Africa with a bike and go to disadvantaged villages in South Africa and give them food supplements. It will be nice to go around. There are so many places where people do not get right nutrition so we want to give them healthy food and supply them with good stuff for six months. Try to change someone’s life, you know. It is also to know about new cultures around, there is so much culture in Africa. Many people travel outside of their country or continent but, to me, it is cool to help your people first.

We should start here; there is so much life and story and history behind Africa that people don’t know about. It would be really nice if we could explore that and tell them stories of little villages or people that live in small spaces that are totally unseen. We want to share this story and also of other African cultures. This is one of my short goals.

 

What do you like the most about Africa?

I think culture you know, I would say THERE IS something about being African, we have so much history and we are all connected by one thing: spirit. I love our diversity but we are still together as one. Due to our spirituality, is all the same: we all have equal ancestors and that is our source of unity and oneness. And it is usually the same blood line. Africa is also colourful; it is just awesome!

Africa is a continent to feel

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Courtesy

Yes, and to experience the relation to people.  There is a saying that reads “It takes a village to raise a child “; I love that about Africa, this unity, we can all learn from each other, we help one another to raise each others kids or teach each other whatever we need to learn.

 What about new generations?

 Well, most of us are disconnected from our roots.  So we don’ t really know where we came from or what traditional stuff our ancestors used to practice but, if you care, you get to learn.  You can find out about your tribe; I insist on going back to the beginning, to our roots, our first home, to the tribe which you came from. It is true that we are in the 21 St century and technology is attractive but trying to learn something from your past, how your people lived, how they communicated amongst each other; it feels homey.

 

I agree but there are also youths like you that want to find out about their storyline…

Yes, I think the world will change through spirituality and we will relearn to be in touch with people. We are losing that. We area humans, we need to establish a relationship with other human beings.

 

Like with the pandemic; we were locked up as the rest of the world and a lot of people lost their minds and it wasn’t because they lost their jobs but also human touch, being face to face. Everything is so digital, it is on the phone but you cannot connect emotionally to a person with a device. When you are in front of a person you need to touch them, to hug them, to feel. Put the device down some times! Connect!

 

And to share silence

Yeah! Silence is very loud

 

It is peace, clarity, insight…

 

I really appreciate you reaching out to me. I was and I am so excited, this is my first interview for foreign press.

Thank you, you are every kind and it is my pleasure

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I was so immersed in her world, so deeply involved in Africa’s stories, culture and this woman’s words, that I didn’t realise she was still looking at me. The chant of a bird by my window brought me back as if enchanted by Lulutho’s charm.

 

I scanned her. The X ray reads: LOVE IS THE ANSWER. COMPASSION IS THE MEANS. She made the first question and, certainly, she gave me the best last reply without even speaking.

 

Something inside me changed; Lulutho made me go deeper, I felt her voice, I imagined the sounds of Africa and the joy and spirituality of its people.

I feel blessed. 

 

Maria Cabeza

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