I’ve always loved this picture of my mother. I like to imagine that she was sitting at a Cat Stevens concert or something alike which seems fitting given the musical background to my childhood. The reality is that she must have been about 23 here which would have made it 1983, the height of the Apartheid and political unrest in South Africa. This would mean that the chances of her having the opportunity to watch an international act on local soil would have been little to none. Also with the international ban on travel, I can rightly assume that she was not sitting at Woodstock in the US taking in the culture. I never asked my mother about this picture, so truth is I can only rely on assumptions.
All this said, there was never a shortcoming of wonderful eclectic tunes vibrating through the house as a child. The soundtrack of my childhood is a mixture of Cat Stevens, JJ Cale, Queen, Chris de Burgh, the Afrikaans greats like Coenie De Villiers and everything in between. I personally feel a great sense of pride to have grown up within this environment. I am till this day, a great lover of music.
I think it is also interesting how different types of music can become part of different routines. My mother had many music routines some of them drove me and my brother crazy. One of our least favourites was her insistence on playing classical music while driving. I don’t understand why this was a thing for her but it was always there without fail.
Another music ritual of hers happened on Sundays. Sundays in her head had three purposes:
- To watch sport all day on silent (Cricket, tennis were the favourites and I should also point out that we only had one television)
- To cook a Sunday lunch (I cannot complain about this one)
- To play (very very loudly) Afrikaans music all day.
Sundays were filled with all the Afrikaans greats, one album stands out called Diep- Musiek vir jou siel (roughly translated as:Deep – Music For Your Soul).The funny thing is that I find myself listening to this album on the odd Sunday. I’m not convinced they make music like that any more.
My mother was besotted with the song ‘I’m the great pretender’ sang by Freddie Mercury, it also became the theme to her funeral. What a song and oh what a video. Seems quite fitting.