August 16 , 2020
By Kidist Yidnekachew ( Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. )
I often fantasise about being utterly content with what I have and if it would be possible for me to lead a minimalistic life. I wonder if I am capable of turning my sorrows and disappointments into opportunities to learn and grow. But I cannot seem to go a day without complaining about something or wanting to change something.
Sixto Rodriguez is not like that. I listened to his song "I Wonder" for the first time on "Rock101 with JayP," a former radio show on 105.3 Afro FM. I fell in love with it. Later, as destiny would have it, I ended up going on a date with the host and watching the documentary "Searching for Sugarman," the award-winning film about two fans that go searching for Rodriguez.
This was three years ago. I remember immediately falling in love with the artist and his songs.
Born on July 10, 1942, in the United States, his is a life many people should take lessons from. He did not rise to fame in the country of his birthplace, but South Africans took a shine to him. For them, he is a hero. His lyrics were anthems in the fight against apartheid, and his songs provided a background to the drawn-out struggle against a racist system. From young to old, South Africans loved Rodriguez.
The South Africans were right. His lyrics are poetic, and his voice is mesmerising. But his life is just as fascinating. The documentary was a telling of the unexpected trajectory of his life.
As with many artists in the music industry, he was exploited. The record labels pocketed the money from the international territories he was selling high volumes in and showed him the flop sales in the US market to justify dropping him from the label. He had no idea how big he was in South Africa, Australia or Botswana. He did not receive any of his royalties from the albums he sold there.
Rodriguez spent his life assuming he had somehow failed as a musician and was forced to lead a difficult life working in construction and manufacturing for low wages. Even though it was a job most of us would avoid, he did it with style and art. He held his head up and did not wallow in self-pity and disappointment.
He raised his children and gave his all to his strenuous job, all the while staying grounded. After a long search, he was discovered by two South Africans, who initially like most of his fans were under the impression that he had died. The rest is history, and success and fortune would come to him.
He continued to give his earnings to his family and friends and kept living in the same apartment that he had lived in for four decades.
Not many of us can hold our heads up in the face of hardship. Not only that, but we would also be in conflict with where we were and where we are now. Acceptance is not easy. Denial is easy on the mind.
Rodriguez’s life was a rejection of this. Unfortunately, he never received the spotlight up until a documentary was made about him. But he deserves much respect and love. It is a life from which we can derive the value of perseverance, contentment and the value of being down to earth.
Most people with his ability and genius either pass away too soon without ever finding out what they mean to others or are forgotten completely. But he will be remembered, partly in thanks to his humility, thoughtfulness and willingness to face the music that is life.
PUBLISHED ON Aug 16,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1059]
Fortune News | Jun 23,2019
Radar | Oct 05,2019
Fortune News | Apr 13,2019
View From Arada | Nov 16,2019
Fortune News | Oct 05,2019
Films Review | Oct 19,2019
Fortune News | Nov 21,2018
Fortune News | Apr 04,2020
Commentaries | Oct 19,2019
Fortune News | 33087 Views | Jul 18,2020
Fortune News | 15622 Views | Oct 12,2019
Fortune News | 14583 Views | Mar 19,2020
Agenda | 14114 Views | Mar 16,2019
January 3 , 2021 . By ABDUREZAK LESMAN
Women wearing netela, a white cotton garment with woven coloured borders, and men in...
December 26 , 2020 . By MAYA MISIKIR
Black and white markings on their legs and large semi-circular rimmed horns that stre...
December 12 , 2020
Dietrich Rogge, founder and CEO of Rockstone, a German-based real estate developer an...
December 5 , 2020
The circumstance of this girl, carrying a child on her back, fleeing her home for safety, is the collateral damage of the armed conflict in...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country’s most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or tw...
January 9 , 2021
There is something curious about elections that have been conducted in Ethiopia since...
January 2 , 2021
One by one, Workneh Gebeyehu (PhD), executive secretary of the Intergovernmental Auth...
December 26 , 2020
It is refreshing to see a publicised high-level government meeting become somewhat co...
December 19 , 2020
There is no shortage of ironies in Ethiopia’s history. One of the cruellest, perhap...
PM Abiy Ahmed (PhD) at a Gala Dinner Called for the Awarding of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize
May 6 , 2019
The COVID-19 pandemic, having seen over 126,000 cases reported across Ethiopia and leading to the deaths of around 2,000 people, had a silve...
January 9 , 2021 . By MAYA MISIKIR
On the eve of the Ethiopian Christmas (Genna), January 6, 2020, a Suzuki truck stood at the entrance of Shola Market with a vendor shouting...
January 9 , 2021 . By HAWI DADHI
A bill that gives the federal government full authority to collect and administer revenues from concurren...
The founding head of the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) has resigned from office on January 8,...
January 9 , 2021 . By MAYA MISIKIR
A recent assessment, carried out by a joint government and humanitarian actors group, has revealed that ...
Or see contact page