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September 2017

Encore….. we’ll tell you more. September 2017.

Dear Friends, Rhodies, Countrymen,   
Spring is in the air and Heritage Day on the lips of everyone in South Africa. This is a newly created South African public holiday and a day in which all are encouraged to celebrate our cultural traditions in the wider context of the great diversity of cultures, beliefs, and traditions that make up the nation of South Africa.

We celebrate Heritage Day to show our pride, gratitude and awareness.
We celebrate Heritage Day to instil pride in our individual family, cultural and South African heritage. We are a nation made up of many diverse cultures and on this day we are encouraged to all recognise and appreciate the many influences that have shaped us into the people we are today. Taking pride in your family traditions, cultural beliefs and embracing the free nation that we live in today is one of the reasons why we are given this day. And yes, that means it's not just another day off school. We celebrate this day in order to unite in our diversity. The second reason we celebrate Heritage Day is gratitude. As born free South African citizens we need to be grateful for the many constitutional rights we have in our country. South Africa has a long history of discrimination, oppression, racism and every one of us needs to appreciate the free nation we live in today. We need to be thankful for the great sacrifices and contributions they made to our modern society.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the 24th of September was formerly known as Shaka Day, in commemoration of the legendary Zulu king. When the proposed Public Holidays Bill before the New South African Parliament omitted Shaka Day, Inkatha Freedom Party, with a large Zulu membership, objected to the bill.  A compromise was reached when it was decided to create a day where all South Africans could observe and celebrate their diverse cultural heritage.

However, we, at Roan Antelope Music have decided to highlight the greatness of Shaka, the Zulu King in the words and music of John’s song from “Songs of the African Battlefields”
 U Shaka (born 1787 – died 1828) Senzangakhona was Shaka’s high ranking father but his mother Nandi was a commoner. Bullied as a youth, later developed physically and mentally into a great warrior, leader and shaper of the Zulu army and nation conquering and scattering all other regional tribes. This was called the “Difaquane”. Eventually assassinated by his half-brothers Dingane and Mhalangana and his general Mbopa.
 “U Shaka The Warrior “.

He was an unwanted child, born out in the wild to a Zulu maiden, Nandi was her name.
Senzankakona was his royal father and to marry a commoner maiden, that would bring him shame. Ridiculed by his herd boy peers, bullied, insulted by their jeers, later on he grew to more than six foot two; Killed a mamba and a leopard with his hands, like David killed a Goliath of a man; He was the greatest warrior Africa ever knew.

U Shaka the warrior, the general, the philosopher, N-gad-la! Si-gi-di! Beware the battle cry! Though he was singer, a joker and a dancer, those that defied him were all condemned to die! Went to Ngonyama the smith that made the armour and said "make me a spear that is short and sharp and wide; Temper it with human liver to give it magic power With a strong wooden handle bonded up with hide" He said he'd change the ways of the warriors of yesterday; He'd throw away their sandals and toughen up their feet They'd fight at close quarters and with Arthur-like Excalibur’s they'd close around their enemies with agility and speed.

Dingishishwayo the chief of the Mtetwa made Shaka commander of Iz-cwe brigade But Shaka was brooding: Zulu clans and tribes were feuding, deep in his mind a decision was made; The way to unite them was to conquer them and fight them, The Buthelezis, the Dlaminis fell to his battle plans; This way he could shape them into a mighty nation;
Mbatene, Ndandwe, Kumalo and other clans. From the wild Zambezi and the shores of Lake Malawi, down to the banks of the rolling river Kei. From the blue Indian Ocean to the Kalahari sand dunes, Shaka's mighty empire dominated far and wide. He said the only way to unite and rule a Zulu nation, from discipline and punishment there should be no place to hide. He lived by the blade and cruel executions; At the hands of his brother Dingane, that's the way he died.
Deep in history's dark there is a tiny spark, glowing behind every ancestral name;
It's there both day and night to instantly ignite the pride of the Zulu nation's constant flame.
As a rainbow nation, former President Nelson Mandela stated: "When our first democratically-elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation."

In the vein of celebrating shared culture rather than focusing on cultural divisions, a recent initiative by the Braai4Heritage calls upon all South Africans to celebrate their common roots by having a braai (barbeque) on Heritage day. The idea has had some high profile converts, the most notable being that of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who in 2007 was made the National Spokesperson for "Braai Day." Tutu was quoted as saying in an interview: "We're going to have this wonderful thing on the 24th of this month ... when we all gather round one fire...It's a fantastic thing, a very simple idea. Irrespective of your politics, of your culture, of your race, of your whatever, “hierdie ding doen ons saam” [this thing we do together] ... just South Africans doing one thing together, and recognizing that we are a fantastic nation.”

So folk let’s all unite and light a “Braai Fire” Our smoke signals shall meet in the blue sky!  Open a chibuli and let’s say ….CHEERS! last but not least don’t forget to play your JOHN EDMOND CD!

Remember to check the web site for the BIG Commemoration day concert in NATAL in NOVEMBER.  11/11

Yours in Music
The Roan Team