1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Limpet Mine – Kalahari Surfers

The Eighties Vol 2 – Kalahari Surfers

The Eighties Vol 2 – Kalahari Surfers

Kalahari Surfers do not do easy listening and even before you start listening to ‘Limpet Mine’ the mere song title will tell you that that rule will still apply once you hit play. And this suspicion is confirmed as soon as the beat starts. It’s an edgy sound that introduces the track, an ominous beat that portends a restless song ahead. And then the rapped vocals hit in, and they seem to be coming through a public address system and it’s a bit like those you expect from a dystopian regime ordering the public to behave in a certain way. And this all adds to the unease of the song.

The lyrics are full of images of war and violence: ‘there is pain in the air’, ‘somebody pushed a button and she flew into a rage’, ‘your brother will forgive and throw another stone’ and ‘he’s Agent Orange, insecticide’. These describe a man and a women, both of whom are highly strung and wrapped up in hate and violence. The kicker comes in the last line: ‘we are limpet mines/yellow at heart/living in a country that’s blown apart’. This is a hard-hitting song about the state of the nation during the turbulent eighties.

The minimalist hip-hop beat and ragged-tooth vocals captured the times we were living through back then. It pulled no punches, but then that’s what the Kalahari Surfers did. They were an in your face band, holding up a mirror to the nation so that they could see how ugly the reflection was. This was not one of the more popular protest songs from the era but it is probably one of the most hard hitting which is why it was largely overlooked as it was too uncomfortable to confront back then. With hindsight, it still packs a punch, but perhaps is just a little bit easier to listen to now.

Where to find it:
The Eighties Vol 2 – Kalahari Surfers, Microdot, MDCD 008

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