Much has happened since Nelson Mandela’s passing, and none of it is good. In Mandiba’s absence the “Rainbow Nation” he so valiantly struggled to build has turned decidedly gray.
The magnificent vision of Africa’s great statesman has been selfishly squandered and corrupted by the lesser men that unfortunately succeeded him.
The current incumbent of South Africa’s presidency, Jacob Zuma, being the most egregious. Zuma has eroded the institutions of government (both the constitution and the checks-and-balances of democracy) by his flaunting display of self-interest, corruption and tribal cronyism; all in his effort to protect his illicit financial gains by using that nation’s treasury as his personal piggy bank.
Alas, I anticipated this. In the closing chapter of my South African themed novel The Zebra Affaire I wrote the following as a final coda:
But former prisoner Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela had no desire to become a sovereign: he relinquished the power voluntarily—so refreshing on a continent where provincial tyrants strive to rule forever.
But here I remain fearful (though I dearly hope to be proven wrong). Mandela was the nation’s talisman—his very presence held the various peoples of South Africa on a rainbow path of dignity and equality, and by his noble example all tribal rivalries were set aside and all were welcomed at the table.
But now he’s gone, I fear the quiet vow of loyalty to his vision of a united South Africa will be abrogated. With Mandela no longer living, lesser mortals will not feel bound by any allegiance to the “Father of the Nation”; instead, in a lust for power, they will once again unleash the tribal tensions that have forever plagued the continent.
But rather than dwell on the bleak let us be hopeful that in remembering Mandela’s legacy, the South African people will duly honor his life by electing future leaders, based on merit, not cronyism.
(How about a woman? Now that would be something!)
In doing so they would honor the hope and desire for all-equality, with no single individual above the law.
Indeed, that was Nelson Mandela’s life’s work.
It was time to visit my friend, Jimmy Hotz. It was time “The Zebra Affaire” met its music maker. Those who don’t know Jimmy, he’s the archetypical myriad-minded music man: musician, record producer, electronic music pioneer, and Inventor. His “Hotz Box” is often at the heart of many a great recording: Fleetwood Mac, Dave Mason, B.B. King, and Yes.
Our friend, Mark Fine came by the other day to get a first hand look at the SpaceHarp. He was kind enough to give us an autographed copy of his book, “The Zebra Affaire”, a fast-paced, suspenseful tale about the racial divide in South Africa in the 1970s. Mark was a long time record executive, with PolyGram, Universal and Hammer & Lace.
Jimmy has recently invented a new instrument, the SpaceHarp!
It made a music maestro out of the least of us (Me!).
I certainly DID! After 4 decades in the music biz, this was the first time I experienced playing pure music, myself! Not being a musician I’ve never before known the joy of creating music. Indeed it was magical.
After Jimmy reads “The Zebra Affaire” we will explore a music soundtrack–written together, that’s inspired by my book’s South African blended love story.
NOTE: The Hotz Translator Software transforms ones gestures on the SpaceHarp into all the right notes for the desired chords and scales in music performance. The SpaceHarp is a new manifestation of a concept invented by David Clark and John Gibbon, originally called the Light Dancer. Jimmy did a complete redesign of the electronics and programmed the firmware, which makes it function. So, while Jimmy is the inventor of the Hotz Translator Software and contributed significantly to the SpaceHarp, proper credit should be given to David Clark and John Gibbon. David Clark also worked with Jimmy on the current mechanical design of the SpaceHarp.
The Long Dance Home by Julie Mayerson Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There is vitality to this novel that I found refreshing. The author’s ability to capture the spirit, the essence, of her characters extended way beyond mere florid descriptions. And so I enjoyed the fascinating cast of characters that filled the setting in Clearwater, a small Northern California town.
No doubt about it “The Long Dance Home” is a modern love story, and other reviewers have elegantly articulated the romantic travails of CeCe. But I choose to focus on some other aspects of this well told story; the loving homage to the arts —specifically ballet, the joys of an imperfect family—where the stepmother is a gem, the loyalty of friendships—even if the best bud is a goof, the reverence for tradition—even if it’s the annual children’s performance of “The Nutcracker,” the desire to do one’s very best—even if mistakes are made along the way, and finally the pain of loss—the price for feeling alive.
We meet the Russian-born ballet instructor, Ilana who nurtured the dance prodigy we know as CeCe, as a young child. But due to the fragility of age, and the onset of senility in her mentor, CeCe finds herself experiencing a different kind of loss–the emotional fading of the most influential person in her life. The scene with the crystal ballerina Christmas ornament, a gift received many years before from a then vital Ilana, I found to be both poignant and meaningful.
Finally, there is adroitness in penmanship (especially the dialog) that separates author Julie Brown from many of her peers: there’s a sequence when her current beau visits CeCe’s parents’ home for the first time—the snappy exchange between boyfriend, family and friends still makes me chuckle. This is lively and refreshing stuff that I encourage other readers to enjoy!
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