When a young man notices an unfair event reoccurring, if that young man writes a song – and that song goes viral causing a corrupt government to threaten his life, and the life of his family; causing him to flee to another country?...
Then that man is remarkable.
Someone who deserves the support of his fellow man.
Thinking nothing of his personal safety, Rene Tshiakanyi wrote a human rights song "La Presse s'efface" or, Journalists are being erased" when his friend, a journalist was almost killed. This prompted him to expose the dealings of a government that simply 'silenced' its foes or expose's. The video that accompanied the song recording caused an outcry among the country's leadership and eventually lead to Rene's fleeing of his homeland.
In August of 2008 Rene arrived in South Africa and lived with his uncle. He had no English language skill and had nothing but a will to live, and his guitar.
His first job in South Africa was a very sad experience – but it proved to be the catalyst for change in Rene's life. He worked as a domestic worker, doing maintenance and garden work for a family in Durban, unfortunately the racist abuse that he suffered at his 'Master's' hands proved to be too much. Being fed his lunch on the same plate that the family dog had earlier eaten upon was the turning point. Rene quietly but firmly told his employer
"I am worth being treated with dignity'
He then left peacefully. He still to this day feels no ill will towards the man, when I heard of the abuse that Rene suffered I was angry – Rene stretched out his hand to me and said,
"It is where that man is... What good will our anger bring? Rather show him kindness…"
Later on in his career, when that same man and his family ate a meal at a restaurant that, coincidentally, had Rene as their entertainment that day, Rene secretly offered to cover their bill in a show of goodwill. He was too late however, and the bill had already been paid...
He went home after quitting work, and over the next while he took up his guitar and sat on a street corner. He started to play songs that he loved. A passerby dropped a note at his feet… one fifth of what he earned for an entire day's hard labour!... a successful busker was born.
A woman named Eva gave him an opportunity to busk at the Mother Organic Restaurant and then Andre at the NSA Gallery allowed him to busk there. In 2009 through long hours of busking, Rene bought his sound equipment and lighting, in 2010 he bought a car, and set up his website, in 2011 he recorded a demo CD, and toured Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town. So far 2012 has been busy, with a UK tour in his dreams...
His style is quite unique; he sings passionately, he is focussing on developing his style – looking into vocal training as well. I personally love his French songs and wish that he would focus on these! When he loses himself in a song his voice takes on a warm vibrato that fills your heart, his guitar playing is crisp and interesting.
Rene's career has gone from strength to strength and I will be doing another interview with him soon! Please take a look at the following links and show Rene some support: