Backstage

“ The more things change ; the more they remain the same. ” – Jean Baptiste Karr. Since Before-Christ humans have worshipped he who speaks the loudest amongst the masses. To these few individuals we have given praise, applause and admiration. But we have to ask ourselves how great would leaders be without followers?

Lights ; camera ; action! The star of the show steps on stage , and gives a performance worthy to be remembered. He is appreciated with a standing ovation and flowers at his feet. After the show a crowd of teenage girls awaits him for an autograph. Forgotten are those on the other side of the curtain. The script-writers, sound and light engineers, the make-up artists , the choreographers and the director of a stellar production. It is said by many media figures that backstage is where the ‘real’ money is but also where lies the most work. I ask myself, “What would Batman be without his ‘sidekick’,Robin? Next time when I watch a movie premier I’d like to see people take photos with the backstage crew, to give credit where it is due.

A person’s true character is revealed when that person is under pressure. Behind the closed doors of the dressing room backstage an actor is refined by means of make-up to enhance appearance , to cover all flaws , to look like a superstar. We are all our true selves when not in full view of people. It seems surreal when you hear that the very star looked up to is fighting drug addiction. We end up lost in the haze of our own imaginations, forgetting that we are only human and therefore flawed. We sell dreams to children that the personality they idolise is perfect.

In my couch-potato days I was always more fascinated by “behind-the-scenes” video clips than the edited piece. Reality is something people can actually relate to. I am the starlet of my own reality show that is my life. Behind the stage- curtains is my beloved mother and grandparents. Phila Dyasi is an artwork that has been moulded by the aforementioned to be who he is today- chizzled by discipline, moral instillation and fired in the furnace that is life to be stronger and better. My friends, “The Brotherhood “has developed my social skills,humour and human-interaction skills. And the sound engineers that are all my English educators since primary school for my oratory and writing skills and recent success in being placed second in a national essay competition.

Sixolile Dyasi, my distant relative once commented , “Artists forget that they need their fans more than their fans need them.” It is the populations that selects a leader so what is fundamental is the mindeset of those who “pull the strings” to the “puppet” that is the face of the show. When Comrade Nelson Mandela exclaimed, “Amandla (Power) !” , and the people responded, “Amethu ( To the people ) ! ” It showed the power of people. It is said that it takes a community to raise a child. Give honour to all those who sacrificed their lives in the good fight against the oppressor (not included in the ‘History’ textbooks.)

I was recently surprised to learn that world-star football player Cristiano Ronaldo was to buy this physiotherapists supercars because he won the best-player prize for 2013/2014. It is the work of many ordinary men that accumulates to extraordinary feats. Spare a word of praise to those that are ‘backstage’ in all sphere of life who are working to make sure that the star on stage stays bright as the sun.

[ Written: 22 January 2014 ] NuBlaccSoUl

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Rock Bottom

I see myself as a ship, a cruise-liner to be specific. The sea are the factors in my life that are beyond my control. My parents are the lighthouse , the Lord , Jesus Christ , the Captain. My beloved family is the diverse unit of passengers on-board.

I’ve been to a place where I couldn’t move forward. For a while residing at the rock bottom of the sea seemed normal. Life at times places icebergs on the way that sink me ; drown me temporarily. Counsellors and therapists might call it depression , I just call it ‘the blues.’ With the hormonal imbalance inside my body these feelings are to be expected. But teenage suicides still shock us,why? I lost a former classmate and a friend’s sister because of the rock-bottom feeling when pain hits. It is a sad sight as we lay the murderer/victim to rest. As we literally place them at rock bottom. In 2004 , I lost my aunt Bongeka also as a result of suicide. Thinking about her still saddens me deeply. It feels as though treasured passengers jumped off the ship.

To lose a family member is hard enough but to lose faith is grief of a totally higher degree. We are raised in a society whereby science at times contradicts religion. Making one to believe greatly in the physical state of existence and not as much in the spiritual form. It is said that God did not promise us no hardships ,pain and challenges but rather that He would be with us through trials and tribulations.

Earlier this year a small yet significant event occurred that made me lose some faith. I had practised for hours on end. I had prayed to God that all proceedings go well and during my performance there was a powercut. For the rest of that day in the pits of the sea I asked He allowed for it to happen. But a while after,after an introspection I realised that it was a test and I failed,dismally. God never left me,never has and never will.

As bad as rock bottom might be, in the same breath it is the best place. From there,there is only one-way and that is UP! The key in life to progress is not to digress. It is easy to lose sight of your goals and focus on your failures. Anyone can do that. But is a winner who takes failures as learning curves and does not repeat them. Bill Gates started from the bottom and now he is a billionaire. I too started from the bottom. From Grade 1 -Grade 11. It has been a journey – a long one at that but one most enjoyed. In all honesty I hate school but I do appreciate it , for education is an asset that only gains value. Without education I would start from the bottom and die there.

As we grow older , and hopefully wiser we get a new right accompanied by a responsiblity. Next year a small number of my peers will be 18 years old and therefore vote in the National Elections. The power to choose the ruling party. We did not start from the bottom in terms of fighting for freedom/liberation nor did most our parents and most of us seem to take democracy lightly. There are thousands of people who are six-feet under because of fighting for liberation. It is the duty of vote to put a worthy political party in power which will uphold democratic values and not vote simply because of blind loyalty. That is the only way South African can progress and hopefully one day be a first-world country.

When you find yourself in a hole look up to the sky ; the heavens ; to God. Everyone has a bad day now and again but it is key not to be wrapped around your emotions (negative feelings particularly ) but to pick yourself up from your rock bottom and claim your place on the summit. A wise man I know used to say, “Believe. Be. Live. And you will forever live, not physically but historically! ” Sir Phila Dyasi-The Great.

[ Written 26 March 2013]

by PHILA DYASI #nublaccsoul

Let the children speak.

“Let them come to me ; do not stop them. The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” Wise words spoken by Jesus Christ to his disciples. The Son of God himself acknowledged the importance of children in society.

At the tender age of about thirteen-years old Jesus Christ had started preaching the Lord’s word. He was performing miracles. The Son of God was saving people ; physically and spiritually. It is evident that a million years before the present children were seen and heard ; considered valuable contributors in the world. Nowadays it seems that has been forgotten-completely!

I am a young, Xhosa , black boy . What that automatically means is that my opinion , my thoughts are irrelevant to my elders. But no ,I come from a more modern family whereby I am included in most decision-making processes and my word counts. Parents ( or adults in general ) tend to speak only and neglect the converse of this act-the beautiful and rare art of listening to and considering a child’s humble opinion as one would, if it were an adult’s. The youth is generally more open-minded about major issues in society than the senior members therefore offer an unbiased and almost accurate analytical view on such matters.

On an annual basis for our language classes we are expected to stand before our peers and deliver a speech on a particular topic. All this is being done in the name off ‘grooming future leaders.’ If society expects excellent public speakers and such from us in preparation for being leaders of tomorrow then it is only fair to expect to be allowed to speak our minds. Freedom of Speech is most probably the best part of the Constitution. If only society’s leaders weren’t so rigid and one-dimensional. How are we expected to be confident, assertive and have high self-esteems if we are shut down ?

On a daily basis more than one woman is raped everyday. It is usually someone the victim knows : A family friend ; a father or an uncle. In most cases when the victims are questioned as to why another adult was not told about this ; they shockingly reply that no-one was willing to lend an ear. They were not believed. If children were taught in all aspects of life to speak there would be fewer problems.

I might be a young-adult. I might be considered ‘half-a-man’ at this stage but no matter what category i might be placed under I will always be a human being ; not half. It seems to be a norm amongst adults to make all decisions for us children. At the age of sixteen years am I really a child? A dog barking outside and a child speaking to his parents about house-rules and their ammendments seems to be of equal weight. Who would break a rule when he was part of its development? If we work hand-in-hand ; junior and senior members of society sharing ideas , views on plans to prosper and move forward.

Phila Dyasi is an acitivist rapper ; it might br a hobby for now but take a few minutes to listen to this young man’s art and you will come to realise that : Teenagers are more intellectually gifted that one could have expected. A summary of current political affairs with some rhymes. A voice for thousand teens just lacking the platform to express their views.
Life is most definitely a platform but all the teenagers are found backstage. We are not seen nor heard. Our value isn’t recognised enough and in the end problems such as drug-addiction and suicide come into play. Let the children speak. You could learn a thing or two from juniors. Communication and learning are two-way streets. You speak and you listen.

“In this world the kids don’t stand a chance! A view expressed by internationally admired rapper Bobby Ray Simmons. If we do not challenge the status quo and encourage our elders to start listening then our reality will remain an infinite nightmare of silent ghosts.

– an essay by PHILA DYASI. Written 1 February 2013 #nublaccsoul