Hotstix says he is grateful he went back to school in the manner he did. - Photo by Kelebogile Xaba

By Staff Reporter

Multiple award-winning music legends who have produced timeless gems that outlive generations are averse to taking time between recordings and performances to focus on university assignments…more so, at the age 70.
It takes an extraordinarily focused person to do the aforementioned. A seismic shift in thinking has to occur for someone, who at the age of 60 goes back to school to finish their matric.
It takes an individual to whom self-empowerment is the guiding principle, one whose value of education is more important than having access to money. That’s the story of music maestro, Sipho Cecil Peter “Hotstix” Mabuse.
Hotstix completed his matric through Adult Basic Education and Training (Abet) in 2012. He then enrolled for part-time studies at the University of South Africa (Unisa) but was forced to put his studies on hold due to work and family pressure.
The dream to further his studies was much stronger than the pressure. He is now pursuing anthropology studies at the University of Joburg (UJ).
“I wanted education for the power that information provides. I did not get about to complete my education so as I should find a job, I wanted freedom and the power that comes with knowledge,” Hotstix told The Telegram.
A proud child of Soweto, Hotstix still lives in his humble beginnings. He says township life shaped him to be the great icon he is today. He loves being among the people of Pimville.
“You’d be amazed as to what inspires me. I’m inspired by ordinary people. Sometimes, we don’t even realise the value that ordinary people bring to our lives.
“This whole idea of profiling value as people who are rich, educated and so on, is false. Of course, I wish rich people would add value to our lives, but in truth, it is always the ordinary people who do it best.
“I get inspired by people I meet every day and say, “Sawubona bhuti, kunjani?” (Greetings my brother, how are you?),” he beams.
With a music career spanning more than 50 years, Hotstix has amassed an enviable number of accolades.
He is the recipient of the country’s highest honour bestowed to citizen by the government – the Order of Ikhamanga.
The Oder of Ikhamanga in silver was bestowed on him by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2018.
He belongs to an elite club of South Africa’s world-acclaimed musicians, the likes of Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwangwa, Caiphus Semenya, Abdullah Ibrahim, Sipho Gumede and Khaya Mahlangu, among others.
Despite his immense achievements and fame, he remains humble and accessible.
This has earned him impressive admiration from young and old alike. Getting lost for our interview, when we called him for directions, “ask anyone,” he instructed. We did as we were instructed and were delivered to his home.
A likable and easy-going person, Hotstix says obnoxious material glitter is a turn off for him.
He says it pains him to see how materialism has blinded people. He dislikes it, especially in politics and education.
“Everything is about money,” he bemoans.
“Politics of materialism has created a big problem. Our people were dedicated to a course of a struggle for the upliftment of the poor, now leaders steal from the same people.
“In education, it’s worse. Young people can’t define their purpose outside of money. Why would you want to go to school? What is it that you think you want to achieve? What is the reason for you going to school? Young people are not about creating a path.
“I did not go back to school to get money, look for work, or some material gain like that. Nobody was going to employ me, anyway.
“For me, it was about something much bigger, it was about getting as much knowledge as possible so I am able to talk with authority on things that can change my own value and that of ordinary people I could reach,” he said.
He believes our education objectives are similar to those of apartheid.
“We always aspire to be in the higher class, just like they made us think,” he complained.
“This system is based on a wrong premise and is destructive to young people. It tells them that if you get education, you will be wealthy. You’re creating a wrong mindset and false expectations.
“So, young people go to school knowing this, Yaz’ mina umangiqeda iskolo ngizoba rich (You know, when I finish school, I’ll be rich).
“Then, they get disappointed when that light just goes bleaker and bleaker. We need to elevate them outside these walls.
“We need to say to them, “find a useful self”, rather than this education that is a pinnacle of false hopes.
“Let young people aspire to give their talents and worth to the world. Let’s put them in a position and a level where chances of attainment of their true potential are greater.
“We must not fool ourselves to believe that ‘hhayi angeke ngiye esgela’ (I won’t go to school) because I have talent.
“Chances of getting a better job, as an educated person, are greater but with the rotten education mindset we rob the young ones their true worth,” said the muso.
A father of 12, grandfather of 15 and a great-grandfather to a toddler, Hotstix says he is grateful he went back to school in the manner he did.
“It afforded me an opportunity to work for the community. When I completed [my studies], I served on the governing body of the same school. I fought to ensure that the school serviced the community more than just providing classrooms during the day.”
He says he lives ekasi for that kind of service to the community.
“I am here because I’m conscious. I want to be able to speak about things that I see [around me]. Things that I experienced on a daily basis. If I move out of here, all what’s going to happen is I will have high walls around me and be oblivious to the things that are important.
“I will not be able to speak about these things. I’ll be speaking about things under false pretence. Once you are isolated from reality, you can’t speak about it,” he said.

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