#CreativityWillSaveUs – Creating hope in South Africa by Aron Halevi

Photo Credit: Nik Rabinowitz
Aron Halevi is a multi-award winning musician based in Cape Town, South Africa. In this feature, Aron shares his motivation and process to create #BecauseWeAre – a song and music video featuring an unprecedented collaboration of 30 of South Africa’s most diverse and influential musicians spanning multiple genres, cultures, languages and generations.
Hope is a creative act.
To make something from nothing.
To imagine a reality that doesn’t exist – yet.
Hope is one of the most powerful forces in our lives. Without it, we struggle to move forward, regardless of what’s going on around us. With a sense of hope – a belief that better is possible, whether it’s tomorrow, next year or even in generations to come – we can get through the toughest of times, both personally and collectively.
Resilience goes hand in hand with hope. They feed each other. If hope is a lighthouse shining light into the darkness and guiding us to safety, resilience is a life raft that keeps us afloat and buffers us against the harshest of storms. And I have recently discovered a way to keep our ‘resilience raft’ inflated – simply by reminding ourselves of everything we have been through. By acknowledging our past resilience, we build our resilience for the future.
And creativity plays a key role in this.
South Africa – my family home for 5 generations – has endured many storms. We have been through so much as a nation, and yet we are still here, still shining. This is what inspired #BecauseWeAre.
This anthemic song and video showcases our incredible resilience as a country and a people, expresses the strength of our diversity, and demonstrates our chutzpah to shine, even in the darkest of times. My hope is that this ‘reminder’ will powerfully impact our national sentiment at this moment – touching the hearts and minds of our people at a time when we most critically need it.
#BecauseWeAre is an unprecedented collaboration featuring 30 of SA’s most diverse and influential musicians spanning multiple genres, cultures, languages and generations. After writing the song with my old friend and collaborator, Zolani Mahola, each artist recorded their parts at home during the most severe phase of lockdown in South Africa. We then undertook the immense task of editing and mixing all the voices to make a cohesive and powerful song, which was released on Mandela Day (18/July/2020).
The iconic music video was created using hand-painted stop frame animation by Thabang Lehobye, a young up-and-coming visual artist based in Johannesburg, and follows the journey of a young girl through key moments of triumph and tribulation in South Africa’s history. Significantly, she finally plants a seed that falls from our internationally celebrated constitution to symbolise infusing its values into the very fabric of our future.
The phrase “tikkun olam” is used so often, we think it means the same as charity or perhaps social activism. I once met an old man who shared another perspective with me… The entire universe is made up of shattered sparks of divine light, and our job in this lifetime is to elevate those sparks, whenever and however possible.
That is my mission. To use creativity to shine light into the darkness, to elevate the sparks, and to imagine realities that don’t exist yet.
And then make them. However Possible.


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