Three Young spectators protecting their faces from rubber particles and smoke as they spin the pitch Wheelz n Smoke On, July 7th 2024, Johannesburg, South Africa

Kyle Thosmon NPR


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Kyle Thosmon NPR

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s New Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Robbed His First Bank at 16 Years Old but Notes That It “wasn’t as glamorous as the movies make it.”

Gayton McKenzie’s career path has been unusual, from rags-to-riches, gangs-to government, prisons to parliament.

A seismic shift in South Africa’s Political landscape in May’s McKenzie’s victory was ultimately decided by the election. Cabinet position. The African National Congress The ruling party since Nelson Mandela’s Time lost its majority in the Parliament for the first time since 30 years. May.

The McKenzie was forced to form a coalition with the ANC. Patriotic Alliance The other 10 parties were (PA).

Suddenly McKenzie was an ex-convict who became McKenzie a cabinet member. He made fun of this moment at his swearing-in.

McKenzie, a 50-year-old man, tells NPR about his childhood in a neighborhood where street gangs were rife during apartheid.

Elon Rayners handing out Patriotic Alliance shirts at Wheelz n Smoke Arena.

Elon Rayners Handing out Patriotic Alliance T-shirts Wheelz n Smoke Arena.

Kyle Thomson NPR


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“The area that you’re born in decides … in which gang you become. And it’s still like that in South Africa — the area defines, ‘oh you are born on the side of the Americans, the Philadelphia Kids’ or whatever gang,” He says.

He He also says he became a member of a gang when he was feeling that “criminals were the only ones that was free” The brutal system that oppresses racial minorities.

He was in and out of jail through his teens, before being sentenced to 17 years in prison when he was about 20 years old — a fate he actually welcomed, He says.

“Where we grew up, going to jail was a badge of honor, it’s like … going to Harvard or to Princeton,” he says. “Then when I come out of jail, I’ve made my bones.”

In McKenzie, who was jailed for gang leadership but became a whistleblower as well, had a dual career. He Secrets taped and exposed A prison investigation was prompted by allegations of corruption and abuse.

Spinners Kayla Oliphant and WheelznSmoke owner Monde Hashe.

Spinners Kayla Oliphant The following are some examples of how to get started: WheelznSmoke Owner Monde Hashe.

Kyle Thomson NPR

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When He was released from prison after 10 years and received an early parole. He decided to reinvent himself into a successful businessman. FirstHe tells the story as he sees it. “became a dollar millionaire” Through a business of seafood distribution.

He Later, he invested in nightclubs and mining. One The nightclubs that he owned with an ex-prisoner friend. Kenny KuneneThe man who became known South Africa’s “Sushi KingAfter he famously hosted a birthday celebration where guests were allowed to consume the Japanese Delicacy of naked models

All McKenzie also spoke at high schools as a motivator and wrote about his own life in a book called The Hustler’s Bible.

Prison Parliament

But He wanted to go into politics.

In He founded the PA in 2013, a right-wing, populist party which claimed to be promoting the interests of McKenzie. “colored” community. In South AfricaIt is a non-derogatory, official term for people of mixed race heritage.

The PA calls for mass expulsion of immigrants who have entered the country illegally. African countries. McKenzie blames immigrants Taken South African He once said he would not hesitate to offer jobs and services. “turn off” Oxygen in a hospitalized patient Mozambican The following are some examples of how to use Zimbabwean Give it to someone South African.

Zwikhodo 'Ziko', performing a powerslide at Wheelz n Smoke Arena, July 7th 2024, in Johannesburg South Africa

Zwikhodo ‘Ziko’, performing an powerslide Wheelz n Smoke Arena, July 7th, 2024 in Johannesburg South Africa

Kyle Thomson NPR


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His In its manifesto, the party also calls for a reintroduction of the death sentence and conscription.

Since Nominated as Sports Minister Jul McKenzie is being accused of graft, but has also vowed that he will clean it up. investigated over corruption allegations Referring to the time he served as the mayor of an area municipality in 2022-2023. One What are the questions being investigated by the Western Cape High Court Here’s where the money raised from a gala-dinner fundraiser went.

The PA has never been a major political party. South Africa’s The political scene has changed in this year. It The party received 2% in the elections, which translates into nine seats in Parliament. South Africa’s sixth-largest party. It McKenzie’s message and story of life resonated most strongly in colored areas.

Spectators in the grand stands cheering as the spinning show begins, at Wheelz n Smoke arena, on July 7th 2024, Johannesburg, South Africa

Spectators The spinning show starts with the crowd cheering in the grandstands. Wheelz n Smoke On, July 7th 2024, Johannesburg, South Africa

Kyle Thomson NPR


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McKenzie’s trademark wit was evident at his funeral. swearing in ceremonyBy: South Africa’s This month’s top judge is When When the judge told the new minister that he should sit down, the exconvict joked: “The last time a judge asked me to sit, he made me sit for 10 years.”

“I will be the best minister,” McKenzie tells NPR with a smile that is wide and has a gap between his teeth, as well as hints of Donald Trump-like bravado.

Promoting The following are some of the ways to get in touch with us. “petrol heads”

Not McKenzie himself is a good judge of his own self-worth. Since President Cyril Ramaphosa When he was named minister of arts, sports and culture, local media, as well as artistic personalities, reacted that he lacked the credentials to hold such a position. Given How many? South Africans Some people think that he shouldn’t be in the House of Representatives because of his unsavory background and politics. Cabinet At all.

A prominent political cartoonist known as Zapiro, The minister was shown holding a baseball bat with a label that read “bloodied” “sport” The label on the guitar-case that contains a gun reads: “culture.”

But McKenzie is nonplussed.

Spinners Iki Khan and Stacey-lee May.

Spinners Iki Khan The following are some examples of how to get started: Stacey-lee May.

Kyle Thomson NPR


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In He says that he wants the arts to be more accessible. “destigmatize it,” Given that he was bullied for being interested in arts because he wasn’t “an alpha male.”

For He wants to promote something that he is passionate about, car spinning. This This is a dangerous motorsport and a subculture that emerged from South Africa’s ganglands and involves driving souped-up BMWs in wild circles, often while the passenger — or driver — climbs out the car window to perform hair-raising stunts.

Spinning began in South Africa’s As a form of honoring the fallen, townships were used as funeral rites for gangsters during apartheid. UsuallyThe cars that were used to transport the goods were stolen.

These It’s illegal to do it on street corners. It In the past, cars that have lost control have killed or injured people who were watching.

Young boys immitating the mechanics working on the spinning cars at the Wheelz n Smoke Arena, July 7th 2024, in Johannesburg South Africa

Young Boys imitating mechanics at the wheel of the car Wheelz n Smoke Arena, July 7th, 2024 in Johannesburg South Africa

Kyle Thomson NPR


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McKenzie wants to regulate the industry. He Claims in gang-ridden zones when there is a car spinning incident that “crime goes down.”

“I’ve done spinning all my life, that’s why I know, when they say ‘petrol heads’ you’re not going to get those kids away from spinning.”

At The spinning event takes place in Johannesburg Over the weekend, both drivers and fans were excited about the plans of the Minister for their sport.

Sunesh 'Sushi' Pursad, Spinner, performing Stunt on spinning pitch at Wheelz n Smoke Arena, July 7th 2024, Johannesburg, South Africa

Sunesh ‘Sushi’ Pursad, SpinnerPerformers Stunt Spinner pitch at Wheelz n Smoke Arena, July 7th 2024, Johannesburg, South Africa

Kyle Thomson NPR


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Tires Smoke rose from the tarmac when a car spray-painted in bright colors careened around a makeshift track on a dusty piece of land outside a low-income neighborhood. Johannesburg.

As It zigged and zoomed at breakneck pace, and the passenger precariously climbed out the window of the vehicle and onto the roof.

The crowd, sitting around the track — huddled against the winter cold in puffy jackets — went wild.

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