Sunday, 18 August 2013

Oppi... KOPPI!!

Oppi Koppi 2013. Never did I think I would be back at Mordor, breathing dust and getting dirty. My experience in 2010 was awesome but something I felt was one of those once-off trips. This time was different though – I went there with a volunteer group called the Red Frogs and was there to hand out water, make pancakes and coffee and just serve the party people. I might have been going for that reason but what a bonus that the line-up this year was AMAZING!

Those who have been before know that the weekend is jam packed with local and international artists performing on a number of different stages. 3 days of awesome music amongst the thorns and dust is quite an experience. Being on the team, I was on duty during the day and was exhausted come 16:00 – staying up to watch the 12:00am shows just was not going to cut it. Because of this I missed a lot of the acts but was stoked to catch bands like CrashCarBurn, ShortStraw, Finley Quaye, Matthew Mole, Gangs of Ballet, Manchester Orchestra, Jeremy Loops and ISO. I was blown away with the local talent represented there!! From my tent I heard other bands such as Bittereinder who really rocked it.

What was even more awesome and what I think I want to talk about a little more is the fact that there were so many bands there who we know have members with faith! How flipping cool that at a festival rife with the ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll’ ethos, these guys were there to sing into the lives of festival goers whether they knew it or not. Matthew Mole, Nakhane Toure, Straatligkinders, Flint, Meet Spark – what an incredible representation of ‘faith-based/ethosed’ music. Can we call it that? As I’m trying to write this I am struggling to decide what to call them or how to group them…shall we just say they have a more positive and uplifting way of bringing their music to the masses? Is that okay? I got to watch Matthew play and was so impressed with how many people were there to support him; in the middle of this crazy festival, here they were singing along to Matt’s amazing lyrics. You can’t help but smile. I think it’s so important that these artists are supported and encouraged and am so pleased that they are not being shoved into a ‘Christian Music’ box never to be heard from at festivals such as Oppi. Instead, they’re being recognised for their awesome talent and are being given the opportunity to shine a light into the utter darkness (both literal and figurative) that exists at these music festivals.

We had an ex member from a prominent SA band talk to the Red Frog team before leaving and one of the questions was about how we can serve the bands there. This guy made such a valid point; he said just be there. Get involved. Don’t separate yourselves from the guys singing less-savoury songs as that is exactly what Christianity is NOT about. He explained how ‘Christian’ bands would always get a bad rep as the guys sitting in the corner being lame and drinking coke. How sad. Instead, be in the world – not of it. What a common theme in all we do. And so I feel even more excited about the potential that guys such as Matthew and Flint, Meet Spark have to hang out with all these bands and festival goers and just love them, serve them and show them why they’re different.

As excited as I am about all of this and I cannot emphasise enough how rad it was to be surrounded by such South African musical talent the whole weekend, I’m no music buff and the real reason why I was there had a far bigger impact on me and I’d love to share a little bit about that too. Joining the Red Frogs team and going to Oppi 2013 was something I knew God wanted me to do. When Steph spoke at GodFirst about getting involved, I did not really know what this was all about but there was such a conviction on my heart to sign up that I went ahead and did it. What an experience it was. In quiet time this week, I read 1 John 7-10 and it could not describe my experience with Red Frogs better; through loving people, God’s love becomes complete within us! Amazing!! I may not have had a particular connection with one person but just being there to serve and love people made me feel closer to God than ever. When I was overwhelmed I felt Him tell me not to bow to my weakness and my insecurities but to just allow Him to work through me – and work He did. I saw the gratitude from people and was so blessed to be part of serving our awesome King who just wants us to know His love. The stories coming out of this weekend are so encouraging and it all calls to the glory and power of God. We are just like the party people of Oppi; lost and broken. The only difference is we have Jesus – and what a difference it makes!! Speaking to other Red Froggers we all agree that nothing satisfies quite as much as serving and being instruments in God’s awesome plan for this world. And the reception we got from people – blown away!! I heard one guy lining up to get pancakes say “I can’t believe I’m hanging out in the Christian tent”…and yet they came. People from all backgrounds and spaces came and allowed us to love them – and most loved us back! All thanks to God for bringing them to us and softening their hearts. I believe seeds have been planted that we may never see but which are so important. This experience reminded me once again of God’s amazing grace and love towards us and has really had a huge impact on my faith!

After all of this I really only have one thing to say…Bring on Oppi 2014!

Till next time…Let go and let God.



  1. Hello B

    I just wanna say that I find this absolutely incredible! Over time, I had become one of the 'lame Coke-drinking' believers, but this had changed my view on a lot of things in a lot of ways.

    Glad you enjoyed Oppi :)

  2. Hey Edwin!

    Thanks so much for the awesome feedback! So encouraging and much appreciated. It's so easy to want to separate ourselves from the world, and sometimes it is easier to do that but can you imagine where we would be if Jesus decided to separate himself from us? And not hang with and teach the disciples? I find that thought really helps motivate me.

    Keep growing and changing the way you think - it's exciting!

    Thanks for reading! :)