Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World

July 23, 2021

It’s a cruel, crazy, beautiful world! Words from the song of the same name written in 1989 by South African legend, Johnny Clegg.

The noise. When will it stop?

Clegg’s song lyrics are life lessons that made sense of the chaos of South Africa in the 80s. The beat inspired us to dance and to sing out loud in hope and defiance. They were coping mechanisms in a time of upheaval, turmoil and craziness not only in South Africa but the world over.

The last 18 months and especially the last two weeks have bought a similar level of upheaval and chaos to the lives of a new generation of young adults, you. Like us, you need to stay sane, shut out the noise and stay focused. You, ultimately, are our leaders in waiting.

Clegg wrote “Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World” for his newborn son Jesse to help him navigate the world and although he’s gone, his wisdom lives through his lyrics and we’ll use them to help you as he helped us. Bear in mind that the words contained herein, are the authors’ interpretation of what they learned from Clegg from listening to his songs over a 40-year period and listening to his stories when seeing him live in concert.

You got to

Verse one of Cruel, Crazy Beautiful World:

You got to wash with the crocodile in the river
You got to swim with the sharks in the sea
You got to live with the crooked politician
Trust those things that you can never see

Our interpretation of these words is, Johnny is saying that bad in this world will happen, like it or not. What we have to do is navigate around the obstacles, keep our eyes open and ears to the ground. Don’t ignore what’s happening, but don’t let it consume you. Choose your battles, fight for the good things in this world, and remain focussed on your path as it is your future you are working towards.

Keep on

Verse two of this incredible song:

You got to trust your lover when you go away
Keep on believing tomorrow brings a better day
Sometimes you smile while you’re cryin’ inside
Just once you’ll turn away while the truth be shinin’ bright

We think Johnny is saying, stay positive and project a positive demeanour even when it seems like the walls are coming down around you. Keep believing tomorrow brings a better day, no explanation needed. Incidentally his reference to crying doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a good cry. Crying in 88.8% of cases makes the weeper feel better and research shows stress chemicals are released in our tears. So go ahead and have a good cry if you need to.

It’s your world

It’s a cruel, crazy, beautiful world
Every day you wake up I hope it’s under a blue sky
It’s a cruel, crazy, beautiful world
One day when you wake up I will have to say goodbye
Say goodbye, it’s your world so live in it
Goodbye, it’s your world so live in it

Johnny, we think, is saying, this time belongs to your generation. It’s your world, your responsibility, so grab it with both hands. Your parents, grandparents and other elders that help and guide you will one day have to say goodbye. To honour them and make your world a better place, stay focused, stay on the path, arm yourself with knowledge and wisdom and make the world a better place.

Beautiful years

Beyond the door, strange cruel beautiful years lie waiting for you
It kills me to know you won’t escape loneliness
Maybe you lose hope too

My interpretation of this fourth verse is that the future is unpredictable – crazy unbelievable things will happen, sometimes you’ll feel lonely and sad. However, don’t lose hope, life is never one sided, amazing special things happen every day. Open your eyes and heart to them, let them in, enjoy them and celebrate every minute. You may have to fight for them but when you do they will feel so much better so, saviour them.

Your parents and grandparents are wise

When I feel your small body close to mine
I feel weak and strong at the same time
So few years to give you wings to fly
Show you the stars to guide your ship by

Is he saying that time flies? That’s what we think. Your parents and grandparents will always try to guide you and impart wisdom that can’t be found in a book. Listen to their guidance, don’t reject it. Ask questions, get the clarity you need. Their wisdom will guide you through these chaotic times, bring you safely through and equip you to handle the good and bad times ahead, when they’re gone.

Live in it

The he repeats the following line:

It’s your world so live in it (it’s your world so live in it)
It’s your world so live in it (it’s your world so live in it)
It’s your world so live in it (it’s your world so live in it)
It’s your world so live in it (it’s your world so live in it)
It’s your world so live in it (it’s your world so live in it)
It’s your world so live in it (it’s your world so live in it)
It’s your world so live in it (it’s your world so live in it)

Enough said!

Times are tough, reach out if you need

These are priceless words of wisdom from one of the greatest artists and storytellers of South Africa and the world. If some of Johnny’s wisdom helps you through this tough time, he will smile in heaven. We would like to dedicate this blog to him. We miss you Johnny.

No matter how tough you think you are, please don’t be afraid to reach out, we truly are all in this boat together. This blog will hopefully help you navigate these tough times a little easier but remember you’re not alone so lean on others if you need. Be safe out there, be wise and use common sense.

Thanks to those who are part of The Fields’ community and family. Tell your fellow students and those looking for comfortable, safe and affordable accommodation while attending university, about us. Have an issue or a suggestion or need help get in touch we look forward to hearing from you.

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