Thursday, July 18, 2024

THE LAST TOAST THAT WE RAISE GOES TO YOU, MY FRIEND

As a Motswana growing up in an environment that was abuzz with folk music of all forms and styles, I unconsciously established connections between various roots music. My pre-disposition to the UCCSA hymnal culminated with strong attachment to Choral Music with a Western touch and ultimately Western Classical Music. The whole reveal of my musical side rose to the surface when I discovered ‘real’ jazz. I burrowed deeper into its genealogy, hybrids and descendants.

The lines between music cultures and genres that had hitherto been drawn for me instantly became blurry. I realized it was a precarious undertaking to delve on musical categorizations and classifications that lack a proper base because music is not discreet packages, it is all over-laps.

I have allowed the lessons that I gleaned in my musical experiences to have a spill-over effect in other spheres of my life and if it’s a prism through which I should view the world, I have allowed myself to let it be. It is easy for human-kind to draw lines where there are none, to declare ourselves what we are not and what’s worse, to adjudicate the world by our misguided perceptions and standards. We seek glory and world acclaim for our modest achievements because we cannot separate the individual from the collective, the individual from the general nor sectional from the universal. All this, is a leaf I plucked from musical undertakings, involvement and observation.

It was that knowledge and wisdom that illuminated my line of sight further than the veil of appellations, poetic allegories and spirited speeches in the run up for the elections. Where some people vehemently stressed differences between the men and women that adorn blood red, those in melon green and the ones in the shades of yellow, I saw similarities. Where some saw similarities I read pointed contrast.

At the height of it all, it became clear to me which movements were playing second fiddle to individuals; I mean like over-shadowed to the point of oblivion by a fundamentally patriarchal setting. Frivolities of political ideologies and over-extended milestones were used to drown the clamor of the disenchanted ÔÇô instead of evaluating progress from 5 or 10 years ago, the crafty defenders of regression chose to remind people about their plight ages back in 1966; an implicit concession that progress had been subliminal.

True characters emerged when the heat intensified and people would travel miles, descend upon the city of a God-fearing tribe and start launching pugnacious invective arsenal upon the chief with impunity. They denigrated the tribe and hauled the queen to desecrate her family before her face ÔÇô the things that happen when the sanctity of family is not respected would cause angels to shrivel. That is not politicking because politics is about family; it is about the basic unit of a nation towards nationalization. Bolting out of a fellow activist’s funeral only to pour scorn and malignity at the send-off on social media is not politicking, it is palpable benightedness ÔÇô it was personal on my person!

Going around and chanting your appellations to the public like magical incantations; that’s not politicking, it is exaggerated self love and too much self love is self doubt! Beaming television clips that denigrate the dead and those they were associated with, denying bereaved families a chance to mourn their departed is not politicking, it is at best an unpardonable and incorrigible vice or a clear anti-God influence. Family, nation and politics are not even a horse and carriage; they are inherently intertwined by God. Polluting politics and belittling families is tantamount to mocking God Himself. He watches from aloft and His will shall soon be done ÔÇô that time is near and that train is never late!

When that time comes we shall all be changed – change is imminent and change is what we shall all experience. The time shall be characterized by among others, boldness of people’s representatives. The time shall be upon us when legislators and local authorities can follow the convictions and dictates of their hearts in the best interest of the nation and not lament veering from the right course due to intimidation for individual interest. It shall be upon us when families can be pulled back from the sidelines so that they can take the center stage in the development discourse.

It surely shall be upon us when complacency is deposed by role taking, when groveling and sheepish obedience is melted in assertiveness of the citizenry and leadership. The problem is politics is like music ÔÇô it is for everyone! You may decide to practice it or let it lull, but it affects and touches you one way or another.They both havedescent shares of genuine practitioners, pirates and fly-by-nights. Whether you are accredited in the field, a firebrand, a star or rare avis, you are as good as a novice because these trades are for everyone.

While I shudder to comment against any movement, my confidence and equanimity are not shaken when I vouch for the men and women whom I know. This humble and God-fearing lot adorns the shades of yellow. Their versatility and diversity of thought reconcile well with personalities that defy labels and classes. They have not only raised the level of awareness and assertiveness of the nation, they have also heightened the hope of the downcast with their aplomb and poise. They have taken the first step in the right direction. While their odyssey may be fraught with challenges, none are unfathomable for them. These are people who show love as a quality of the heart and not a gimmick for self-exaltation; people who will not sham hilarity when they are disconcerted nor feign contentment when they are despondent.

These are people who hold the family in high regard, people who believe that the loftiest nature of life is not independence but inter-dependence and synergy as demonstrated by how they cooperated creatively for greater national good. If along the way they subordinate principle to self gratification, I pray that God smites them harshly for squandering and abusing public trust and goodwill.It is good to brand leaders and thrust them forward, butwe shall realize they are losing the plot when the movement’s brand gets eclipsed by the leaders’ brand because individuals bow out one way or another ÔÇô sometimes they meet untimely accidents, sometimes they lose their steam and the public rejects them woefully, but the movement should remain afloat.We shall be forlorn of hope the day they quit consulting and engaging the nation and become sacrosanct and omniscient.

Among the lot that I have described there are those who have been elected into the legislative; of course in record numbers. Hey, should I mention how I received timeless calls when the results were announced ÔÇô friends and some relatives wanted to share their joy for the achievement their son, Sir G helped to bring ÔÇô to them it was not affiliation or partisan, it was emotionally personal. I was more than humbled when my wife reacted to that achievement with tears; my composure nearly deserted me. Ok, back to where we were, I could read more than coincidence when those men and woman took oath clad in black. I ruled out camouflage because it was morning and they never engage in any nocturnal operations that require dark colors.

I ruled out illusion of a background like in performing arts production when the crew avoids polluting the foreground visual and competing with the cast because they knew the spot-light was above their heads. When I noticed an insignia that bore Mokaulengwe Gomolemo Motswaledi’s portrait pinnedon their jackets, I realized the black color was symbolic; arousing the natural and psychological associations of mourning. That gesture instantly evoked my musical side and I started foraging for the most relevant musical album to suit it. If there is a song they could have adapted in that feat, it’s none other than one soft rock tune by Hawk Nelson, The Final Toast. While I wouldn’t want these words to be another encomium, another eulogy; I feel impelled to share:

From [Pitsane] to [Maun] and all between
You have left us here a life of memories.
You forever changed the lives of all of us who have known you.
Truth be told, this world feels cold without you.
You gave all of us a better name!

So, here is the final toast we raise to you, dear friend!
Good times will never be the same,
And our thoughts still remain.
We’ll hold you in our hearts forever and a day.
And we’ll never be the same.
So, the last toast that we raise goes to you! …
… now we have a chance to shine…!

So long bro, rest well Mokaulengwe! That’s right, ke one oo!

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