When Dark Clouds gather, it’s time to Count Your Blessings

Dark cloudsIt’s a sunny day and everyone is happy. We are all gathered by the pool having a lovely braai as we celebrate the summer. The sweet smoke rises as the delicious meat slowly cooks over the fire: we all eagerly wait. Drinks flow as our favourite music plays; the kids jump in and out of the pool while the adults make conversation, form alliances and reinforce deals and ideals. Yes it’s a perfect picture; except that shortly after this scene I could have an episode of melancholy – a deep, dark sadness that comes without explanation.

As a person prone to melancholy, I often wonder where the root of this sadness is lodged. Sometimes it even comes after a successful meeting or event and I begin to berate myself for not being good enough or for being a failure. In those moments, I am not brave and I completely ignore all the good things in my life and just focus on the negative. What is going on? Am I impatient? Am I ungrateful? Have I lost faith?

In my case, these spells last only a few days at most and recently, they’ve become shorter but I still worry about it. What would happen if there was no one around to tell me the truth when these attacks happen? Right before my first live show, I started getting nervous and began feeling like I had made a big mistake and was questioning everything I have worked hard for, but the voices of reason around me allowed a ray of light to pierce through the dark clouds with words like: “No! I will not accept that you are a failure.” “No! I will not let you question what you have built because you are feeling sad and cannot tell your left foot from your right”. “No! Let’s get on with work because we have done some amazing things together”. “No! I will not let you drag me into your pity party”. I couldn’t help but laugh. What happened? Was this harsh brush with love bringing me back to my senses? How do I bottle these words of wisdom for the next time?

In all honesty, I know that it will happen again but this time I feel a little confident that God has used the honesty of people around me to reinforce a song I knew as a child. “Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done. Count your blessings, name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done”.

Till the next time,
MOONGA

Advertisements

Where to Now Launch Photos

Here are some photos from the Where to Now book launch and concert. Enjoy.

Let it rain

Moonga performs at The Fringe, Joburg Theatre on 14 November 2013
Moonga performs at The Fringe, Joburg Theatre on 14 November 2013

Last week was a high pressure week. It started with my first television interview and performances on SABC’s Morning Live and then moved to another radio interview on Channel Africa’s Gateway to Africa on Wednesday. Thursday the 14th of November was the book launch and my first concert. Looking back after all the nerves, I can smile at all that I have learnt and what I looked forward to bringing to my future shows. It all feels like sweet rain that has come to wash the old away and bring in a new start. When you have walked in faith for a long time, the road’s ups and downs can be tiresome. This week I want to share with you a lyric from my book, Where to Now and its accompanying story. I feel it best describes all the emotions that the past two weeks have brought. Enjoy.

Till the next time,
MOONGA

Pula

There comes a time in a nation’s life,
When the healing must begin.
There comes a time in a people’s strife,
When the chains are too hard to bear.
We feel the dawn beyond the clouds,
As the wheel of time spins round and round.

There comes a time, to celebrate.
Forget the past and elevate
The truth that comes from the light within,
As we embrace the winds of change.

Pula, Pula,
Let the river of life
Refresh our land.

Pula,
Let it rain,
Let new life spring forth.

There’s a light that shines on me
Telling me I can be free.
There’s a brother and a sister near
Whose call I cannot ignore,
’Cause I feel the dawn beyond the clouds
And I smell amazing rain.

Pula, Pula,
Let the river of life
Refresh our land.

Pula,
Let it rain.
Let new life spring forth

Pula

There comes a time, to celebrate
The truth that comes from the light within.

Pula

Forget the past and elevate
As we embrace the winds of change.

***

In 2007, I shared a flat with a total stranger who became a close friend and support through our shared space. His name was Brian Mangare, an all-round hustler; one of the most enterprising people I have ever met. His rough exterior masked the fact that he too was an artist, a painter, and he encouraged my song writing. I tested my songs on him and his many guests and he always told me the truth. It wasn’t uncommon for Brian to wake me up at 3am to introduce me to one of his visitors which often turned into some sort of concert.

On one such occasion I was introduced to a band I had never heard of called C-Mon & Kypski. They were visiting South Africa from The Netherlands for the Oppikoppi Festival. After hearing my songs, they encouraged me to explore some of the negative emotions I felt; my songs were too sweet at the time. I started to think about my frustrations and a big one was knowing that I was South African by descent but not feeling like I was part of the citizenry. I resolved to accept – my heritage and it stirred in me a sense of nationalism – the good and bad of South Africa was mine to deal with. For the first time, I did not see myself as an immigrant but as a South African. Pula,which means rain in Setswana is a song about healing and a fresh start. Pula was a metaphor for the healing I needed in my own life and the newness I experienced by embracing my South African identity. Thank you Brian.

It’s deep inside

A carpet of fallen Jacaranda flowers covers a sidewalk in Pretoria. ©O.Mkandawire/ESCP
A carpet of fallen Jacaranda flowers covers a side-walk in Pretoria. ©O. Mkandawire/ESCP

Pretoria is affectionately called the Jacaranda City. One cannot escape the imposing majesty of these beautiful trees when they bloom in early October as spring turns to summer. The carpet of purple on the streets from the fallen flowers is the last marker as we race towards the close of the year and to the wonderful festive summer break. You can almost tell the mood of the city by looking at these trees.

At ESCP, we are calling our October picture gallery, “Purple Rain” and I thought it would be timely to borrow a lesson from the jacarandas for this week’s post. Imagine someone coming to the city in June and getting very disappointed that the jacarandas look barren with their dry leaves and certainly no flowers. Would it be fair on the trees and the city? The certainty of the seasons is reflected in nature; and the beauty of the jacaranda’s bloom is hidden potential that is revealed only at the proper time. One season hides the beauty while another reveals it.

Our own lives are similar in that we are born with an internal compass. Like a line drawn from one point to another, I believe we are meant to be striving towards something; growing and blooming through the seasons of life. Whatever we become, like the jacaranda trees, we leave an impression on the world around us. I am particularly convinced of this by what is written on a person’s tombstone. Allow me to give a fictitious tombstone heading: Jane Doe. Born: 1 January 1980. Died: 31 December 2000. Buried: 01 January 2001. This life can allow us to draw a 20 year timeline for Jane Doe. Viewed in this way, we can see how the quality of the memories she leaves behind will be influenced by the decisions she made in the various seasons of her life. Where are you in your timeline? What season is your life in? How do you want the world to remember you?

Till the next time,
MOONGA