Africa – Juluka
Way back in the 80’s when Juluka were recording their early stuff, the internet had not yet spread to the common man, so recording a song called ‘Africa’ and then one called ‘Scatterlings Of Africa’ did not take into account the trouble one would end up having when Googling ‘Africa Juluka’ and then having to go through all the results for ‘Scatterlings Of Africa’ before finding a link to the one you are actually looking for (Oh and Johnny Clegg also went on to record ‘Africa (What Made You So Strong)’ with Savuka). But we can’t really blame Johnny and Sipho for that, now can we. Apart from the fact that not many could have foreseen the growth of the internet and search engines, Juluka would not have been the Juluka we came to love and know had they not sang about Africa.
The song simply entitled ‘Africa’ appeared on Juluka’s debut album ‘Universal Men’ in 1979, an album that was groundbreaking and probably could lay claim to being the springboard from which bands like éVoid, Hotline and Via Afrika took off from. Like many of the early Juluka songs, ‘Africa’, is a simple song which has Robbie Jansen’s flute fluttering gently around Johnny’s singing and Sipho’s guitar culminating in the catchy chorus of ‘Afrika kukhala abangcwele’ which Google translate tells me means ‘Africa Cries For Saints’.
‘Universal Men’ introduced us to a band and a talent in Johnny Clegg that would go on to become one of the biggest and most respected acts in the land. Their rootsy take on local sounds mixed with Western ones showed us what could happen if black and white worked together. ‘Africa’ is just one of many Juluka tracks that you should hear before you go deaf. It’s gentle, its powerful, its catchy, you can dance to it and it relates to the greatest continent on the planet. Sorry if you think otherwise, but you probably haven’t visited Africa (the continent or the song) if you disagree.
Where to find it:
The Best Of Juluka / Savuka Featuring Johnny Clegg – Juluka/Johnny Clegg & Savuka (1999), Primedia Record Company, CDVM(WL)22