Sting got in the way of my political outpourings

Yachts taking part in last years Clipper Round the World Race			             	  Picture: onEdition

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In 1986, when I was 16, a friend of mine suggested that we travel to London to see Sting in a free concert on Clapham Common.

Also playing were Peter Gabriel, Maxi Priest, Elvis Costello, Boy George, Billy Bragg and Hugh Masekela, amongst others.

But it was really Sting that I wanted to see, especially since I had singled him out as a potential husband and father to my children.

This concert was in aid of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, at a time when Nelson Mandela still had another four years to go before he would gain his freedom and eight years before the swell of political feeling would lead to a multi-racial democracy in South Africa. A cause that I felt strongly about, but to be honest, I was most excited about seeing Sting.

The event was packed and the atmosphere incredible. I had turned up wearing my favourite electric blue leggings and my Comic Relief T-shirt (the first ever one).

Although the excitement of seeing Sting was intense, I was also aware of the larger picture. I felt proud to be part of this groundswell of anti-apartheid feeling.

So when a tall Rastafarian man came up to me, pointed at my T-shirt and said: ‘Wear political messages’ I felt deflated.

To dampen my political fires further, Sting had a sore throat and only sang a couple of songs. Sob.

Still, it was my first foray into the political arena and public protest (albeit overshadowed by my teenage fantasies for a man now better known for his aptitude with the lute and sustained sexual performance).

I have dabbled since then, plastering South African apples with ‘Soiled with Apartheid’ stickers in the student Spar at my University, but to be honest, my political outpourings have been largely made in private. And this does make me feel a little guilty.

So it was with some pride that my own children have in their own ways taken up causes in a more public way.

My eldest daughter, shocked by the suggestion that the government wanted to sell off the forests, urged me to tell her what she could do about it.

Sign the petition I said. So she did. And, despite jibes of ‘hippy’ from her classmates, urged her colleagues and teachers to do the same.

When the news broke a couple of weeks ago that the government had done a u-turn on the policy, she was absolutely delighted.

I told her that it was partly down to her that this had occurred and that she should be really proud of herself.

And I couldn’t help but feel that this was an excellent lesson in empowerment.

Now my 13-year-old daughter feels that she does have a voice on a national level and can make a difference. How exhilarating that feels.

My youngest daughter is now planning a letter to David Cameron to discuss her views on the inequalities of society along with some helpful suggestions on how to address it.

In her eight-year-old mind this inequality doesn’t make sense and I fear that the fallibility of the adult world is dawning upon her.

Let’s just hope that she doesn’t develop a crush on a pop star and lose sight of the cause.