Letters From The Road
I have spent the last few weeks on an extended workshop roadshow: promoting my book and doing workshops with local musicians in different cities and talking to local press. This morning finds me in a cold and wet Port Elizabeth and next week sees me in George and then Cape Town before heading back to JHB for June.
With the book “1, 2, 1,2: A Step By Step Guide To The SA Music Industry” out since end September it is the kind of follow up activity required to keep interest levels high. But more than that, it is an opportunity to see how the book live in the lives of its reader and try to expand its central message: if you do the work, you will get the reward.
I find myself a politically disappointed human being. The US continues to interfere at will with domestic policy around the world, only the nations with oil get their dictators removed, the Euro zone is falling apart and back home, a corrupt regime gets voted back into power in cities around the country. There doesn’t seem much to smile about.
And then I spend a few hours with young musicians and their ambitions and enthusiasm and I begin again to feel the hope for this world that has inspired my life. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a huge fan of the average musician. That’s why I wrote the book. They are often arrogant, ignorant and wilfully contrary about what they know and how they see the world. But these are young people from township and suburb who have a vision of the world and the country that doesn’t seem to include racism, corruption and crony-ism. Is this who did not vote this time around? I wonder.
Maybe it is because I am back in PE, the turning point in my life as a young man from multi skilled nice guy into sidelined strange guy. Maybe because I wonder if we now live in a world where good men stand by and let the greatest of evils take place without comment. Maybe it’s because, in my own way, I am also sowing the seeds of another way of looking at the world and I wonder if it’s all too late to change it.
I listened to Prof Jonathan Jansen speak at GIBS this week and I agree: we have no self sacrificial leaders who do what is right for its own sake and the sake of the people. Not in the world, not in business, not in religions and not in South Africa. We are overcome with greed, special interest privilege and the kind of myopic materialism that can only be dangerous to the planet, ourselves and everyone around us. Every day we stand around and don’t act and speak out about this is a great evil that we perpetuate. Every day spent ourselves benefitting from a society that burns more food than people starving around the world need, compromises us.
All you can change is your immediate environment; you have to be the change you want to see in the world. If these things are true, most of us don’t want change because it will require sacrifice and change from us. That is a truly saddening state of affairs because all it requires is each one of us to do one small thing differently TODAY and the world can change. This is saddening because we all know this and yet all we do is talk. And while words can and do shape the world, actions can rebuild it and its time we took part in that. Forget the corporate, the corrupt politicians and the gangsters. Ask yourself how corrupt your lack of action makes you today. Then be the change you want to see in the world. Just a small bit of it least. Today. Have a nice weekend.