Author and poet Rabbie Serumula. File image.
Author and poet Rabbie Serumula. File image.

#PoeticLicence: It’s fascinating how music creates a memory path

By Rabbie Serumula Time of article published Sep 12, 2021

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Johannesburg - The first time I heard a variation of the phrase “the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer” was from “Maria Maria”, a song by Santana featuring The Product G&B.

It is fascinating how music creates a memory path. How we link new information to old songs. How music weaves a new route from the same old sands of time.

Santana’s guitar solo in the song rang in my ear when I read Statistics South Africa’s updated national poverty lines for 2021. The lines contain expenditure of both food and non-food components of household consumption. The lines, or statistics, show that the poorest in South Africa live on under R50 per day.

While the updated national poverty lines help establish a government baseline, they don’t accurately reflect the plight of many poor South Africans, who often end up substantially worse off.

Our minimum wage of R3 500 is a single person cage and does not accept get out of jail free cards. Poverty is passed down. We have been handed down pairs of shoes from our brothers and sisters. We have graced our first job interviews clad in suit jackets that belonged to our uncles, in blouses our aunts used to shine in.

Our clothes are synonymous to a baton. Like seasons, they come to pass.

They are passed down through the fabric of our souls; like curtains to our eyes, we have the option to let the sun shine in.

There is beauty in our ugly, richness in our poverty. A wealth of history and self-actualisation awaits and it is a liberty. It is liberating to find self. Our hearts are tucked neatly on our sleeves, we smudge our hips when we look for them in our pockets.

Dancing to the music of live, we strut around with blood stained hips and empty pockets.

We keep looking for our hearts in our pockets.

How would the poor not get poorer when inflation, always with the upper hand, only fights in handicap matches?

If you remember that music is sound, and have the required “old information”, you may have heard a bell ring at the end of the wrestling match from the previous line.

It is difficult to climb with a weight on your shoulders; even worse if you are not aware of other hills ahead. How many mountains can you conquer?

This music of which I speak, does not need to be an actual song, it can be the natural mystic in the air that Bob Marley sang about.

Whatever it is for you, it is fascinating how music creates a memory path. How we link new information to old songs. How music weaves a new route from the same old sands of time.

When I was a boy, my father once said to me, Son, if your heart still has rhythm, keep dancing. I say this to you as it may save your sanity too.

The Saturday Star

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