‘It takes a village to raise a child’ so the saying goes. The narrative encapsulating the holistic approach needed to raise a child; connotes a family beyond the immediate, and the much-needed environmental conditions essential for inculcating values and principles which foster coexistence consistent with a community a child forms a part of. The conclusions and implications of the narrative has gone to form the bedrock of South Africa’s value system- ‘ubuntu’. The ethical concept loosely translated ‘humanity towards others’ identifies our country’s moral compass as one which puts others in high esteem; as we can all trace our success and belonging to the efforts and contributions of the greater community we belong to-so it assumes.

(PICTURE: www.thesouthafrican.com)

The value of the narrative is worth looking at. This in light of a major leadership struggle along our political landscape. This has raised a consternation as many of our institutions are under scrutiny and question marks linger on concerning noteworthy leadership references for the youth to follow. The family institution is seen as the fabric of society. The saying 'charity begins at home' highlights the importance of the family as the first point of departure in building a nation. The same village needed to raise a child, holds the power to destroy it either through negligence or a distorted approach. The religious institutions of our day serve as a recognized structure of society whereby moral channeling can be maintained by the state and also allow constitutional rights for freedom of belief to flourish and to be effectively realized. We live in a democracy. The checks and balances are also well in place with the chapter 9 institutions well highlighted during the former public protector Thuli Madonsela's term whereby much media attention was given to the execution of the various (some highly profiled) cases dealt with. A holistic diagnoses of the 'humanity towards others' concept at play in South Africa will leave an honest reader to probe further of its practice considering the conflict experienced mainly based along differences either in identity, class or views every autonomous person holds. There is much to be desired in harnessing a national culture of honesty, integrity and accountability. The caliber of our society today is reflective of a genuine leadership crisis with the potential to cause ramifications for tomorrow's leaders as well.

The need to fill in this vacuum is so dire that the youth is left to look for references elsewhere- our music idols have found preeminence as examples through the nature of the content they inspire. The youth's views on marriage, ethics, and ambitions is shaped considerably by the people who influence them. When the society they belong to fails to model out noteworthy figures to emulate- it is left to the global village they interact and have great proximity to in the social media age we are in.

(PICTURE: marieclaire.fetcha.co.za - Thuli Madonsela)

Role models are people's whose behavior and demeanor can serve as an example in the success we aspire to have. The recognition of role models beyond fame and wealth are quite rare. This being the case rather than the exception is reminiscent of J Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive 'No role models' track where he is quoted "No role models and I'm here right now/No role models to speak of/ Searchin' through my memory, my memory I couldn't find one" a sentiment arguably echoed by many today. This highlighting the survival individualistic mentality many possess and deem rightfully necessary if one is to survive in the jungle we call this world. The reality is rather that the diagnoses being true, leaves one to look into the conditions of the decay for references.

Particularly relevant also, is the caliber of our music stars in the lifestyles they lead when reaching superstardom. The changing times in music has an effect (positive and/or negative) on the social behavior of the populations consuming it. We live in times where more examples are needed to instill hope and courage to the listener subconsciously viewing the famous as examples to follow. It truly matters what our stars tweet and say during an acceptance speech. Their views are held in great scrutiny by the public and their influence transcends more than just brand related associations.

(PICTURE: cdn.ambrosiaforheads.com )

The importance of this conversation is upon the understanding that the nurturing of our nation's pillars is a process attributed to the ongoing conditioning of a child even as she grows up to understand herself in the context she finds herself in. This has a bearing on the dissemination of historical narratives of the society they belong to. The appreciation of national symbols and days can only be upon an understanding of their profundity and relevance. A youth failing to take their holidays consistent with their purpose is indicative of a crumbling formal and informal education system. The youth should not be crippled because of this problem but rather the approach to music should remain consistent in not only reflecting on the status quo, but also offering solutions in shaping the way forward. Music content offering knowledge coupled with experience is to therefore be treasured. This is the foundation of youth pop culture. Music is an escape but also a place of fortification to step back into the world after a quality jam session.

Artists are to therefore consider themselves as part of a conversation and not merely variables in an industry rat race for a bigger slice of the pie. Positive music content is to be well consumed by pop culture- quite evident by the growing success of genres once shun upon but have now grown to great entertainment heights today. It is quite apparent that there is a great need for much more popular content engaging on causes helping to build the child affected by the crises in society. Music is therefore an essential tool for the modern day village we find ourselves in. Artists are to continually view themselves as builders even as they express their personal struggles and successes. Entertainment is a modern day opium able to influence a constituency's behavior and interests- there is truly no harm in the conscious realization and usage of its power for good.


By: Thato Sihlali

Twitter: @Epignostic