Daily Thoughts

Exploring Our Political Ills Through The Eyes of Msaki

I learn everything through music. I think I would go as far as to say that I live through music. The artists that I listen to speak for me and express the emotions that I have difficulty expressing to people, and as of late, I have been… angry.

In all honesty, I have never been one to follow politics. Even saying that I am apolitical would be inaccurate because politics do not even evoke enough emotion for me to even take that stance. For the overwhelming majority of my life, when conversations around political issues would come up around me, I would simply shrug my shoulders when asked for my opinion.

However, the state of the nation has become one of concern, even for me, as someone who has never given any thought to anything outside of the world of music. The unbelievable load shedding schedule, state of the roads, price of basic necessities, crime in my neighbourhood, poor public transport infrastructure and… and… and…

All of these things infuriate me. As of late, I have been finding myself questioning things. Why does the president have loads of foreign currency on a farm? How do we still have load shedding? Why are kids being shot for asking for something that they were told is a basic right? I don’t like using this word ‘woke’ because of the negative connotations that come with it, but I am becoming more conscious of the many so ills in my community. I am so much more aware of the realities of our country.

As I said at the beginning of this article, I learn through music, and Msaki’s Platinumb Heart Open offers me a channel to explore some of the thoughts that have been racing in my mind lately.

Growing up in South Africa, you are told of the strikes that our forefathers took part in for our ‘freedom’. From behind the pages of textbooks and frames of iconic pictures, they seem like events that could never reoccur. Or at least to the 7-year-old me, I couldn’t have imagined having the need to protest or being in a situation where I could risk being shot at.

Fast forward 12 years and I would be in that exact situation. I was doing my first year in university at the time and the fees must fall movement had gained momentum. Tear gas, rubber bullets and burning buses are some of the things that come to the top of my mind when I look back. We used to carry free condoms because it was said that the lubricant from the condoms would help soothe the irritation to the eyes that the tear gas caused. I will never forget seeing close friends wounded by rubber bullets… scary.

I vividly remember buying Kota’s from the local gran we affectionately called ‘Mamzo’, with my friends. The easiest jokes we could make was how the president at the time could not read numbers on a page. Due to our naivety, we didn’t think much of it, but looking back, the thought that people who are meant to lead the country could not even… let me not get sidetracked. If there was ever any doubt about the greedy pig mentality present in our government institutions, the Covid-19 pandemic confirmed it all. It is mind-blowing to think that even during a time when the world felt like it was caving in on itself, ‘our’ politicians still felt the need ‘take some cheese’ off the top. The best part of it all, it was a measly… R500 billion thousand trillion thousand. Nothing much.

Like every other black boy in the country, my first dream was to become a professional footballer and one day play for the best team in the country, Orlando Pirates – tongue in cheek. That meant I played football at every opportunity that presented itself and that included school games. I remember how we used to relish playing against larney schools like St. Davids in Inanda, or St. Johns because we knew it would an easy outing for us. On the way back, our bus driver loved to take the back routes of Rosebank, and when we would drive past the unnecessarily large compound in Rosebank everyone would remark, “that’s where the Gupta’s live”. Again, due to our naivety, we didn’t think much of it. Now, in my adulthood, hearing the surname Gupta makes the blood in my veins boil.

I need to reiterate that I didn’t write this piece to seem ‘woke’. I wrote this piece for the other kids that used to think like me. With the increasingly worrying state of our country, being apolitical is no longer an option.

It’s like pearls to a swine
The Best Music Journalist In Southy. - @lesiba__ everywhere if you're looking for me -

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