Tag Archives: Johnny Clegg

A somber event, makes for sincere posts

My last post was quite ambiguous (although I hope everyone got that it was about the recent death of Mandela). Just to explain, I decided to write a small post.

The first section, in quotes, was the iconic song by Johnny Clegg & Savuka called “Asimbonanga (Mandela)”. I have written the translation of the chorus and title in the quote.
I grew up listening to this song and other songs from the band’s two albums, “Third World Child” and “African Shadow Man”. In fact, I still listen to them daily. They, and many other songs, are my solace because I can listen to them and remember. Which is one of the many reasons why I love music so, because I associate each song that I listen to with a particular period of my life (although many are timeless!)

It was through Asimbonanga that I learnt about my, albeit very distant, connections with South Africa. During the middle section of the song, Clegg reads names of those who died in the anti apartheid struggle. Due to my unforgiving curiosity, I had to ask who these people were.

Steve Biko. The name still stands out to me when I played the song continually on Thursday and Friday.
My godmother knew him, he was her classmate. I knew it wasn’t much of a connection, but that little link and my love for the band’s music made me feel closer to South Africa. She left the country as soon as possible after facing discrimination during the regime, but the poisoned tentacles of Apartheid still reached her in the supposed sanctuary of England. Her brother was murdered in a skirmish. He did not need to die, but he did.

Many lives are still being shattered daily due to the petty and uneccessary warfare in places such as the Central African Republic- why should it matter whether we are muslim or christian? Why should people kill each other for different beliefs?

In my opinion, there is no point talking but not doing. It is a problem, and it must be solved. Countries like this could be on the verge of a genocide. But how can we do anything?

Would they listen to us? Probably not.

The poem was written by me, I just wrote what came to my head. I don’t really know what it is, but for the sake of classifying things we can call it a poem.

When I go to school everyday, when I look at myself in the mirror, I see myself. I don’t see “Indian” or “Asian” or “Black” or “Brown”. When I see my friends, or people walking down the street,  I don’t see them as a colour.

Yet it is still something that people feel the need to comment upon, and not necessarily in a bad way. Personally, I think that you can still retain your own culture and traditions without distinguishing race, sexuality or gender.

We should not see colour, but I think we still do.

I hope that has explained some things! Good night!



We have not seen him.

We have not seen Mandela,

In the place where he is,

In the place where he is kept.

I am not a colour, nor shall I ever be.

For I am a blank page;

Though every second I colour myself in,

With the paintbrush and pallet of life.

No one can hold my paintbrush,

No one can seize my pallet,

But I see their pages and I understand.

I understand why they want to take my freedom,

For they have taken their own.

But I must forgive them.

Otherwise my canvas will start to shriek like theirs

And my page will no longer be a myriad of colours,

But it will twist up and die.


I am defiant.

I will always have my paintbrush and pallet.


Ever since  Fleetwood Mac, Queen and good ol’ Eric Clapton roaming the Earth or more so on my Dad’s record player, I have always air guitared it out- yes we are talking since I was about 5 (there are many embarrassing videos of me hopping about to some Johnny Clegg and Savuka). Yeah well they call me the “headbanger”, what can I say..

For the past few years, I have been eager to try out either the drums or guitar- because I found that beating the stool to a pulp using some cocktail sticks from Italy or pretending my violin was a Fender just wasn’t working! And after a few years of ponderment (?), I did it. I just went and asked my wonderful parents if I could get a guitar, convincing them in the process that I wouldn’t be a dilletante in the field of electric guitaring. THEY SAID YES, and boy does it feel good. Imagining yourself playing the guitar in the mirror isn’t quite the same as holding the smooth built-in neck of your classic ebony Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plaintop and watching the light reflect of its shiny black surface- ahh the joy. Not to mention its ultra cool sidekick the Fender Mustang 1 V2 (the amp is so important) AND TOGETHER THEY WILL FIGHT OFF THE EVILS OF THE WORLD.

YES I NEED TO EXPRESS MY PURE EXCITEMENT AND LADILADILADSDSDKFKLF;kldjf;lkdjs (excitement, joy and hyperactivity summed up in one long beautiful word).

But what’s the point of playing something, if you don’t know how it works?

So this is obviously just a simple explanation, but hopefully when I go on to study engineering at (Oxford (MY MIND’S TELLING ME NO (because let’s face it, that is WAAy too hopeful) BUT MY BODY, MY BODY’S TELLING ME YEAAAHAHH))(bracketphilia again) I will understand everything like sugar on a pancake (with lemon, don’t ask about the analagy, I write what pops in my head, no more.)

If you play an electric guitar without an amp, it doesn’t make much sound because it doesn’t have a sound hole, like the acoustic guitar has. So the electric guitar, unlike the acoustic guitar, has pick-ups (my gorgeous gitarra has humbucker pick-ups, but you can also get single coil pick-ups as well), the electric guitar normally has a pickup at the neck and near the bridge. When the metal strings are played, the pick-ups beneath the strings create electric sound signals, which are then sent to the volume and tone controls and then to the amplifier.

Pick-ups work by producing a magnetic field (they contain magnets)  around the strings and coil of wire. When the strings vibrate, they cause the fields to vary in strength. Because the field is changing, it creates a varying electric current in the coil of wire, which is then sent off to the volume and tone controls.

The amp, works by amplifying (so punny) the weak signal of the guitar by increasing the voltage, thus increasing its power (power=current x voltage). The amplifier contains lots of transistors to regulate the stronger flow of current from power supplies. The amplifier can use the transistors and other components to change the sound of the guitar as well.

Now I don’t want to bore anyone, so there will be another post all about the amaziinginosity of transistors (awesome new word right there.)