Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A note of disturbance in Edinburgh

The Times yesterday carried this report, in which the glorious South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masakela, a veteran of the long struggle against Apartheid, expresses alarm about the way that the current South African government appears to be terrified of the power of music. Masakela has written the score for the show Truth in Translation, which is being performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The virtuoso trumpeter Hugh Masekela claims that many of the talented musicians whose voices became symbols of protest against white domination are finding it hard to get bookings in South Africa because the ruling ANC is “terrified” of music as an agent of change.

...Masekela, 68...argues that mediocrity is being promoted in the arts in South Africa because music and theatre are seen as “catalysts” in the destruction of apartheid, and might equally shake confidence in the present regime.

“The administration of South Africa today are terrified of music. They deny it,” he told The Times. “They know that a musical commentary can put them at a disadvantage. They are not afraid of print and journalists, that is considered freedom of speech, but they are very comfortable with the absence of music.

“I am not bitter. I am disgusted...