Like two springboks in the middle of Johannesburg traffic, two pale Norwegians attend a church festival in the middle of Sharpville. People look at us with amazement; some children even want to touch our hair and skin. The arch bishop preached in front of the around 500 spectators about South Africa now finally being a true rainbow nation. Overall, they had two white people there. Word quickly came out about the white people attending the church festival, and when it was our time to play, a wall develops in front of the brass band consisting of people who want to record the event with their phones. At one moment, our band leader in front had to use his mace not for leading us, but to remove people in our way. After the event, several people contact us. «I have never seen a white person here before, this is history» said an older lady. «I thought only black people could play brass instruments, i guess i was wrong» said a member from another brass band. We never thought people would be so amazed by seeing white people at the festival, we simply wanted to play in a brass band, but instead we experienced how much impact two pale Norwegians can have.
I sit in a small living room inside a small township house in Tumahole attending a home visit to one of the members with a disability in Parys field band. «Do you know or remember any of us? » says Jackson, Project Officer of the Free State bands. The boy looks at us, and laughs for himself. «Lekgowa, hehe». He turns to his grandmother and says something quietly to her. «He says that he remembers you, the funny white man who dance and plays shakers at Field Band» says the grandmother. I look at him and smile. «Do you like to play in the Field Band? » says Jackson. The child shyly looks another way and smiles. «He is always happy when he comes home from Field Band» says his grandmother. «Have the Field Band helped your grandson? », asks Jackson. The grandmother thinks and looks out the window. «He used to be very shy, not attending school and mostly siting in his room. But, after he joined Field Band he has started to attend school and play outside again. Thank you for helping him. »
Written by Aleksander Braathen