Could you imagine being kicked out of your own house, the place that you grew up in and made memories in? Can you imagine it happening because of your race? Maybe nowadays in our more accepting society, it’s hard to picture such a harsh scenario.
Unfortunately, it was a reality for Africans of colour under the Apartheid system of racial segregation in South Africa. The Apartheid system created a hierarchy where the British white minority held power over the rest of the population and was only made redundant in 1994 – a mere 22 years ago. Apartheid, in the Afrikaans language, means “separateness” and saw to alienate Africans of colour in their own homeland.
To regain equality and voice their opinions on the injustice of the Apartheid system, Africans of colour utilised the media. “Liberation music” was a tool used to fuel the resistance movements, and unite them through song. This ‘communal act of expression’ helped to point out the inequity of the system and eventually helped to reform the South African government… so don’t underestimate the power of music and passion – when combined, they can do incredible things.
Some of the most famous instances of anti-apartheid music include Vuyisile Mini’s protest song “Ndodemnyama we Verwoerd” – translated as “Watch Out, Verwoerd” – in reference to the architect of Apartheid, Hendrik Verwoerd. “Meadowlands”, another protest song, referred to the forced removal of black Africans from their home town of Sophiatown. These songs soon became incredibly popular in South Africa and united the country against the Apartheid system.
YouTube links to both songs can be found below: