Searching for Sugar Man

UnknownWhen I was in my late teens and early twenties, Rodriguez was the soundtrack to my life. His songs were playing as I fell in love, demonstrated against apartheid, suffered my first heartbreak. They played in the African summer Christmas when I was young and free and danced my heart out during warm summer nights and sang my heart out on long car journeys – Cold Fact is one of the albums that really defined my life.

During those days all men over 16 had a choice – two years in the army, four years in the police force or six years in jail. So my man (at 17 years of age) went to the army where he served in the war, on the border between South Africa and Angola. I was studying journalism and very politicised. When he came back on leave now and then he could not talk about what he had been doing or witnessed and I could see him becoming more and more damaged. And our political views became more and more different. But we bonded over Cold Fact. It was the one thing that still made us feel close because we both loved Rodriguez so much. When we finally broke up, despite being very much in love, I listened to Rodriguez through that too. My hearbreak song was ‘I think of you’:

Just a song we shared I’ll hear
Brings memories back when you were here
Of your smile, your easy laughter
Of your kiss those moments after
I think of you
And I think of you
And think of you.
Of the dreams we dreamt together
Of the love we vowed would never
Melt like snowflakes in the sun
My days now end, as they begun
With thoughts of you
And I think of you
And think of you.
Down the streets I’d walk with you
Seeing others doing
Things we used to do.
Now these thoughts they’re haunting me
Of how complete, I used to be
And in these times that we’re apart
I’ll hear that song that breaks my heart
And I think of you

The thing is, South Africa was so isolated during apartheid that we had no idea that he was not a worldwide star. I thought (until recently) that everyone knew about this wonderful musician.

If you can, watch Searching for Sugar Man – a documentary about this phenomenon. It has just been nominated for an Oscar and really worth your while! It is a wonderful Cinderella story. I, as a South African who had all his records (which meant so much to me), would like him to finally get royalties for his music because none of the ones we bought and which were the soundtrack to our lives earned him a cent. So buy the CD too!

When asked if he felt angry that he had not received any money from the sales of millions of records he replied ‘Hate is too strong an emotion to waste on people you don’t like’ Now there is a wise man! His dignity and humility are so well-represented in the movie. I really hope it wins the Oscar.

Wonderful article with video and transcript thereof

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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