It’s Election Week, when we all head to the polls to cast our vote for who we think the right people are to lead our country over the next four years.
Elections in South Africa play such an integral role in our make-up; our heritage; and our status as one of the (if not the) greatest democracies in the world. We certainly have the greatest constitution, ensuring equality for all.
But can you believe how time flies? We’re already twenty years into democracy!
I love the role that music played and still plays in bringing about, celebrating, and preserving freedom.
Helping us gain freedom, we had artists like the late Miriam Makeba, who lived in exile, but was a resounding voice for the struggle; also groups like Bright Blue, who’s song ‘Weeping’ was a major metaphor for what apartheid was.
If we then skip to half way through our democracy, you have a kwaito song that did almost as much for transformation as the 1995 Rugby World Cup did – I’m of course speaking about Mandoza’s ‘Nkalakatha’, a track that South Africans, no matter their race, loved and would sing and dance along to. (In fact at one stage it became SA’s ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and would play at Springbok rugga games every time a try was scored.) Then who can forget in 2010 during Soccer World Cup fever, the song we all love to hate, but all join in singing together… “Make the circle bigger, make the bigger….” – that one of course by JR featuring HHP, with comedian Joey Rasdien doing the intro.
Then, let’s not forget the artists helping us to preserve our freedom. We have musicians like the hip-hop group Gate Khahlela, from Mpumalanga, who made news a few years ago for their song about President Jacob Zuma, called ‘My President’s a Pimp’, which criticized the President extremely. If you haven’t heard it yet, I strongly suggest YouTubing it, but just a word of caution: as with most hip-hop, it does contain plenty of strong language.
Music has, and always will, play a large role our fabric as a nation, and will always be a reflection of what society is feeling. So this weekend, celebrate our democracy, celebrate casting your vote, and celebrate South African music by supporting it.
Here are some great gigs to check out:
On Friday, May 9, checkout Tim Parr (who you may remember from the 1980s band, Ella Mental) performing at G-Spot (upstairs from Underground) in Wynberg, along with a still to revealed list of South African rock bad boys. The gig starts at 8.30pm and for more information, call 084 606 8488.
On Saturday, May 10, one of my favourite groups will play at Obviouzly Armchair, 135 Lowe Main Rd, Obs, from 9pm. The band is called Elevated Motion, and their style, in their own words, is “Strawberry Acoustic Indie Rock”. For more details about the gig, call: 021 460 0458.
Lastly, this Sunday, May 11, support charity and enjoy great music simultaneously at the Bands4BurnVictims concert happening at Hillcrest Quarry in Durbanville. Performing for your entertainment will be Freshlyground, the Boulevard Blues Band, Ward 10, Johnny Ray Band, Christian Castell, Early Hours, Cotton Lane, Heyfever, IVORY, Lift Club, and Della. The event starts at midday and will run until 10pm. To get hold of tickets, head over to Quicket.co.za – they are R100 for adults and R60 for students. Money raised will go to the Phoenix Burns Project.