Dear Reader

Tonight we went to a concert for a band called Dear Reader and it was fantastic! They performed at the Fugard Theatre which proved to be a beautiful venue with all its historical and aesthetic value. Now while the concert was amazing and we all enjoyed it thoroughly some of the conversation that they had with the crowd and the content of their songs brought up a lot of topics we have discussed about South Africa and its controversial past. For starters the band’s lead artist is originally from Johannesburg and while she now lives in Berlin, Germany her latest album was inspired entirely by South African culture and history.   (Here is a link to some of their latest music  … Starting off their show the lead artist explained that their first song was inspired by her great great grandfather who was actually one of Ghandi’s lawyers. When he was working with him they needed to stay at a hotel but that the owner would not rent out a room to Ghandi because he was a man of color and due to that her great great grandfather chose to share his bed with him. This story is just another example of the injustice that people of color had to deal with in this country but that there WERE white people who made the risks and sacrifices necessary to make sure that these people were heard and felt as if they were worthy of basic human rights. This was only the beginning of a series of many more songs to come that would inadvertently make me think about many of the things that I’ve learned about this country’s history, as well as some of the conversations I’ve had during my stay here. Some of these songs included a song inspired by controversy between the Zulu and the British and the invasion of foreigners due to the East India Trading Company in Cape Town. It was just very eye opening how these events of the far and recent past are still so influential in the music of an all-white indie rock band and how it affected and distracted me so much at a random concert where my only agenda was to have fun. Another random conversation that struck me during the concert was before she sang the song relating to the East India Trading Company in Cape Town. She addressed the conversation from a very white perspective and then half way through stopped herself and asked “wait.. is there any colored people in the crowd.. ‘laugh pause’.. ok good.. well not really good ..but..” .  I just found that situation very interesting, especially since she does have a progressive family history but at the same time knowing that since her fan base is predominately white that she would be able to get away with saying certain things. It just goes to show that in South Africa their troubling past can rear its head in literally any situation.



One thought on “Dear Reader

  1. Wow, this sounds like a fascinating night out. I love how the songs touched on so much of what we studied early on…but you’re point about her acknowledgement of her fan base really sticks with me. Reminds me of that piece on Rodriguez/Searching for Sugarman.

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