Okay guys, we’re going to make an album for the End Conscription Campaign and we want your song to open it. Remember this was the eighties and the government of South Africa did not take too kindly to people trying to persuade young men not to go and fight. How would you have reacted? Well Mapantsula seemed to think, sod it, we’re up for the challenge and we will do something as upbeat and joyful as we can. Perhaps they wanted to persuade the youth of the country that not fighting was something to be happy about and that dancing was a far better idea.
The band featured Kenyan born musician, Simba Morri and one can hear a slight East African influence in the guitar work and in the use of the word ‘uhuru’ in the lyrics, this was the Swahlili word for ‘freedom’. They also draw on the Portugese of Mozambique chanting ‘a luta contuinua’ which means ‘the struggle continues’.
The End Consciption Campaign, could hardly have asked for a better song to open the album, it was political, it was life affirming and you could dance to it. It bounces around your speakers as if the band had given their instruments free rein to do what they pleased, and the instruments liked to make upbeat music. Thrown into the mix is a lively sax which gives the song a bit of a ska feel to it. Revolution and music often go hand in hand and in ‘Pambere’ we had a song that grabbed us by the hand and took us skipping through the times that were a-changing.
Where to find it:
Forces Favourites – Various Artists (1986), Shifty Records (SHIFT10)
Shot Down (Resistance Music from Apartheid South Africa) – Various Artists (2006),Shifty Records
Hear here: Shifty Records Bandcamp (artists listed as Simba Morri)