South Africa celebrates 20 Years of Freedom & Democracy

during my record hunting trips, I often encounter the most unusual records which attract my attention. Like last Queensday -today it’s called King’s Day- at the end of April in Amsterdam when the city becomes one huge flea market and people sell their junk, sometimes rare records too…

At first I thought it was a reggae album, because of the colors of the artwork but  I found out that the record contains music of a somewhat less light sensible topic. Music of the liberation movements of South Africa ( ANC ) and Namibia ( SWAPO ) and the People’s Republic of Angola.

The ANC is  in power since 1994 and has once again won the elections in 2014 so it is 20 years ago that the ANC came into power as  the leading party in South Africa’s democracy. Certainly a time for celebration for some but unfortunately not for all. Sometimes it is forgotten -or unknown- how much support the African National Congress received from abroad during their struggle for freedom, especially from a country like the Netherlands. Many exiles received a warm welcome in the small country on the North Sea in the 70’s and found numerous organizations which were committed to help to fight the struggle against apartheid.

maatla cover
The LP Maatla!, the title which translates as ‘power’,  features  a number of songs that were collected by several staff members of the Medical Komitee Angola during a visit to South Africa in 1976. Released as a private pressing by Medical Komitee Angola in Holland, this LP is a document of a bygone age. Or am I mistaken?

One the of the songs that is featured on this album is a militant song called ‘Sizoba dubula ngembhayimbhayi’ sung by the Sechaba Choir ANC in Xhosa. The text translates as;  the farmers flee; we shall chase them and shoot.


zuma sings

Sechaba Choir ANC -Welele

a song in Xhosa, in which Nelson Mandela (the then leader of the ANC who was imprisoned on Robben Island at the time) is requested to support for the problems of his people in these difficult times. The people no longer sleep at home but go into the mountains to fight against the ‘Boers’.  Vukani Mawethu-People Awake! Join the African National Congress military.

Sechaba Choir ANC -Rolihlahla

This is Mandela’s African name. This song is sung in English and adresses the President of the ANC, Nelson ‘Rolihlahla’ Mandela to lead his people to freedom

Sechaba Choir ANC -Shanyelan’ Amabala

variation on a traditional song that was sung when cleaning an open place for an important event. It calls the children in South Africa to prepare for the arrival of Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the military wing of the ANC that  will come to fight as one destroys scorpions.  (sung in Zulu)

Sechaba Choir ANC -Wobaleka

Umkhonto coming. We are the spear of the nation; We have suffered long enough; we want to be free. Freedom for Africa. (sung in Xhosa)

Sechaba Choir ANC -uMachel

a song in honor of Samora Machel, and Agostino Neto, who fought for their independence of the reactionary forces. It is intended to encourage Oliver Tambo, Sam Nujoma and the Patriotic Front in their fight for freedom. (sung in Xhosa)

maatla label 1


maatla label 2