Short story 8

The band became very popular, doing a lot of local gigs. However the drummer and the Base player were stolen away by another band from the next town. They would have to get two new players. They did; both from South Africa.

Mongesi Moholo played the drums and Dudu Fesa played the base. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. They set up a very lively rhythm and Kin would dance around, sometimes drawing George and the other backing singer in.

On one occasion a black punter in the crowd came up to George in the interval and said, “Why are you playing with this band? It should be a black musician.”

“Do you think I am not playing my part well?”

“That’s not the point. It’s not your music.”

“Music is universal.”

“No! It’s our culture man!”

“Do you think that Othello should have been white?”

George was disconcerted when he got back on stage for the second half, until the music started. Then he felt at home again.

 Two weeks later they went to play at an African  club.

The doorman stopped George. “Not in here mate.”

“What do you mean?”

The rest of the band came quickly to George’s rescue, He’s one of us.”

“But this is a black club.”

“He plays black music.”

The doorman was momentarily put off his stride.

“Oh! All right then.”

George was used to being the nominal white face in the band, but now he was the only white face in the club. He was acutely aware that he was different. He mounted the bandstand feeling slightly awkward. He realised how it must feel every day to be the stranger. He looked sad.

At that point Kin and the other backing singer came and put their arms around him, laughing. “Don’t worry we’ll protect you!”

‘There are advantages to being vulnerable,’ he thought.


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Thank you, Keith Beal