Mdantsane is a unique, vibrating, eclectic, African place. Follow us on a pilgrimage to Mdantsane to discover the street culture, fashion, food, people, music, homes, taverns, humor, businesses, history and what's hot in the second biggest township in South-Africa, located close to the city of East London in the Province of the Eastern Cape. Join us on this journey while we capture the spirit of this amazing place for you in the here and in the now. We are going to introduce you to many individuals, artists, musicians, groups and associations.
They are the HEROES OF DAILY LIFE. They are the people who create, innovate and improve their life and their stories deserve to be told. This is a place for only good and positive stories of humanity, that will send out a message of courage, endurance and strength to the world through their pictures and words.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Heroes Of Daily Life - In Memory Of The Painter Helmut Goettl

Card board collector in East London - One of the millions of " Heroes Of Daily Life" that roam this earth

When working on a project like The Mdantsane Way, which is a project that tells stories to the world about the private life of people, it is essentital to try to be as true possible as you can to the people, who have agreed to share their life and their stories with you.

But you always bring a part of yourself into it and you have to be true to yourself as well.  
When I first used the term "The Heroes of Daily Life ", I have been asked, where did I get the idea from. Why would I call the people we wrote about heroes. I got it from my own life and my own childhood.
My father had a friend. A "life-long" best friend, whose name was Helmut. He was a painter. The friendship between the two men, who had met when they were students, lasted as long as it was possible - until one of them reached the end his life. My father's friend died about a year ago. 

Both men were born as artists but only one of them followed his calling and the sacrifice, that came with it. It was not my father. 

A real talent is a curse, because you have to do what you feel inside that you must do. You can not escape the urge to create and at times your talent and your work might stay completely unrecognized (in the worst case during your entire life), and non-appreciated, lead you to great poverty and misery. And worse, make you drag your family and the ones you love into the misery you have created for yourself.
Why am I saying this? Because to be an artist means to be poor. Until the moment comes... oh yes the moment all talented people dream about. The moment of discovery.
The moment, so eagerly awaited, when somebody looks at your work and says: That is good, I am ready to invest in it.
My father's friend painted his whole life. He sacrificed everything else for his great talent, that today after many years is undisputed. When young, he did not eat many a day to buy oil paint. Neither did his family eat.

He walked the long and hard walk of an artist, who does not want to compromise. The question was not: did he believe in himself but rather did he have to paint ? He had to paint!
Belief was not the question!
There was no way he could not follow his the inner voice. Today his paintings are collected by art lovers all over the world. What he painted were the Heroes of Daily Life.
His paintings depict society and reality brutally, without any glorification. 
It was him who created the term "The Heroes of Daily Life " . 

The Heroes of Daily Life are the millions of people, who fight and fight, and do simply not stop battling for a better and more affluent life. They might not be considered beautiful or important by the ones who are rule makers. But they are the true actors in the theatre of life. They are in Mdantsane. They are on the African continent.
They are in every society and in every land. They are of a great number. They make a choice not to kill you for your sunglasses, stab you for your handbag, or hijack cars.
They make the choice to collect dirty card boad instead or to recycle your trash.
They are more than the "Salt of the Earth" or what is commonly called the working class. They are the true Heroes of Daily Life playing their role in the theater of life. Facing poverty and a lack of everything, they have still chosen an honest fight. And this makes them true and genuine heroes. You might be one of them.

This post was written in memory of Helmut Goettl, a great inspiration in the theatre of life.  

1 comment:

  1. I followed your blog because I was following shweshwe, I'm working at Dagama Textiles and my plan is to create 3cats Shweshwe brand awareness to the Africans,we've embarked on a skills development project for the sewers of the shweshwe fabric....... I must say I'm inspired.......



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