Music Exchange: Mentors

Music Exchange: Mentors
By Martin Myers

By Martin Myers

It was Youth Month this month and on June 16 I had the privilege of speaking at a workshop hosted by the Department of Culture and Sport (DCAS for short) in Grabouw, some 40 minutes from town. The town hall was packed with young learners and adults eager to see the kids perform and hear the speakers inspire the kids. What was such a joy was the speakers told real life stories and gave the kids facts and hope.

One young adult wanted to be a journalist and I remember Zane Mquetuka, a former Mr. South Africa runner up, going to the young learner and explaining how to find all the tools you need on the internet. Let’s hope she follows through and starts writing. The only barrier to entry is access to the web for the young child and hopefully the local library can give her access if not her school.

What was so inspiring for me was that the department realizes that resources need to be spread around and the focus for this year is the Overberg region. The day in Grabouw ended with the inspirational story of Karin Kortje, who grew up there and is achieving her dreams after many ups and downs and is now a role model and mentor to a whole new young generation of young adults.

Then on Friday night I witnessed some of Cape Town’s finest players giving of their time to mentor young jazz artists. These established artists – the likes of Frank Paco, Ian Smith, Amanda Tiffin, Camillo Lombard and Charlton Daniels – don’t need to do it, but they do because they want to see the next generation succeed and become stars and become great players at their chosen craft. It is such a noble thing to do to mentor someone. It is hugely fulfilling and works both ways –for the teacher and the pupil .The pupil keeps asking, “Why me?” and the teacher pushes and wants to see the pupil achieve.

By pupil and teacher one does not only mean school or university going learners; it can happen at any time in one’s career. I have had the honor of being mentored by one of the founders of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation and I am deeply indebted to the two years he gave me of his time to guide and strengthen my personal resolve .A mentor sees things you do not see. He is able to push you to look at the world with different eyes and see and read challenges in a different way. The lessons can be harsh, but the rewards are like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The trick for the pupil is to read the road signs that are placed in front of them and to seize the moment.

Don’t make the mistake of not trusting the road sign or listening .One cannot do this on one’s own. You always need a sounding board, but those who make it seize the moment and listen to the seed that has been planted. The trick is to listen out for those signposts and that’s what mentors do – they sometimes place them in the most obscure place. You just have to be sharp enough to ask the question to get to the answer.

The gig of the week ties in with this week’s theme:

Mark Haze at the The Bay Harbor Market on Sunday, June 28

Mark is a hard working honest musician who takes his craft seriously and has shaken off the ‘Idols’ tag and now just needs another big hit to propel his career to even greater heights .He is definitely worth going to see.

Time: Starts at 12pm

Location: Bay Harbor, 31 Harbor Road, Hout Bay