Music is often credited with its ability to bring different races, cultures and people under one roof, as it sees no colour.
Music was used as a political tool by different artists from different race groups to defy the apartheid government and its racist policies. Artists became what writer Barry Gilder called ‘cultural activists’.
White Afrikaners who were involved in mainstream politics or the media industry such as seasoned journalist Max Du Preez are often credited for their role in showing their lack of empathy towards the apartheid government.
However, there were many white Afrikaners across all industries, who without consciously taking the ‘leftist side’ broke all the rules and laws of apartheid regime and were forever at loggerheads with the security police.
One such person is former music promoter and drummer Carsten Ransch.
In this hilarious, informative, historically and entertaining memoir titled Between Rock & A Hard Place. Rasch, a white Afrikaner man who hails from Springs takes the reader through a period that was characterized by bullying from the ‘Boers’ and deep racial agenda from the apartheid government.
Rasch’s musical festivals, which brought together different race groups, defied the segregation and racist policies of PW Botha’s government.
‘ The conservative fuckers who ran the country suddenly realized that many of the Afrikaans youth weren’t actually behind them.’
This book is very inspirational and eye-opening, as Ransch recounts not only his experience with the then government, but also his highs and lows in his music promoting/drumming career and to his club owning venture.
He tells his story in a friendly and funny way, but yet exhibits glimpses of fears on his journey.
The memoir differs from your stereotypical one, which normally starts with the early background juxtaposed to the current.
This one however, is centred on Rasch’s life only during the 70s and 80s ,with a brief background history of early childhood life and family.
The only thing about his present life is that he will be marrying his partner Heidi Erdemann ‘very soon’.
While there are quite a few sentences in Afrikaans, which I think should have atleast been translated into English for those readers who do not understanding the language. This book is well written, funny and most importantly the events follow each other seamlessly.
The title of this book indeed thus justice to the inside content of it.
Rasch has paid tributes to unsung heroes of the 70s and 80s who revolutionised punk, rock n roll and the reggae scene in a country that was in war with itself. I recommend this book to hustlers in the music business and also those who want to know the history of South Africa’s punk and rock n roll music.