Loud Voices; Quiet Words
South Africa has always been an avid activist of freedom of speech. Or, rather, parts of South Africa have been like this. Other parts are only too happy to apply black tape to mouths and shut them closed. Some have taken the black tape and allowed it to shut them down. Others have not.
Gareth Cliff is one of these people. I have never been overly fond of Gareth. While on 5, I found him to be rude, crude, and basically obtuse in nature. But, I’ll give him this: he always had something to say. I find myself missing his sharp words of protest and calls for intellect from his listeners. I especially miss this in contrast to what I have to listen to now…I won’t go into detail, but lets just say that listening to flatulence in the afternoon is not my idea of entertaining, riveting radio.
I find myself jotting through radio stations constantly, waiting for one that does not annoy me too much. I have decided that there are three things I need from a radio station: the news; the traffic; and music. The rest of it is too much a bore.
Which brings me back to Gareth. He was never boring. Yes, he was inconsistent, and unpredictable in his behaviour (I would have bets with passengers as to how many callers would get hung up on). His actions were always a surprise. But that kept me listening. And, the most fantastic thing was, when I did listen, I heard those quiet words spoken underneath the loud voices. He had something to say. He had a vision, an idea, and he was willing to put it out there for others to hear. Alright, maybe his words were not always of the best choice, but when speaking to the masses, it is best to speak their language.
I only hope that the country does not break him. We have had cult followings before, whereby radio stations were forced into silence. I like the steps that he’s taken to allow his voice to be heard. “Uncensored” he calls it. “Unprecedented” others reply, and they are scared by this. Because when something is unmatched, bad things can happen…light can be shed on issues better left in darkness; power can be given to those who misuse it; support can be rallied against those who have the authority to act…
We are moving forwards, in our country, towards a precipice. When we get to the edge, we will either fall, or fly. And that all depends on whether or not we grow our wings. We need people to ask the tough questions. To give words to those issues that we are facing. We need a loud voice that is unafraid of consequences and perfectly comfortable with issues of substance. I’m not sure that Gareth is that person…but I’m pretty darn happy that he is one of the first. I know that I’m speaking out of turn, but I’m following in his footsteps. Yes, the footsteps are not particularly clear, or set deep enough in the muddy waters that we traverse – but if enough people walking them, the footsteps will become deeper and the pathway will become clearer.
Maybe with his guidance, someone will answer his quiet pleas; to come forward and be the person that we are looking for. That he is looking for too. Someone like him, with a loud voice, and quiet words.
. . .
Wonderwhiterabbit hopping off
. . .