Most afternoons, you’ll find Shiraz “Busta” Ahrendse – “like Busta Rhymes, ’cos I can rap also” – playing his trumpet to passersby on Thibault Square – just across from the Vida e Caffe on St George’s Mall. Some people stop. Maybe throw a coin at his feet. But most just walk on by…
“My name is Shiraz. I’m a Muslim. My friends call me P. Just the letter. We went on this camp. I peed into a bottle. Later, two of the guys were very thirsty. They were looking for leftover cooldrink. They drank from it. I didn’t tell them. I laughed at them. Now they call me P, some of the time.
It’s mostly change I get, this bronze money. And two rands. But ja, God is good. Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes I get a note like this. Then I just put it in my pocket. When I have proper money, they – the guys from the train station – run past and grab it. But I know, I understand. Ja, I don’t get angry. We have the same struggles.
I have a four-year-son. I stay with an auntie and I have to pay R20 a night. My little brother stays there too – he’s still young, man. I’ve got to look out for him as well.
Ten months ago my mom was shot in the head. Those gangs in Mannenberg – you know, when innocent people get in the crossfire. It’s in the paper, The Voice. Ja, you can read it there. Sharina Arhendse. The three boys, the sons they write about? That’s us. Then you can know I’m not lying.
You can hear sometimes in my music that I’m broken. You know, the sad songs.