…One ear at a time

This is the letter a dear friend of mine wrote to me on May 6 2015… I needed to share it for various reasons that I wont delve much into now. For the longest time, I used to question whether or not music made a quantifiable difference in peoples lives; beyond how it makes humans feel, does music have the power to cause humans to act out the message and advice contained within a song or certain type of music? Azola gave me a renewed hope in the impact that our art may have on the lives of even those we may not know, wherever they may be. 


Perhaps it is fitting to illustrate my journey with music, I once was interested in a certain Nubian Queen at Pinegroove Primary in my formative years. She was part of the choir and I attempted to join for the sole purpose of soliciting her affection, but to my dismay I realised I was vocally wounded…

 It can be argued that this is the critical incident or moment of truth that strongly informed my disinterest. However it must be noted that I was a cynical lad who entered a competition to win a CD on the craze e-tv show, I wanted to prove that competitions are an utter scam. Shock does not sufficiently qualify my reaction when I was the winner, I listened to the CD once or twice and that was the story.

Fast forward to adulthood, I walked into Musica last year- feeling like Christopher Columbus discovering what has always been there for many a people.  I purchased a CD for my dearest partner of greatness, a love orientated disc off course, I knew little about the content of this disc but I knew she was fond of the artist. She was pleased, that was enough for me… More than enough…

This is where the plot thickens, just this Monday I bought my first CD ever- for myself, to listen to, absurd I tell you my King. It is my seemingly insignificant attempt to support black business I think anyway I have since then been immersed in melody be it in the car or office, even as I write this. I am between and betwixt or should I say in an unresolved position, you be the judge. I find myself in unfamiliar territory but more importantly I find myself in good company. Just the title is provocative it arouses passion from every crevice of the soul, simply DO WHAT YOU LOVE.

I shall not attempt to delineate the musicality but even with these virgin ears I cannot be deaf to the content. I am moved, strongly so, by the concerted effort to express the feelings which a lot of people have and to say it is articulated well would be an injustice to the delivery. Listening to the album is like reading a beautifully written book by the African for the African, I hope listeners hear clearly that contentment is a higher currency than Rands. Over and above that my friend, you gentlemen have had a profound impact in my journey. Perhaps it was cosmic correspondence that we met when I was at crossroads…

My first energies of rebellion surfaced as I realised that I have been a benefactor of white privilege and through structural forces I found myself perpetuating white privilege in corporate South Africa. I was at the biggest market research firm globally, a Retailer Analyst- sounds great at cocktail parties when interacting with pea minded pseudo black intellectuals-graduates.

However I felt I was in the slave masters ship by choice- that was the worst. The ship, you see, is a space in which the slave is forced to reimagine himself anew — to invent subjectivities and (therefore) new knowledge’s through and upon which to negotiate (safeguard) his always fragmented being. The ship, incidentally, becomes our other platform for self-reimagining. Yet, as with all things not ours, we should always tread with much care, always remembering the fitting “Nietzschean” aphorism that: “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.” I left…

Today I sit, doing work that is positively impacting people’s lives- meaningful work. Work that moves my soul which speaks to our people, it is well with my soul. Thank you King, I wish you great success man, it’s a privilege…

Jah Bless Africano

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