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The search for something sweet.
Bittersweet Symphony
Oppikoppi Sweet Thing. 2012. 

Black Cat Bone. Always a treat.
I hear different styles of music. I see different kinds of people. A wide spectrum of race, culture & ages.  20 000 more or less. A remarkable gathering, willing to travel far, freeze at night, melt by day, lose sleep and breathe dust. Mild injuries & post oppikoppi flu is common. Running water, showers and toilets become luxuries. A makeshift colony straight out of Mad Max. Unlike Mad Max this post apocalyptic desert is also wonderful.
Captivating music turns Mad Max into Content Max.
Experiencing great music is the gravitational pull, yes. Maybe a brief escape in a cocoon of intoxication. Sometimes both. But I believe there is more to it. [Locally and globally], We crave wisdom & authenticity... role models & leaders. We look to the pedestals of parliament and certain forms of media. In recent times, it seems these sources can only speculate and talk...
Albert Frost was everywhere. Rightly so, he's the master of the stratocastor. 
Nelson Mandela flag. I suppose if we had a current leader like Mandela, we would all be part of the ANC Youth League.
Oppikoppi becomes a microcosm. Its denizens are aware of this, consciously or subconsciously. We are looking for something intangible. Where's this decade's JFK, Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Emily Hobhouse, Martin Luther King, Jan Smuts? Leaders with insight, balance, idealism, realism and passion. A passion few will ever grasp...
Fans on the march.
Taxi Violence and the cowboy grinderman
Spirit of rebellion.
Gravitational pull.
A sonic explosion of "kifness" by The Kifness.
Elation.
"Saggeus" enjoying Yoav's music.
Valiant & Vusi.
Musicians possess such a passion. Perhaps eyes and expectations, more than ever, rest on them to fill this "gap". Many of them certainly have great insights and power to influence. New generations are looking for new voices & identity. It was clearly illustrated on the festival's second night, when Fokofpolisiekar pulled thousands of people into cadence. Song by song, word for word. Francois van Coke (with the help of Hunter Kennedy & band) surely has become the voice of a generation.
Whilst watching Valiant Swart & Vusi Mahlasela, I imagined an alternate universe where they were State Presidents. Actually, it must be quite a terrible task and they'd never get to play music. Nonetheless, their music have merged with politics in recent years. Valiant was part of the "Voëlvry Beweging" (formed by alternative Afrikaans musicians in the 80's to install democracy in South Africa). Vusi is known for African folk songs about struggle, freedom, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Vusi Mahlasela Tribute show. A very special experience that reminded me of Paul Simon & Ray Phiri's "Graceland". In fact, a rendition of "Under African Skies" was performed.
Journey down a mountain. 
Bittereinder entrances a sea of people.
Jaco. Bittereinder.
"Slechte Mensen singen niet."
Albert Frost with Gert Vlok Nel & his band. Mesmerizing stories that wash over you like waves. 
A man meets his hero (and gets his CD signed).
Newtown Knife Gang. Passionate performance.
Afternoon nap.
Midnight wondering.
Pied Piping. Light in the tunnel.
No crowd is an island. Oppikoppi.
"If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him." JFK

"I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself." Nelson Mandela

"If you are bitter you are like a dry leaf that you can squash and you can blow away by the wind. There is much more wisdom in forgiveness." Vusi Mahlasela

"As jy haat tussen die lyne hoor dan luister jy nie reg nie
Dis ‘n stryd vir identiteit, nie ‘n letterlike geveg nie
Ek praat van harte wat foute en mislukkings kan insluk
En selfs as die einde bitter lyk, gaan ek omdraai of deurdruk?" Bittereinder

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