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Ballad to ballot, a song to inspire voting

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“The time has come for us to imagine. Let’s create a space of hope and how. To realise the dream that we all share in, here and now.”

These are the lyrics to the song titled The Time Has Come, created to urge South Africans to go to the polls on 29 May.

It was spearheaded by Johannesburg artist Isa Schwartz Gesseau who brought together two local singers, Ms EJN (Esther Khoza), and Daniel “Stompie” Selibe, and artist/photographer Camdon Juby, to urge participation at the polls. The song was produced by David Gresham Records.

“We intend to unite South Africans through our song so everyone can finally rise above the challenges that we face and believe in a future of hope and peace,” said the artists. “We couldn’t let this election period pass without trying to inspire our fellow citizens to act on 29 May to help realise our dream of a fairer and kinder society. This song was produced out of love and hope for the beautiful and bountiful country that we live in.”

The song calls for South Africans to embrace fairness, justice, equality, wisdom, courage, humility, understanding, kindness, and respect.

It was released to radio stations on 20 May in anticipation of the elections.

Schwartz Gesseau was inspired to put her artistic skills to use after one of her students, Professor William Gumede, who chairs the Multi-Party Charter for South Africa, held a networking event at her art studio to drum up support for the Multi-Party Charter and share its aim of presenting a united front in the 2024 general election against the three-decade rule of the African National Congress.

From there, a neighbour of Schwartz Gesseau’s approached her to try and brainstorm a way to create a chain of influence to get every South African citizen to vote in the elections.

“After talking to my neighbour and going through many ideas, I had a lightbulb moment and said, ‘Why don’t we use art? We can use music, and it can bring people together’,” said Schwartz Gesseau.

She got in touch with musical powerhouse David Gresham Records to get the song made as a “vision prayer” for the whole country. The company jumped on board and offered to produce it.

Schwartz Gesseau found the three artists to work on the song, and the quartet took only six weeks to produce the song.

“In six short weeks, we turned this vision prayer into this beautiful prayer to inspire the whole of South Africa,” said Schwartz Gesseau, “All of the artists aren’t necessarily big artists, but they are so talented that they should be huge forces in South Africa’s music scene. I’m so happy we were able to work on something this special.”

Juby is heard reciting the last verse of the song: “I have a vision where all people are at peace, fed and housed; Every child is loved and educated to develop their talents; Where the heart is more important than the head; and wisdom is revered over riches. In this world justice, equality, and fairness rule.”

Said Schwartz Gesseau, “This isn’t a song that will have diminished impact after the elections because it has a bigger message for South Africans to work together that can go beyond 29 May.

“We’re hoping that in some way, South Africa can fulfil the desires of our nation to become a safer place to live in, where we can live together. In my experience, South Africans want safety, good services, and to live a decent life together. I hope our song can provide some kind of beacon of hope.”

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1 Comment

  1. Liane

    May 23, 2024 at 1:07 pm

    Ms EJN on vocals
    Daniel “Stompie” Selibe (percussion and flute) Camdon Juby on keyboards and vocals

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