Nompilo Kunene
Senior online journalist
2 minute read
27 Mar 2021
06:19

Song for Pietermaritzburg strikes familiar chord

Nompilo Kunene

“Being broke in Pietermaritzburg is like dying every day.”

“Being broke in Pietermaritzburg is like dying every day.”

These are some of the memorable words in a song by Dave Starke and Tanya Nicolson titled Pietermaritzburg.

The song, written by Starke (40), is a story of a conversation between a 67-year-old Pietermaritzburg car guard who is telling a young mother his life story of how he used to have it all but made the wrong decisions and lost everything.

Starke, who stays in Eshowe, said the idea of the song came to him while he was sitting at the Scottsville Mall parking lot and just observing what was happening.

“So, I was sitting in the parking lot and just watching the car guards and people coming and going. I started thinking about what was going on in their minds and that’s when the idea for the song came to me.

“The most important measure of good art is (for me) the extent to which it moves my emotions … I cry to this every time.”
Pietermaritzburg musician Dave Starke

“I love Pietermaritzburg, although it’s going through hard times at the moment … The city has a lot of homeless people and people who are begging, especially in the city centre so that’s one of the other reasons I decided to call the song Pietermaritzburg,” he said.

“The message of the song is that life can take a bad turn for anyone and that this man could be this woman’s father and she could be his daughter. That’s how close they are despite them being so different,” said Starke.

The song is on Starke’s album Shifting Boundaries. He said he initially posted the song on YouTube a year ago but decided to repost it again earlier this week. Despite it not having high number of views as yet, those who listened to it said they could totally relate to the song.

Commenting on YouTube, Richard Dobbin said: “ Living in Pietermaritzburg and supporting the local car guards when I can, each one has a story to tell.”

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Charles Webster said: “The most important measure of good art is (for me) the extent to which it moves my emotions … I cry to this every time.”

Starke said he was glad that the song has struck a chord with people, “even though for most people it’s sadness, but I’m glad people can relate to the song. I love writing songs that people can connect with emotionally”.

He said he decided to collaborate with Nicolson on the song because he loves her emotive voice. “She has a very emotional voice and did a beautiful job on the song.”