On the 1s and 2s with Lesley Mofokeng

2010-09-24 14:35

Welcome to my blog. This is my first post and I write it as I prepare to embark on a long trip to the Free State town of Bethlehem for a friend’s wedding.

We’re in the midst of Heritage Day weekend and I thought it would be appropriate to go nostalgic and talk about our heritage.

A wise man once said “without music, life would be a mistake”. Our existence would probably have been a rather drab affair, “lifeless” in many senses.

Not only does music give us a soundtrack of our days, but it’s a constant companion. It’s almost impossible to imagine going through life without picking a beat here or a note there. Along with the wheel and the steam locomotive, music is right up there as a great invention.

Music is an integral part of our heritage as South Africans, from the 1920s Afrikaans recordings, the skokiaan-fuelled Sophiatown songbook, protest music and gospel of the 70s and 80s, and the “rebellious” kwaito of the 90s and house of 2000s. You can offer a history lesson about this country purely through music.

Sadly, it has been bemoaned that with South Africans, “out of sight, out of mind” is not only just a saying, but a practice too.

We forget our heroes as soon as they depart from this world. Our music history, heritage and legacy are threatened by institutions that place no real value on achievers who have passed on.

A random award ceremony for the deceased and a mention from the minister of arts and culture around September don’t add much in the way of ensuring that our national music heroes are remembered and are part of the national psyche.

Names such as Miriam Makeba, Dolly Rathebe, Brenda Fassie, Busi Mhlongo, Mahlathini, Mpharanyana and Lebo Mathosa should not only be recognised by those upward of 25.

It should be a part of every South African child’s music enlightment. These heroes laid the foundation for today’s HHP, Thandiswa Mazwai, Lira, Theo Kgosinkwe and Simphiwe Dana. Let’s cherish our heritage and never forget.

Go and enjoy your braai, make memories and discover new soundtracks. Happy Heritage Day!

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