I’ll stand by you, Dad

There’s a song we all know well. The original is good enough. But when sung by Johnny Cash, the words take on even more power.

“When you’re weary, feeling small,

“When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all…”

His gravelly voice can offer such comfort.

But today I’ve chosen a different song. A South African song, because this is where we are.

This is our place of need.

The song is for my father. My song to him.

I’ll recite the lyrics. But they’re best listened to.

Staan my by, by Radio Kalahari Orkes.

O die winter wind

Wat oor ons wêreld waai

En die donker stêr

Wat in die hemel draai

En’* teken langs die pad

Wat vorentoe bedui

Hier’s die einde van jou drome

Hier kom jy nooit verby

En jy besef terdee

Jou laaste kans verdwyn

Want jou gees is moeg,

En jou liggaam pyn

Dan kom ek vir jou haal

Dan kom ek vir jou sê

My vriend, o my vriend

Ons moet nooit gaan * ê

Tot die bitter end

Tot die son uitbrand

Tot die see opdroog

Anderkant die verste anderkant

Al staan ek alleen

Sal ek nooit gaan * ê

Ek sal steeds hier staan

Vir jou die waarheid sê

Staan my by, my bra, staan my by, my bra

Skouer aan skouer

Sy aan sy

Ek sien, ek sien,

Ek sien die verste anderkant

Hier kom ek vir jou haal

Hier kom ek vir jou sê

Ek sê nee, nee, nee

Ons sal nooit gaan * ê

Staan my by, my bra, staan my by, my bra

Skouer aan skouer

Sy aan sy

Tot die bitter end…

Or, in English, something like this:

“Oh, the winter wind

That blows across our world

And the dark star

Turning in the sky

And a sign on the road

Telling what lies ahead

Here’s the end of your dreams

This, you are not going to pass

And you realise, then

Your last chance is disappearing

Because your spirit is tired

And your body is in pain

Then, I will come to fetch you

Then, I will come to tell you

My friend, my friend

We must never give up

To the bitter end, to the bitter end

’Til the sun burns out

’Til the sea dries up

’Til beyond the furthest other side

Even though I stand alone

I will never back down

I will stand here firm

And tell you the truth

Stand by me, Dad, Stand by me, Dad

Shoulder to shoulder

Side by side

I see, I see

I see the far side

Here, I’ve come to get you

Here, I’ve come to tell you

I say no, no, no

We will never back down

Stand by me, Dad, Stand by me, Dad

Shoulder to shoulder

Side by side

Until the bitter end …

The voices of Ian Roberts and Chris Chameleon say everything I need to say, right now.

Staan my by, Dad.