October 2005

I did learn a bit of Swahili at the University of Budapest – where I attended Swahili classes presented by Mr Fussi. Well we didn’t get too far and today my Swahili is limited to about 20 words 🙂 – but we enjoyed getting to know the language and discovering all the Arabic words. If you are ready to learn or just see the most commonly used words and phrases try this link.

This is what the above site says about the language:

“Kiswahili (or Swahili) is an African language spoken mainly by the people of eastern and central Africa. That is, people who live in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, eastern Zaire, northern Zaire, northern Malawi, northern Mozambique, northern Zambia and Somali Republic. Although not widely as in the above mentioned countries, Kiswahili is also used by some people in Congo Brazzaville, southern Sudan, the Comoro Islands, the northern part of Malagasy Republic, the Persian Gulf states, and the Central African Republic
Kiswahili is the national language in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda”

Later on we might start working on language projects – it’d be lots of fun to restart my Swahili studies – actually we have already started collecting everyday phrases from various languages spoken in Africa – including Setswana, Isizulu, Kiswahili, Arabic, Portuguese, French, Afrikaans …. and more to come.

Our first East African visitor – Kevin – is from Kenya – he is a musician and will take part in our ArtMarketOnline project.

We have already set up the first version of his website at ArtMarketonline.

Click here to visit the site!

We also keep in touch with Ndesanjo Macha – master blogger from Tanzania –
click here to visit Ndesanjo’s blog “Digital Africa” or here to read an interview with him on the Global Voices website.

Another Kenyan connection is Dorcas Muthoni – Co-Founder ( together with Anna Badimo of WITS ) of the LinuxchixAfrica Intiative click here to visit their site.

During Aardklop I met Peter Okeno – click here to read more about his group, Ngoma Africa. They were quite interested in hearing more about our ArtMarketOnline project so we might work together on websites in the future.

We have also started putting online our PanAfrican pages so that we can summarize all Pan African projects we take part in and the people we keep in touch with Africa wide.

The great thing about open source and open content projects is the fact that they are international and anyone can take part in them – this way I get to meet unbelievable people from all over the world – both offline – in the cafe – and also online.


I have known Eostar since the beginning of our university years – since that time we both learnt so much, travelled a lot and learnt new skills – she has become an exceptional artist – now living in California – she is also one of the ArtMarketOnline artist – click here to visit her art site and here to see her healing site.

For both of us – the Calcutta trio’s weekly club evenings have been a door to new worlds, new concepts – this is what Eostar says about the trio:

“One night Anna took me to the Calcutta Trio’s concert. What a shock! My ears were hurting with the unusual scales, my being rebelled to the perceived dissonance that these never-heared ragas presented. It was really hard to sit still for hours listening to the odd melodies and watching people sitting still, emotionless, in a meditative state. My body and soul rebelled. And yet my spirit caught something that was in the air – a vibration so well remembered from past lives lived in India – the smell of chai tea in the interval. I knew this smell so well! And then seeing the beutiful tapestries they were covering the stage with brought up a breath of magic that was unexplainable. I was familiar with incence from India – that was not a surprise – but they added a lot to the magic. The beautiful Indian tunics they wore mesmerized my eyes.
So, eventually, even though the music hurt my ears, I left feeling an odd resonance with everything the Calcutta Trio presented. I was hooked!
Later I became a regular and got used to the “odd” scales and rythms. What’s more, Classical Indian Music became an organic part of my life.
The Calcutta Trio’s “Indian Music Club” that was happening every Monday in those days added an element of magic and remembrance to my life, bringing out parts of me that wanted to be alive, felt and acknowledged. I feel great gratitude to them to this day. Namaste!”

This evening when I walked into the room the TV was on with the program called AfroCafe – with an interview with Abdullah Ibrahim.I believe that great musicians play an important role in leading their audiences / communities to a higher level of existence – not only with their music but by being teachers – community leaders – and Abdullah Ibrahim is definitely one such musician.

In the short piece I saw of the interview he gave a lenghty description of two Japanese fighters and an old blind Japanese musician playing a traditional japanese string instrument – while he was playing his instrument – we saw on the screen how the fighters imagine their own fight – ( martial art dance performed with two swords ) – and heard Abdullah Ibrahim’s description of the fighters’ moves.

I am not sure why he talked so passionately about this – I wouldn’t mind hearing a long explanation about his involvement in martial arts.

I have found a great site that has a lot of info on Abdullah Ibrahim : it is called Abdullah Ibrahim – Mantra modes – here is what the site says :

“Many who have encountered Abdullah Ibrahim would also call him a teacher…including many of those who make up his worldwide audience. There is no escaping the transformative power of his music should one approach it with receptivity. In this respect he is both teacher and student, standing as exemplar within the chain of transmission which posits that every person is being inexorably drawn home and is capable of both openness and activation, of being taught and teaching, of following the path and leading others along it. ”

Click here to visit the site to read more.

AJ’s blog entry on free software philosophy explains very clearly some of the most important points on this topic – I agree fully with what he says :

“I believe that if you can help a neighbour in need, you are morally bound to do so. With software ‘can’ is never a question. It doesn’t cost you anything to make a copy, and send it to him – and you still have it. So you are morally bound to do so. In the post-scarcity world, charity becomes costless – so proprietory software twisted some laws completely beyond their intended purpose to create an artificial scarcity where none should exist.

They illegalized charity.

They made it criminal to be a good person.

And worst of all, they made it criminal to be a good person, in the one case, where being a good person comes free of charge.

When you explain it to this, people seem to get it. Then you tell them – but you don’t have to be trapped into their circle of selfishness, you can still be a good person – for there is a kind of software that actively encourages you to be a good person, to share. It is called, free software.

Click here to visit slientcoder.co.za and read the rest of this entry!

We had an amazing time last Saturday listening to the mesmerising voice of Baaba Maal – and his group of unbelievable percussionists, singers and dancers.

The music flew us to Senegal – the music & rhythm that is quite familiar to me – it reminded me of those times I spent learning Arabic music in Tunis and the parties we had with Senegalese and Mauritanian friends sipping tea and having long discussions during those Ramadan nights.

Check out this page to find out more about the Senegalese musical instruments and even have some virtual music lessons!

My aunt spent many years in China learning all about Chinese culture. Once she came home she introduced everyone our family to new things. One of them was regular visits to the concerts of the Calcutta trio – a group of Hungarians playing classical Indian music namely the sitar, tabla and tanpura. Each concert included a raga, videos about other musicians playing other Indian musical instruments and most concerts also inluded little lectures about their adventures in India as well as lengthy desriptions about the way they learnt music from their gurus , Pandit Ravi Shankar , Ustad Alla Rakha, Zakir Hussein . They told us about the deep respect and admiration the student feels towards his/her guru and all the responsabilites the guru has to give on his/her knowledge to his disciples.
Here is what the Wikipedia says about the guru-shishya tradition :”The guru-shishya tradition (also guru-shishya parampara or lineage) is a spiritual relationship found within traditional Hinduism which is centered around the transmission of teachings from a guru (teacher) to a shishya (disciple). The term shishya roughly equates to the western term disciple, and in some parts of India is synonymous with the term chela. In a Hindu context, the term guru signifies one who teaches or imparts knowledge. Such knowledge, whether it be Vedic, Agamic art, architecture, music or spirituality, is imparted through the developing relationship between guru and disciple. The principle of this relationship is that knowledge, especially subtle or advanced knowledge, is best conveyed through a strong human relationship based on ideals of the student’s respect, commitment, devotion and obedience, and on personal instruction by which the student eventually masters the knowledge that the guru embodies.” ( Click here to read on …. )
At first I wasn’t really listening to these stories – I was just waiting for the concert to finish so that we can go home with my grandmother and carry on playing.

However later on I started listening to them and tried to make sense of all those they had to say. I found these concepts more and more fascinating and started to compare my experiences in my schools ( primary school and also my music school where I was learning classical violin since the age of 7) to the the Indian way of learning music. There was an unbelievable difference between the two teaching methods.

What I have realised the most teachers today have nothing to do with teaching – seriously – just think – how many of your teachers have ever taught you something – what percentage of the things you learnt at school are you using in your everyday life after leaving high school / or university.

I think there are major problems with how one looks at teaching and learning. These are lifelong activities – and one does both similtaneously .

Today when I listen to the ragas – I also remember all those stories at the Calcutta trio concerts – and I definitely try to use those teachings in the way I teach and learn every single day.

Hi guys, so a few peope asked me to explain why I feel so passionate about our projects – OpenCafe and ArtMarketOnline . I thought a blog is the most appropriate for this so here it is.