This year has been a full one for me, and probably for you too! I don’t know many people who aren’t feeling overwhelmed and heartsore at the end of 2018.
For Beloved it has been a year of highs and lows. Some of our teams’ families have grown, and other team members have been seriously ill. For a while it looked like Cape Town was heading for ‘Day Zero’, the day the water would run out, only for abundant rain to fall in the winter. We moved studio, went to Zurich and Paris, finished a commissioned artwork and published a new catalogue. Just when I was really starting to enjoy making some shop improvements with my own hands this November, and really loving becoming physically strong with the help of an amazing body engineer, I was hit with appendicitis and emergency surgery! I am readying myself for more applications to Home Affairs next year, and praying that my permanent residency comes soon so that I can finally call this place my home for sure. And in general, it feels like South Africa is having some tough conversations with itself, and recognising the need to grieve and to address monumental injustices. This city, and this country, continue to be one of the most deeply beautiful and terrifyingly painful places to live in.
In the midst of all this, I find myself turning to music for solace and comfort, and in doing so I am reminded of the overflowing cup that is South African music and culture. I am not exaggerating when I say this country is absolutely oozing with talent. So I thought I would share some of the music that is ‘giving me life’, as the lovely people over at Code Switch would say, for the last few days of the year.
I recently attended the final performance of the year by Sky Dladla, a postgraduate music student at UCT. I knew it was going to be good, but wow! She reminded me, so powerfully, of the potential music offers for healing. It felt like the room was shaking. The audience couldn’t help but make noise, weep, move, whoop for joy, and generally revel in the beauty of what Sky was doing. I sat there, in a small university room, marveling that I get to witness such a gift.
The first song I want to share, therefore, is Sky’s piece iFele, which she recently released on SoundCloud. I can’t get it out of my head, and keep finding myself singing it out loud as I walk through car parks, sit at my desk, or wonder round shops! I’d highly recommend following her career.