With Youth Day upon us, Tonight spoke to some iconic SA artists as well as up-and coming musicians to find out what their take is, what part role models play in the development of our young people and if, indeed, this in turn translates into influencing their attitude towards the future. We asked them the following questions: Who is your role model? Do we have enough role models in SA? And, finally, do the youth care about their future, or is it all about the bling of right here, right now?
Jack Parow: His second album, Eksie Ou, has gone gold. This Afrikaans rapper is going from strength to unholy strength with his irreverent take on the silliness of our society.
My Role Model: The guy from the Richelieu brandy bottle. He has a nice, slick snor and wears a nice hat as well and obviously drinks lots of brandy. I am happy to have him as my role model.
SA Role Models: We have a lot of role models, like music role models and business people. There are too many to name. We have a lot of strong people working hard for many different things.
The Future vs Bling: There are too many young people obsessed with the bling, but there are a lot who are trying to build their destiny. Unfortunately, many are obsessed with driving the fancy cars, which is never a good thing.
Tokollo: His track S’gub Sam, featuring fellow TKZee member Zwai Bala, is big on radio. It is off his latest and best album, Heist. It also sees kwaito’s baddest boy searching for a new truth.
My Role Model: Jesus. He was selfless.
SA Role Models: It’s not in the way the media are portraying our people, or in the way key people are behaving. Our youth don’t really know who to look up to. But then again, that happens in every country. Ours is no different. There have been more people killed by George Bush than by Zuma.
The Future vs Bling: The youth are interested in the present. This is a big shortcoming for this country. The youth must know that what they are doing now will affect them later. I did so much s*** in my youth and am still here trying to carve my life. They must have fun, but must always think of better days and growth, not like some of us who didn’t think like that. I know they think I’m talking bull because I am an old geezer, but its all about how you see yourself in the next 10 years. It goes so quickly.
Louise Carver: She has a controversial song out called How You Gonna Do It? This electro-rock-pop track is her darkest yet and deals with a big issue in our country – male violence towards women.
My Role Model: I have role models for different things.My moral barometer is my mother. Career-wise it is any woman who has survived this industry over the age of 40 and who is still creating their own material.
SA Role Models: Nelson Mandela represents forgiveness. Unfortunately there are no role models in politics – quite the opposite, in fact. Just look out our various heads of police. On the entertainment side I think what Danny K and Kabelo have done with the Shout campaign is admirable. I have a lot of friends and peers in the industry who work with good causes and I hope we are role models to our fans.
The Future vs Bling: There are many youth who are materialistic. Hopefully that phase will pass. Those things are fun, but not as valuable as they think. Hopefully, the next generation will be more concerned with things of greater value, like the environment.
Chad Saaiman: He has just released a documentary called Soldier about his violent hijacking. His single Bang X2 is already playlisted in his home province of the Western Cape and the video is available on YouTube.
My Role Model: It is clichéd, but in the context of what we are talking about, it has to be Nelson Mandela.
SA Role Models: Off the top of my head, Jo-Ann Strauss is such a perfect brand. What Danny K and Kabelo are doing with Shout is pretty amazing. Bonang is also a good role model because she is in touch with the youth. Role models shouldn’t only be accessible to the rich and famous, but to people on the streets, too. People love her, from young to old.
The Future vs Bling: Youth care more about their future than they used to. Unfortunately there are role models who promote bling more than the moral side of life. But I think we’re getting there.
Jacques MooLman: The wild lead singer from The Shadowclub is enjoying his status as the babe of rock ‘n’ roll. However, his insightful lyrics also show a young man who thinks deeply about the ways of the world.
My Role Model: I have so many. My dad, because of his stubborness with his fearlessness in standing up for what he believes in as a creative. Jack White, because of how prolific his work is.
SA Role Models: There are definitely musos I look up to for their genius and musicality – Albert Frost and Piet Botha. Zahara is someone to look up to for young women because she is confident yet humble. Spoek Mathambo and Die Antwoord are breaking overseas and have an international attitude. There is incredible talent among the youth and they must use themselves as role models.
The Future vs Bling: The youth don’t seem to care about creating an SA original destiny. There is a lot of copying and looking towards America. However, there are young people who are coming to the fore with something original to offer.
Atomza: One of five singers of The Muffinz. This new band have burst on to the music scene with their debut album, Have You Heard? They‘re fresh, talented and have a big future ahead of them.
My Role Model: I don’t have a specific role model. There are a lot of people I admire in terms of music and community.
SA Role Models: There are a number of people who do great things. Shaka Sisulu does a great job working with underprivileged people. His Cheesekids project where he takes advantaged people to work in the ‘hood is amazing. Then there are others who are a complete waste of mature flesh. They are old, but they still act like kids. It’s the Peter Pan syndrome in SA. They are still about getting their hustle on and don’t see fit to help others.
The Future vs Bling: The majority of young people think about bling, but also about the long run. Trends show there has been a shift on how young people think, like savings, etc. Good things are happening, but our leaders are the ones messing up the whole process.
Tira: The current king of entertainment and all things cool is about to release his second solo album. Called Ezase Afro Vol 2, it will be available from early in August.
My Role Model: Oskido came from nothing to where he is right now. He taught me so much about the music industry and is still the best in the game. And he is doing so much for the youth in this country.
SA Role Models: Lucas Radebe is a great model, as is Romeo Khumalo.
The Future vs Bling: Some of the youth are caught up in that bling community. But there are those who are investing in the right structures. We just need a few more conferences and educational tools to point them in the right direction.
Benjamin Jephta: At just 19 and in his third year of music at UCT, Jephta has graced the Cape Town International Jazz festival stage, was part of the Standard Bank National Youth Band last year and is the winner of this year’s FMR award. He can be seen next month at the Standard Bank National Arts Festival where he’ll feature with French quartet The Elephants in the Big Time project.
Your Role Model: I wouldn’t say I have one specific role model. I do have people in my life, however, who are constantly encouraging me, and I tend to pick up certain things from them. My parents, teachers, older musos and friends have kind of moulded me into the person I have become. The way I behave in public, my morals and even (musically) the professional attitude I try to bring forth when I play/gig.
SA Role Models: We have enough public role models. It’s just up to the youth to latch on to the good ones and not the bad. It all starts at home. If you have parents who can instill a good sense of independent choice with in you, they can leave you to make choices that are morally sound. That way, rather than the youth trying to be like Kim Kardashian or Chris Brown, we’d rather model ourselves after leaders in our communities, our parents or musicians with good moral fibre.
The Future vs Bling: You do get many youth who do not really care about where they are heading in life. There are, however, others who do care. I think that in today’s youth it’s not about fame any more. Many of us are trying to equip ourselves to become doctors, engineers, politicians and entertainers so that we can give back to our community and even show the world what SA has to offer.
Kanyi Mavi: The Cape Town-based rapper recently released her debut album, Iintombi Zifikile. Besides one the most important voices to emerge from the SA hip hop scene, Mavi boasts one of the most impressive breath control flows and is partly responsible for bringing rapping in Xhosa (that isn’t Spaza) over banging beats back to the forefront.
My Role Model: My mother, because she really taught me everything there is to know in terms of the importance of life, living, family and education. I can only look to her. If I am a quarter of who she is then I’ll be good.
SA Role Models: I don’t think we have public role models. I admire different people for different reasons, but my role models are the people around me.
The Future vs Bling: Some youth do care. It would be close-minded to say “no”. But a lot of youth are living under this – what’s the word? – mirage, where bling is their destiny. They run away from real life toward this bubble of bling they can live in. But, also, you have to consider that the majority of the youth are not urban kids who went to model c schools. You have to look at it in a broad sense. Who are we talking about? Because some youth aren’t urban and may not know what their destiny is, but are on the path to finding out.