Home' Greymouth Star : August 26th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, August 26, 2014
ot many teenagers would
feel safer in a shark-infested
sea than in their own
neighbourhood, but Luxolo
His home is in the violent
Khayelitsha township in Cape Town, but he
has found refuge a short walk down a dusty
road and over the dunes, at Monwabisi beach.
“ When the gangs fight I come here to surf
and I feel safe,” he says.
Safety is relative. A week before Luxolo
spoke, a surfer was attacked by a great white
shark just a few kilometres down the beach.
And in June, a fisherman was shot dead by
robbers before dawn on the same stretch of
But Luxolo, 17, is one of about 250 youths
from Khayelitsha who have found a new
perspective on life with Waves for Change, a
non-governmental organisation founded and
run by British surfer Tim Conibear.
With a cold wind blowing one recent
winter’s day, more than 30 children aged from
seven upwards gathered cheerfully in a scruffy
compound housing an old container full of
surfboards and wetsuits.
The compound is surrounded by concrete
walls topped with razor wire, but the contrast
between their surroundings in Khayelitsha
and the nearby beach is stark.
Khayelitsha sprawls for 43 square kilometres
of makeshift shacks and humble houses over a
flat and featureless plain.
The beach looks out on the vast blue waters
of False Bay, which cur ves from a dramatic
mountain range in the east to Cape Point,
Africa’s most south-western tip.
The Cape’s famed natural beauty draws
multitudes of tourists, but South Africa is a
work in progress just 20 years after the end
of the racial system of apartheid, which
barred people like Luxolo from ‘whites-only’
The anger and despair among impoverished
people who feel they have not benefited
enough under the new black majority
government often explodes into violence.
But on the beach at Monwabisi, the children
and the teenagers put that behind them.
“I love surfing too much,” says Thozamile
Nompondo, a fit 19-year-old who has been
with the programme since he was 16 and is
one of the young leaders of project.
He says he used to sniff glue and smoke
marijuana, feeling pressured by his friends in
the township to join one of the gangs.
“Since I joined surfing I said no more
gangsters. It has changed my life,” Thozamile
The children pull on their wetsuits bought
with sponsors’ money, some a bit baggy and
likely to let in more of the cold winter water
than they should.
And some carry boards that are the worse
But when they reach the beach and
have done their warm-up run, along with
a traditional song and dance for energy,
they plunge into the sea with astonishing
Most of them could not swim when they
joined the programme and have barely seen
the beach, despite its proximity to their
“There is this amazing resource on their
doorstep — people in other areas pay millions
to live by the beach,” says Conibear, 32.
A keen surfer who first came to South
Africa with the ambition of becoming a wine
maker, Conibear fell in love with both the
Cape and a local woman, to whom he is now
Moved by the plight of people in the
townships — the name given to urban
areas for blacks under apartheid — he
established Waves for Change with the idea
of getting children hooked on surfing rather
than the more negative attractions of their
This helps secure regular attendance at the
programme, which also “promotes active
learning, open discussion and connection
to further social, health and educational
support ”, he says.
Most of the children have experienced
emotional trauma, ranging from physical and
sexual abuse to domestic violence and neglect.
Many are referred to the programme by
schools where they are seen to be struggling.
The children “ learn to believe in themselves
and realise they can achieve their goals”, says
Nolwazi Makhuluphala, the NGO’s senior
child and youth care officer.
Khayelitsha programme manager
“MacGyver” Ngeyakhe, 26, sporting a big
smile through a few missing teeth, plenty of
tattoos and an earring in each ear, has a past
matching those of the children in his care.
“ I was a bad boy. The sea helped me change,”
As evidence of the fact the programme is
doing the same for the youngsters in his care,
he points out “they still wanted to surf the day
of the shark attack”.
A shy 13-year-old who gave his name
only as Asenathi had a wonderfully ironic
explanation for this courage, unwittingly
reflecting the fact the sea was for so long a
preser ve of whites.
“ We are scared of the sharks, but we told
ourselves that we never heard that there were
black people who were eaten by the sharks —
it’s always white people only,” Asenathi says.
“That ’s what we told ourselves to keep us
strong.” — AFP
Children taking part in the Waves for Change programme get ready for surfing at Monwabisi Beach.
Waves for Change coaches, show the beginner children the basics.
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uLetters to the editor
580 - Toilet paper is invented by the Chinese.
1883 - Cricket ’s Ashes trophy is created when
a defeated English captain is presented with
an urn containing ashes of the 1882-3 stumps
following Australia’s victory.
1884 - A patent is granted to German
immigrant Ottmar Mergenthaler for the
Linotype machine, which allowed
mass production of newspapers.
1912 - The first Tarzan story by
William Rice Burroughs appears in a
1930 - Death of US silent movie
actor Lon Chaney who became
known as the man of a thousand
1974 - Death of US aviator Charles
1985 - A special French investigator issues
a report clearing France’s government and
the intelligence ser vice of involvement in the
sinking of the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland
harbour on July 10.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Sir Robert Walpole, first prime minister
of Britain (1676-1745); Joseph-Michel
Montgolfier, French co-inventor of hot-air
balloon (1740-1810); Albert, prince consort of
England (1819-1861); John Buchan, Scottish
author (1875-1940); Guillaume
Apollinaire, French poet (1880-
1918); Mother Teresa, Catholic
nun and missionary (1910-1997);
Michael Jeter, US actor (1952-
2003); Branford Marsalis, US jazz
musician (1960-); Chris Burke, US
actor (1965-); Macaulay Culkin, US
actor (1980-); Jesse Martin, Australian sailor,
“ Nothing has really happened until it has
been recorded.” — Virginia Woolf, English
author and critic (1882-1941).
“ I love the Lord. He heard my voice; He
heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned
— (Psalm 116:1-2).
A teenage youth
and a young girl were
both admitted to the
Westland Hospital at
the weekend suffering from head injuries. They
were received in different accidents in different
The two-year-old daughter of Mr and Mrs
Derek Cudmore, Hari Hari, was hurt when
run over by a tractor on her parents’ farm. The
tractor was being backed by her father at the
Kevin O’Brien, an 18-year-old from Takutai,
received head injuries when his motorcycle left
the road after negotiating Brown’s crossing.
Both were in a satisfactory condition today.
Some awkward questions are going to
be asked of the New Zealand Tourist and
Publicity Department by the Greymouth
Chamber of Commerce. The questions follow
a letter from an Adelaide man pointing out the
near-absence of the Coast from a recent New
Zealand Week in Adelaide. Mr A E Caldwell
said he had attended the New Zealand
exhibition and had been asked by a girl if there
was anything she could explain to him.
Mr Caldwell asked what had happened to
the West Coast on the large-scale map of New
Zealand. Neither Greymouth nor Hokitika was
shown on the map and the girls could give no
reason for it nor any information apart from
the fact that a new road was opening up there
The West Coast can now boast of a new
champion dog. It is Mrs S Prendergast ’s
standard poodle Michel de Belemon, well
known as just Michel.
Attaining the championship at the age
of only 20 months reflects great credit on
the understanding and patience of Mrs
Prendergast, of Cobden.
uFood for thought
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03 755 8422
The main event at fight night in
Kingston, a popular boxing showcase, was
hours away, but the crowd at the National
Stadium’s indoor arena, from the young
and hip to the elderly, was already
When reggae artist Tarrus Riley entered
the stage, the screams of the full house
were deafening, and the fervour persisted
throughout his performance.
A musical and social roots movement
called ‘Reggae Revival’ is on the rise
in Jamaica, where the raunchier dance
hall genre has been king for the last
two decades. The revival evokes music
from reggae’s golden era of the 1970s,
dominated by the late, laid-back legend,
Bob Marley, who put reggae on the
global map with his catchy tunes and
spiritual and socially conscious lyrics.
“Reggae is bouncing back,” said Chris
Blackwell, the founder of Island Records
who introduced the group Bob Marley
and the Wailers to the world. “It got
lost somewhat in a negative and violent
direction (but) I think it’s finding itself
again,” he added.
The revival of traditional roots reggae
also stands as “a peaceful revolution
in a nation that is often typecasted as
violent,” said Dutty Bookman, a Jamaican
writer who has been documenting the
movement which he says goes beyond
music, likening it to the Arab Spring.
“Love, unity, positivity, truth-seeking,
these things form the basis of the
movement,” he said.
Jamaica is the birthplace of reggae,
which became an international
phenomenon thanks to Marley who died
of cancer in 1981 at age 36.
“Reggae is the heartbeat of Jamaica,”
said Ziggy Marley, one of Bob Marley ’s
reggae-playing sons, currently on tour for
his Fly Rasta album.
“I think Jamaica misses it,” added the
younger Marley. “In the past years a lot
of the younger artists have been trying
to move away from it with dance hall,
but reggae is something that is needed
because music affects our society deeply.”
After reggae’s golden age, the music
degenerated as artists moved from
marijuana, considered a spiritual drug by
Jamaica’s Rastafarian Christian sect, to
harder drugs like cocaine, Herbie Miller,
Jamaica Music Museum’s director, said.
“S lackness,” a catch-all term for bad
behaviour, including explicit sexuality and
violence, became the norm, and with it
came the rise of dancehall.
Dancehall is an offshoot of reggae
with a hyper-energetic
sound and often violent,
misogynistic as well as
sexually explicit lyrics.
In 1991, dancehall
artists famously upstaged
roots reggae performers
at the popular annual
Reggae Sunsplash music
festival and dancehall
artists such as Shabba
Ranks, Yellowman, Buju
Banton and Ninjaman
became all the rage.
reggae closer to the
American gangster rap
scene, led by artists like
Snoop Dogg, one the
biggest selling American
But dancehall was
rocked by a series of
some of its stars. The
singer Buju Banton
was convicted in 2011
on cocaine conspiracy
and trafficking charges
and is serving a 10-year
In April dancehall
star Vybz Kartel was
sentenced to life in
prison in Jamaica for
the murder of a former
Despite fading, reggae’s
influence can still be
heard in mainstream
American pop, including
the Bruno Mars 2012 hit
Locked out of Heaven.
Mars performed a
rousing reggae tribute to
Bob Marley at the 2013
Sting, Rihanna and two
Marley sons, Ziggy and
Damian, singing a cover
of his 1980 song Could
You be Loved.
In a sign of the times,
Snoop Dogg changed his name in 2012
after a trip to Jamaica and announced a
conversion to the Rastafari movement
and a new alias, Snoop Lion. His 2013
album, Reincarnated, put reggae firmly
back on the map, featuring a fusion of
reggae and dancehall.
For the week of August 23, Billboard
ranks Chronixx’s Dread and Terrible the
fourth bestselling reggae album. Ziggy
Marley ’s Fly Rasta ranks third and Snoop
Lion’s Reincarnated ranks sixth.
The new crop of artists in the reggae
revival include Protoje, Tarrus Riley,
Chronixx, Jah9, and Kabaka Pyramid,
who all play music with messages rooted
What you have and how you look and
what you don’t have, that ’s dancehall,”
said Kabaka Pyramid, who was ranked
at the top of Billboard’s Next Big Sound
chart last year. In the reggae revival, “ego
is being taken out of the music,” he said.
The revival is being fostered by Billy
Wilmot, a Jamaican surfing legend the
vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for the
Mystic Revealers, a Jamaican reggae band
that formed in the late 1970s.
His surf camp, Jamnesia, became a
seminal place where Reggae Revival
artists cut their teeth on live performance.
“Reggae is always socially conscious
music and socially relevant,” said Wilmot.
“It might not be what you want to hear,
but it’s what ’s going on in society.”
Roots reggae and dancehall may have
very different sounds and messages, but
they are not mutually exclusive. Some
reggae artists have incorporated rap
elements of dancehall, including Damian
Marley and Tanya Stephens.
“Both can exist and live,” says Ziggy
Marley. “ The roots revival can bring
things back into balance without being
judgmental of one or the other.”
Waves for change in South Africa
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