The other day my one and only sends me a text to tell me that she had just discovered the MZANTSI YOUTH CHOIR. Now this is intriguing since in 1987, I would be the one who tells her about what was going on in South Africa Culturally politically and otherwise. Since I am the black partner in the relationship and could go to the darkest corners of Mzantsi. Now I think that I am the white one in conduct and lack of knowledge of what is going down in Mzantsi.
She now has to educate me in what the township has to offer. If truth be told I have spent too much time in the Suburbs’ have lost touch……….I have lost touch!
The other day I meet a young girl in Emdeni Soweto, Now, in my time Emdeni was the real Wild Wild West. The township did not come wilder than that…….So I see this young girl about 8 years and my assumption is that she is a poor black girl, victim of surroundings no exposure, probably struggling at school etc…..I am looking for an address to pay my respects at the home of an old Diseased friend of mine…..I start by greeting her and calling her closer. She obliges and I start by asking her as to where I can find a certain number?
She then comes front up with so much confidence and asked if my car lacks a GPS in perfect English. Now, one I did not expect this, two I am shocked, three she takes over the conversation. She then says what the number was again. I repeat the number. She then goes on to explain how those who numbered this section of the township did not understand the importance of chronological order. But in any event she then explains the mis- sequence (her words) and how I should navigate going forward and tell me where this number will probably be!
I thank her, just before she gives me her cell number to call her in case the fool that I am gets lost.
I proceed in a shocked state to where I was going an indeed find the house.
After I paid my respects I find my way out of Emdeni and then begin to reflect at how out of touch with my people I have become. The 19 years of suburbia have really messed me up. I no longer belong in the ‘Hood’ nor do I belong in the ‘Suburbs’. It was at this point that I remembered that I come from this place whose pulse I no longer recognise. I think it was Nat Nakasa who wrote ‘A Native From Nowhere’. I could relate to him at this point.
So, in any event I listen to the Mzantsi Youth Choir cd and find a track called ‘Take Me Home’ which was very southing and relevant since Soweto is my home. I was quite surprised to see the CD sleeve cover taken from the Walls my old happy hunting ground ‘Eyethu Cinema. With the words ‘I love Soweto’ well pronounced.Cene van der Merwe who did the design cover probably had no idea that I used to que on that wall for my Saturday fix of a movie at The Eyethu Kiddies Club.
‘Homeless’ is classic and performed in their own unique style. It is based on that great Paul Simon, Joseph Shabalala & Ladysmith Black Mambazo original. This song never fair to send me back to 1987. I had not seen Nelson Mandela in person since I was born only when he was already in jail and all pictures of him banned. The very thought of missing someone who has been jailed for so long and the effect of arrest and repression brought some disposition and deprivation firm and squire against you heart and you really felt Homeless in deed. Well I felt it deep in my soul.
The concert in the park in London had been staged in 86’ so all you heard anywhere in the world was the word ‘Release’ and you guessed it…..Mandela. In fact some kids in America thought his name was Release.
Anyway ,the track ‘WEEPING’ is also included in this CD.This is as South African as only the people in Mzantsi can make it.The Soweto String Quoted has a rendition of this and it is difficult to choose which one is the best. Mark my words not better but best, they are all good.
Then there is an inclusion of the ‘African Dream’ by Vicky Simpson. World famous great song.
Hallelujah written by Canadian Leonard Cohen is as South African as they come. One really then notices that South African songs are steeped in spirituality. This is why they resonate with everyone around the World.
Indodana is pure a’Capella piece about the Crucifixion of Christ in a manner that turns it into a southing feather lala-bye that encourages the end of suffering. Indodana is apt
Anyway as I come to the end of this CD, I realise that I was taken into a nostalgic journey of Mzantsi my Home.
Including all the GOOD, the BAD & the INDIFFERENT.