South Africa is a complicated country. Part of the problem is that we no longer listen to each other. It’s all in the past the capitalists say. Let’s just move on and live says many others, mostly white people, who do not want to acknowledge our past and how injured and fragile we all are as a people. All of us, regardless of color.
I would be termed ‘Colored’. A term given by an apartheid government meant to separate and isolate. Not black enough, not white enough some say. What bullshit! I come from a people who have walked this land from the very start. A people with magic, stories and songs in their bones. I come from a people whose mythology reflect the trickery, cruelty and humor of the gods. I am from Africa, of Africa…this time round.
I can tell you of so many dreams where I was shown the way, with and without music. My ancestors walk with me, my granny especially. The coolest dream was one where I was in a classroom filled with musicians and vocal coaches. And they argued amongst each other as to what method I should follow! I woke up knowing I just walked out of a master class. This, the night before I sang on stage for the first time.
I know I do not sing alone or only for myself. I know that I can articulate rage and righteous fuckin anger with such ferocity it alarms even me! The kind only a woman feels. I know I can shapeshift into another every time I sing or write.This is why the South African music industry does not know what to do with me. In fact no one knows what to do with me and my music. Sing a stupid song to get on radio. So the masses get it. Or enter a reality show so you gain more exposure. Fuck. That.
I am more than a color, we all are. Yet what I have been gifted with by the shading of my skin, the history and pain of a people, is a blessing. The differences we all carry is what strengthens us. When young ‘colored’ musicians complain I look at them carefully and say….hmmm….and if you were born 300 years ago eh?
Tell your own story or the stories of those forgotten. Invoke them back into being. Blend the past with where you now stand and Be Heard. Show up, stop trying to fit it and for godsake….stop being nice. Yes. I am writing to remind myself (especially the nice bit) and to honor a very grumpy father and all those who came before me. And I do it for my daughter so she might look at me the way I look at my Mother…with nothing but the utmost love and respect.