'Music is the one thing that can heal our wounds‚' says Afrikaans pop singer Refentse
19-year-old Afrikaans singer Refentse Morake was born after the end of Apartheid‚ and now his music seeks to break racial boundaries to help unite the nation.
Refentse first burst into the public spotlight in 2015 when a neighbour in Vereeniging shared a video on social media of him singing an Afrikaans song.
Since then‚ Refentse has gone from being a viral sensation to an established Afrikaans musician.
He has shared the stage with many of South Africa’s most popular Afrikaans artists‚ including Karen Zoid and Steve Hofmeyr.
He told TshisaLIVE that his love for Afrikaans music came from hearing the language in school.
“I went to an Afrikaans school so I was always exposed to Afrikaans music. I liked it and so decided to sing along‚ and eventually I started to learn how to perform Afrikaans songs on my guitar‚” Refentse said.
Refentse’s parents did not speak Afrikaans‚ but sensing the joy the genre gave to their son‚ they started buying him Afrikaans albums to listen to and practice with.
“They didn’t understand a single thing but they supported me. They still come to most of my shows. I’m not sure they understand all of it‚ but they do understand a lot more now‚” joked Refentse.
Refentse admitted that he often gets quizzical looks when performing but turned his passion for Afrikaans music into a career.
“I have often felt judged but I put myself in that position when I decided to sing Afrikaans music. I don’t regret a single thing and I welcome it‚” Refentse said.
In fact‚ Refentse shared his belief that more South Africans should “break out of their comfort zone and challenge stereotypes“.
“We have so many problems in South Africa and so many things that have the potential to divide us. I believe that the one thing that can unite us is music. It’s the one thing that can heal our wounds. No matter our race or gender‚ we can all unite behind music‚” Refentse said.
It is a typical response from a young man who wanted to one day grow up to be the president of South Africa.
“It wasn’t the power or the money or the fame that made me want to be president. I think I was more attracted to the opportunity it would give me to make a difference in other people’s lives. I wanted to make a difference and for the ten-year-old me that meant becoming president.
“My dream changed when I was discovered. Now I try and make a difference through music‚ “Refentse said.