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My Journey - Right at the Beginning

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Although music has infiltrated my life since I was about 6 years old, I was never again exposed to it until about December 2001, when in my hometown, after I finished High School, there was an older guy called Tertius. He could play all the cool riffs and memorable parts of some of the greatest songs of the time, especially the golden Classic Rock oldies. He was a skinny chap with dark hair and always had grown some sort of a beard. He played the electric guitar predominantly. Everything on overdrive sounded amazing. Besides him playing the guitar he also practised to become a Diesel Mechanic, fixing large Agricultural Vehicles and appliances, at one of the local farming corporations. Little did he know how much he influenced my mind, body and soul with his playing.


This was a picture taken of Tertius a few years later in our garden. Some of the many gatherings we had weekly once I returned from Uni. This was my Hometown Petrus Steyn between 2001-2006. In this town, is where my Journey of becoming a guitarist started.

Heading off to University with dreams of becoming a professional rugby player without even realising the significant impact the guitar already had on my life. Although I had some idea of what I wanted in life playing rugby making it a reality and knowing what it actually takes to work towards such an ambitious goal just wasn't ingraned in my upbrining. Growing up the advice I was given was, “What if you get injured and rugby does not work out? You must do something else as to serve as a backup plan!” So I studied my preferred vocation, education. This meant that I had two divide my attention and time into two.  Ultimately, I got injured (I was so often reminded that this could happen) by snapping my kneecap into two spending more than 15 months not playing rugby at all.

It all began 17 April 2002, a week after I was carried from the pitch, loaded into the back of an ambulance and all I could hear was how the crowd cheered me on because I had the game of my life that night! I was given Oxygen to help me breathe and stay awake. Concussion was the first diagnosis made; thereafter I was taken to hospital where X-Rays revealed that my patella (Kneecap) was split in two and that I suffered a sternum fracture (Chest crack) too. I remember vividly how painful my knee injury was. The games we played that week were trials for the U/19 Professional Rugby Team called the Falcons. Once you play for such a team the exposure to larger and greater teams become more apparent. Every game is played on national television, you fly across the country; you stash up, get paid and literally stepping into professional rugby territory. And because I was chosen to be the starting scrumhalf above 6 other players in my position it would have meant that even greater opportunities at the Rugby Institute, including sponsors, coaching and paid for university fees as well as best medical insurance, came to light. Just to mention, if it wasn’t for rugby that paid for my first two years of University fees, I certainly wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get a professional degree in Education. 

Unfortunately 15 months later, the dreams of playing rugby were all scattered around the floor. I continued to play but I allowed for negative self-talk, seeking alibis for my disappointments and I fell behind in my own mind. Regardless of the actual injury I was never taught how to stay clear, positive and ready in my mind. “What we tell ourselves is what we become.” “If the thing you wish to do is right, and you believe in it, go ahead and do it! Put your dream across, and never mind what "they" say if you meet with temporary defeat, for "they," perhaps, do not know that EVERY FAILURE BRINGS WITH IT THE SEED OF AN EQUIVALENT SUCCESS!” “Success requires no apologies. Failure permits no alibis.” Napoleon Hill.” Lesson Learned!

This last picture was taken in Skylte (student accommodation) Potchefstroom, North West Province, South Africa. This is me, with some hair and my ARIA Electric guitar. 

Looking back now I understand exactly why all that had to happen, even being disappointed as I am typing this article. During this bitter time I had no other option but to work throughout my holidays because I could not practise or play rugby. I remember working 8-10hours a day for 4 weeks to save up.  Instead of spending that money on booze, I used R2000 (approximately £100) in those days, to buy an Area electric guitar and amp. This was the start of a bigger picture. From this day on, there weren’t a gathering or event where guitar wasn’t present. 

Reflecting and pondering about these main events in my life I am able now to look back and understand why certain things happen in life. Life does not bring something or someone one your path without a well-cared for and considered plan. Although I love rugby and belief that the game has the most beautiful life lessons, in addition to it being the only sport where all types of humans (Tall, small, fat, skinny, fast, slow, smart and less fortunate in that area) are brought together in perfect harmony to achieve a well-disciplined goal. Also it had given me opportunities beyond what anyone could ever imagine. I know now that I was always meant to be a musician, this is also one of the few positive memories I have of my father (RIP) and I will always carry him in my heart regardless of the painful childhood memories of him not being around.


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