Music motivates youth to grow

2017-06-06 06:01

The increase in gang activities and shootings on the streets of some suburbs the past few months is a big worry for a Lotus River resident.

Mark Alexander (58), who has lived in the area since his teens, has observed the increase in crimes in his neighbourhood and feels that society has allowed its growth through promotion of a pop culture that popularised criminality.

“I think that our problem in the ‘new’ South Africa is that we have forgotten how to grow great minds in disadvantaged communities. In fact, if you take a look around you, it seems as if there is an all-out effort to suppress any young minds from growing out of their disadvantaged situations,” he says.

“The moulding of young minds starts with their experiences in the choices that pop culture offers them and it saddens me to see where today’s pop culture is taking our young people.”

He explains that during apartheid it was easy for non-whites to ignore this culture because people knew that anything the white-ruled broadcast media was trying to promote was meant to suppress black minds and make them believe in the stereotypes they were trying to set for South ­Africa.

“We found our influences away from radio and TV, finding inspiration in music and banned movies that gave us the inspiration to look beyond our disadvantages.

“One would think that in the new South Africa there would be more opportunities to show young people these choices, but it seems that there is still some system in place to limit the choices that young people have to see how they can become a positive part of the new South Africa.

“Unfortunately what you see is that most of the so-called music videos portray black men as pimps or gangsters who only make money from drugs, have no respect for women. The women must not have any clothes on and are only popular if they are stereotyped as prostitutes.”

Alexander says in his youth there was music that inspired the youth of the day to look beyond their circumstances.

“I did not come from a rich background but we listened to the likes of Bob Dylan, Curtis Mayfield and Stevie Wonder that gave us an insight into the injustice that the our government was perpetrating.

“There were local artists like Abdullah Ibrahim, Robbie Jansen and Basil Coetzee who made us aware of our capability and we took up that challenge of rising above those circumstances.

“I’ve seen the difference in the lives of young people who have been given more choices, young people who grew up with me and made a success of their lives through musical motivation.

“I think the time has come for people to look at the roots of these factors that influence our young people, ask the right questions and point at the people who want to keep our young minds suppressed.

“There are probably many other factors that are influencing young people, but the overall effect is that they start losing their ability to think properly in all other aspects of their lives.

“We can’t allow these negative factors to continue destroying our youth; we must start nurturing our young minds to embrace their positive capabilities.”

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