Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Honest Trailers - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

When BvS: Dawn of Justice came out I wrote a review for it over on and I had many mixed feelings about it. It seem the guys over at Honest Trailers agree with me.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Book Review: Affluenza

Wow, this is such a great read for anyone interested in satirical stories about all the crazy and weird things that make up South Africa. Niq Mhlongo tackles issues like racism, xenophobia, homophobia, crime, land redistribution and economic equality with a flair that is just magical. They stories really speak to me and I relate on so many levels with the South African (but especially Jozi) culture of continuous hussle to attain wealth and status to impress people you don't know. The stories are a lot like Herman Charles Bosman's Oom Schalk Lourens stories in their tone and satire.

"This is Johussleburg and everyone here is suffering from affluenza. Almost every black person pretends to be rich while staying in a rented room."

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

#YouthMonth: Like kids these days say

07 Jun 2016

Heita da! What's drugs my dealer? What's crack-a-lackin'? Umoja? Fo' shizzle my nizzle? It's all good in the hood. You'd best keep your urban dictionary close by for this one.
Language, it’s something special isn’t it? In his song, Sing for the Moment, Eminem says: “I guess words are a motherf*cker, they can be great / Or they can degrade, or even worse, they can teach hate”. Words move us and have a magic about them, especially when you use them in ways that defy the rules of grammar. Language is fluid and ever-changing and there is always a tug-of-war between the powers that be in university ivory towers and everyday people who use language as a tool to communicate as to what the rules of language are.

#YouthMonth: Like kids these days say

The beauty of slang

June sees us celebrating the school pupils who lost their lives during the 16 June 1976 uprising in Soweto. Those kids stood up for the right to be educated in a language that they could understand. The great thing about this is that once you understand your own language, you find appreciation for the beauty of other languages. 40 years after those kids stood up for their right to understand what they were being taught, we live in a multilingual South Africa that has become a unique place in the world in terms of the amount of languages that are used in our interactions on a daily basis. This is most evident in the slang we use. We have 11 official languages, and many others from other regions of the world, spoken in our streets and the slang that has emerged is just typically South African and a thing of beauty.

We all have this unique flavour of speaking to which the world at large cannot compare. Think of how we confuse foreigners when we tell them to turn left at the second robot. Where else are you in a taxi (like a proper South African taxi) and you shout “sho’t left” from the back and the driver knows what you want? Nowhere else, pappa! 


We have the kids from koKasi with their township flow whose levels of cool you cannot even hope to compete with. Libala tsotsi, just forget. The urban slang of my home, the dirty south of Jozi, with okes chasing binnets for days, my china. The language that only my goons and I use when we get together for some sips and my one friend always ends up being such a chop. I remember the days of 1337 (elite) speak when gamers thought replacing words with letters was the height of cool and n00bs would be pwnd (owned). Eish, and then Twitter came with its hashtags and no community took to it better than South Africans, especially our Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Fikzo Mbalula. The dude’s always #onfleek on Twitter. Even the way we discuss politics and serious matters like students protesting the increase of fees has changed since 1976. Think of movements like #feesmustfall, #zumamustfall or #blacklivesmatter. Only in Mzanzi do we have hunky politician referred to as ‘The People’s Bae’. That being the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

Language is fun for days, you guys. Eish, mara it can be dangerous too, if we use it to break people down instead of building them up. Racism, sexism, homophobia and all kinds of other prejudice have their own slang. That’s the stuff we don’t need. As young people, we face many obstacles, but we are ambitious, we are hungry for success and we can always push to be better. Every day we are hustling, as the motto goes. There is a magic here, you guys, even when things get hectic. Slang is a way to cross language boundaries and unite South Africans... and the youth is way ahead of the curve in this movement. 

As the kids say these days, “we are just out here living our best life”.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Letters to Life: Convergence 2016

Dearest Life,

If ever you have taken some time off from handing out lemons on street corners and have ever read Steven Erikson’s epic fantasy series, The Malazan Book of the Fallen, you will know that one of the overarching themes in the books is convergence. If you have not read the books it’s fine because convergence seems to be one of your overarching themes. Like how you handed out so many lemons throughout your career that it eventually annoyed Beyoncé and she went and made Lemonade for all of us so you would stop. Those two events were just drawn to each other.

All the ups, all of the downs and all the madness have all led to this moment. This is where everything collides to form something new.

In the fourth book in the series, House of Chains, Mappo and Karsa have a chat about convergence. In their case they talk about convergences and their relationship to curses. I am here because of the good and the bad. Curses and blessings.

Mappo: “And I speak from long experience; curses are horrible things. Tell me, has Sha’ik ever spoken to you of convergence?”
Karsa: “No.”
Mappo: “When curses collide, you might say. Flaws and virtues, the many faces of fateful obsession, of singular purpose. Powers and wills are drawn together, as if one must by nature seek the annihilation of the other. Thus, you and Icarium are now here, and we are moments from a dreadful convergence, and it is my fate to witness. Helpless unto desperate madness. Fortunately for my own sake, I have known this feeling before.”

The road to here has felt so long and I am weary to the bone. Life, you are difficult but it is also filled with many unexpected blessings. I have been unluckier than some and luckier than most to get to where I am currently at. The forces that I have no control over have only minimally interfered with my existence and the areas I have control over I have manged okay. I could have done more and should do more. On many a Sunday evening I am struck by a deep anxiety that I am failing at you. This morning as I was walking to work I realised that I am failing by my standards, I am rather average by society’s standards and a superhero by my family’s standards. That gave me some perspective. I am okay. I can still do better. I can still do worse but the road to improvement is open for me as it has never been open for anyone in my family. All my failures and successes have led to this point where I can look around me and use all that information to make better choices. Not just that though, I could have done that yesterday too. It seems everything has converged in a way that allows me to bring every influence together to build something new and powerful. My problem has always been that I am never sure how to combine all my strengths and now I think I am ready to do it.

This is the time. This is the place to build anew from the old.

P.S. If this post makes no sense to you don’t worry because a thing is happening and when it all comes together you will be the first to know. Okay, maybe second, I will have to tell my mom first.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

My Magical Place: Captain America: Civil War Review

29 Apr 2016

I was sick for a week and on my return to the land of the living I found out that we were getting Civil War on 27 April (Freedom Day in South Africa). I just wasn't ready though, you guys. I was still working with that 7 May release date and I am still reeling from the first episode of Season 6 of Game of Thrones. Can the old gods and the new please give a nerd a break out here? But it's all good, I got my game face and Marvel fanboy underwear on and got ready for the biggest cinema spectacle of the year!

Civil War is the best Marvel movie to date

Captain America: Civil War is the third Captain America movie and the thirteenth entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After the huge success of the second Captain America movie, The Winter Soldier, the Russo brothers returned to the helm for Civil War and they made a movie that hits all the right notes. I am going into full fanboy mode here. This movie is perfect and it seems that every year I say this about a new Marvel movie, but it’s Odin’s honest truth every time. What especially makes Civil War great is that it taps into all of the history and lore of the universe it takes place in. This movie is not here to accommodate anyone by explaining too much. It is simply the culmination of all Marvel’s Earth-based movies to date.

Plot overview

Civil War is set in a universe where all the actions of every hero in the Avengers team have led to this point in time. The world owes the Avengers a great deal for the amount of times they have saved it, but at the same time, who watches the watchmen? Who takes the Avengers to task when innocent people die in the collateral damage of their battles? This is the overarching question that Civil War poses and it is a fair question and difficult to deal with.

Civil War takes a lot of beats from Winter Soldier in that it is a political spy type of thriller, but it borrows tonnes from other Marvel movies like Iron Man 3 that shows that superhero characters don’t have to be in their suits the whole time - they can deliver powerful, emotional performances just as themselves. After an incident gone wrong in Lagos, Nigeria the US Secretary of State, General Thunderbolt Ross, calls the Avengers in to inform them that the world cannot tolerate them operating unchecked and that the United Nations has come up with what they refer to as the "Sokovia Accords", which will establish an international governing body to monitor and regulate all enhanced individuals like the Avengers.

The battle lines are drawn in a response to this development. Captain America’s response is that he does not agree to having the team effectively being run by the UN, which is a political entity and has its own agenda. By signing the act, the Avengers would only be able to work according to the say-so of the UN. Since waking up in the modern world, Captain America has had to deal with quite a lot. The guy is Marvel’s ultimate boy scout and is usually the sort of team player who would never question orders. Unfortunately politics is a messy business and the Cap has been burned on many occasions dealing with organisations like SHIELD/HYDRA and he is loath to allow the team to become puppets of such agendas. Cap thus rallies the members of Team Cap to his side, because they share the same belief, or in Hawkeye’s case, because he called first.

Tony Stark is also carrying a huge load on his shoulders since the incident in New York and even more with the incident with Ultron, which he was directly responsible for. The man has been having panic attacks and sleepless nights, because he knows there are dangers outside of our planet that the Avengers might not be able to deal with (we know that Thanos is lurking out there, after all. Does that guy just sit in his space chair all day by the way? I digress though). Ultron rose from these fears and Scarlett Witch didn’t help by giving him visions of a bleak future where everyone dies either. Tony is almost on the opposite journey that Cap is on in the sense that he starts off as this carefree character who doesn’t adhere to rules and picks up a lot more responsibility on the way to the events in Civil War. It's difficult to decide whose stance is right.

This is just the simplistic view of the plot, because there are other forces at play and there is an actual villain in the movie. Batman v Superman takes itself very seriously and Civil War finds a sweet spot between the seriousness of everything that is happening with friends fighting each other, but there are many moments where you can just laugh and have fun. The movie is long at 147 minutes, but it never feels like it and it is cut in a beautifully economic way.

Enter new characters

All your favourite characters are back and are all running around punching, kicking and shooting each other and the bad guys in super cool ways. All of them are there ... well, except for Thor, because he is doing Asgardian things and Bruce Banner is doing hiding out things. The highlights in terms of characterisation are the new people though. Chadwick Boseman makes his debut as T'Challa / Black Panther, the prince of Wakanda, the technologically advanced African Nation that is known for living in isolation and being the place where vibranium comes from. Marvel is pretty much done with long and windy introductions, so they just throw Black Panther in there with a brief but powerful introduction and the character then hits the ground running. The character is intriguing and I can’t wait for his solo movie and to explore Wakanda where, interestingly enough, they seem to speak Xhosa. I died of laughter in the cinema when T’Challa shares a moment with his father, King T'Chaka (played by South African actor, John Kani) and they just kick it in Xhosa, but with an East African accent.

Our favourite neighbourhood Spidy also gets a quick and punchy intro. Peter Parker is played by Tom Holland and he is the witty, funny, awkward Peter Parker we love from the comics. The movie also makes fun of the fact that his aunt, May, is so attractive (played by Marisa Tomei) in response to people freaking out on social media last year, because Aunt May is “too hot”.

Marvel just keeps winning and Civil War is just great. I can find zero fault with this movie. It delivers solidly on everything and all the characters are given their due in terms of screen time and personality. The action sequences are a feast, but the times where there is no fighting are also intense and while you’re still reeling from an emotional reveal they offset it with humour that provides the comic relief you need while not taking away from the gravitas of the situation. The new characters fit in and their roles aren’t just as cameos. All the Earth-based stories in the Marvel universe have led to this movie and it draws from and builds on the history and lore from the previous titles beautifully. Just go out and watch this one a few times. Just do it.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Respect the Hustle

Hello there, you beautiful, beautiful souls :).

I had a chat with the lovely folks over at Freelance Cape Town some months back and they decided to publish the whole affair on their blog! Here I though we were just having a nice chat between friends. But since we are airing laundry you can go check out their post on my life as an editor and freelancer here.

Stay fresh and as the kids say, respect that good ol' hustle.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The movies in review: A look back at 2015

The movies in review: A look back at 2015

Hi Blogger buddies,

I am closing my year in style by taking a look back at 2015 at the movies over at my other goodbuddies' house, Check out my article there.

All I can say is merry Star Wars! Christmas can take a backseat this year ;).

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

C.S. Bulletproofreading for Interns Abroad

Hello world! I've officially kicked off my Bulletproofreading venture and I am hoping for the best. If you have no idea what I am talking about check out my Facebook Page, like that bad boy and then tell your friends, family and pets all about it! You can also send them my nifty pamphlet with my details.

To get in touch with me simply drop me an email at To learn a bit more about my work you can visit my freelance profiles on the following websites: and

Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Journey Thus Far . . .

Journeys have been an overarching theme in my life of late, whether it’s at work or at home. Journeys are perhaps one of the overarching themes of all life. That and running a race. All my teachers in primary school loved comparing life to running a race. I digress, though. What I want to get at is that when one is on a journey it is good to stop once in a while and take stock. Just stop, catch your breath, relax and look back at the way you have come. A little break also allows you to look at the road ahead and to plan a bit. I recently joined the wonderful people over at Freelance Cape Town as a freelancer (duh!). Marius Vosloo, the guy who heads the team up, immediately made me feel welcome and at home. They recently launched their blog, called Our Voice and it serves as a platform for creative people to be heard. Marius asked me to write something about my journey as a freelancer thus far. I haven’t looked back on the way I have come in a while and this proved to be the perfect opportunity for me to pause, take stock and reflect on my journey as Charles thus far and to add my voice to theirs and see what sort of music comes of it.

Dear Reader and fellow traveller, sit down and rest your feet a while and let me tell you my story.

My name is Charles Siboto and I am a reader and lover of beautiful stories. I haunt places where I can find good stories. My love for stories has resulted in me becoming someone who works with stories, whether they are my own or stories that other people wish to tell. I mainly prefer stories that other people tell because there is nothing better for me than getting so caught up in someone else’s visions that you just cannot help but love and understand that person a bit more than you did before being moved by their story. I grew up as a reader and from early on I knew that stories are magic and that I want to be a part of that magic when I grow up. I never knew in what capacity I would help make and spread more of this magic but at least I had a general direction in which to start looking for where I can fit in.

I am not even all that picky in my love for stories. I love the stories my grandmother told me as a child and listened to Gcina Mhlope on the radio every Saturday morning on a show she had that was sponsored by Joko tea. I can’t remember the name of the show but I loved the monsters she always told of and how the children in the stories always outsmarted them. I read books, comic books, played video games, watched movies and listen to weird radio dramas. I landed up studying English Literature, Linguistics and Literary studies and I loved most of it and hated some of it. I remember one instance in my fourth year of university where I read the comic book, Final Crisis by Grant Morrison and had one of the greatest moments of my life reading a story and it shook me to my core. Final Crisis is a massive story in its complexity and when Zillo Valla (if my memory serves me well), one of the beings in charge of protecting the multiverse utters the following words it just gets me every single time I read that story: "Behold: we monitors who were faceless once . . . We all have names now, and stories. There are heroes and villains . . . secrets and lovers." Things like this unstitch me. Somewhere in that comic book Superman asks that the words, To Be Continued be carved on his tombstone because humanity’s story never comes to an end, it always carries on. I read and love J.R.R. Tolkien and he taught me that some stories can break your heart and yet still strike you with sorrow as sharp as swords, eucatastrophe he called it, the good ending that breaks your heart.

Stories lead me to where I am today. My name is Charles Siboto and I am an editor of children’s books by day at one of South Africa’s biggest publishing houses. This is a great honour and privilege for me because it was a struggle for me to get my foot in that door but like any good character in your favourite stories I persevered and always kept on going. I am also a freelancer in the sense that I use the majority of my free time to blog and write about books, movies, comic books, video games, technology, lifestyle events and even a dash of politics for various online media. I also offer my services as a proofreader and editor to almost just about anyone who needs it. Interestingly enough, French engineering students turn up on my doorstep with reports for me to proofread on a regular basis. This led me to my exciting new venture, Charles Siboto Bulletproofreading forInterns Abroad. A bit of a mouthful, right? But it’s all very exciting and I hope the venture does well. I have even dabbled in doing voiceovers, officially becoming the voice of one our book characters at work, Dogtective William.

This, dear Reader and fellow traveller, is where I find myself currently. I am juggling a publishing career and exploring many avenues as a freelancer. I am learning a lot in both spaces and I love it. I’m working with stories and helping people who tell them find ways to tell them as clearly as possible, whether it’s an author writing a book for children or a company that needs content written to succinctly share their vision. My own story remains, always, to be continued . . .

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Not so Fantastic Four

Not so Fantastic Four

I watched Fantastic Four so you don't have to. I'm a nice guy that way. Check out my review on