The Malopoets formed way back in 1978 and, although not as successful as contempories such as Juluka and Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse, they were no less important. Bringing us some of the rootsy-er sound from the township, the ploughed their own furrow.
‘The End Is Near’ is not an end of the world song that the title would suggest to some. It is a message about the impending end of apartheid. Released on their 1988 album, ‘Life Is For Living’, the song contrasts gentle and quite beautiful music with a harsh message. The message comes in the form of an impassioned speech from Rev Allan Boesak. So while the band sing a melodic refrain of ‘Nkosi Sikilele’ (that phrase, not the anthem and not to the same tune of the anthem) surrounded by bubbling marimba sounds, Boesak interjects with a hard-edged voice, telling of the atrocities of apartheid.
‘This is no joke/this thing that we are engaged in’ are the words that Boesak opens the song with. The Malopoets were serious musicians making serious music. This is not one to dance around to in an abandonded manner. You need to listen to it. It was protest music at its most beautiful. Sadly, the title of the song was all too true about the band and they split up, but they left a great legacy with this song and Malopoet, Patrick Sefolosha left a legacy to NBA basketball as his son Thabo played for the Oklahoma City Thunder team. So while the end came for the Malopoets, their name lives on in memorable tracks like this one.
Where to find it:
Life Is For Living – Malopoets (1988), Vinyl release