Chin-up songs for immigrants

Chin-up songs for immigrants

Most people will never know what it feels like to leave one’s own country of birth. For good. I’m not talking about that “fabulous safari drive” you and Mark had last summer. I’m talking about, visiting your mother’s grave one last time because harsh circumstances now call for you to hit the road. For good. Sadly, once you enter a foreign country (even with all your paperwork in order) most will forever lose their place in the world and start being treated as half-human at best. I have been there! Through the neverending grace of God: I had my parents, brother (and friends in Durban) who all continue to help me stand.

Bob Dylan is one of my favorite singers when it comes to social injustices, and even just music in general. He once sang asking, “how many years can some people exist. Before they’re allowed to be free? Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head. And pretend that he just doesn’t see?” The struggle and injustices towards foreign nationales is witnessed by all… unfortunately if someone came from another, geographically part of the world: we are programmed to have an “us-versus-them” attitude (sadly… this holds strong, even when “they” have all “their” paperwork in order). During the celebrations of “Woody Guthrie At 100”, American singer; Rosanne Cash is seen here singing (one of the songs Woody was known for) – I ain’t got no home:

I first knew Woody Guthrie’s music through repeated mentions by Bob Dylan and I was left drawn to Woody, him being someone loved by one of my favorite singers. Without saying too much, I now want you to move on to the next track by Fatoumata Diawara. Brace yourself because she is a multiple Grammy Award nominee, Malian actress, singer-songwriter. Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa. It is the eighth-largest country in Africa (8th largest out of 54 countries).

Our last entry in this article is a song by the late and great; Lucky Dube. He was a legendary South African reggae artist. His song titled “Victims” should not put you down, take strength from it as you listen to the audio, while reading the lyrics below. There is a part where he says, “We slash and kill our own brothers” those words ring loud for an African-skinned Zimbabwean like me, as I hear and see violent acts against African-skinned foreigners VS African-skinned citizens of countries like South Africa. Lucky Dube then goes on to say, “Knowing that already they are the victims of the situations. Still licking wounds from brutality! Still licking wounds from humiliation!” Every South African knows about the political violence and abuse of power in countries like Zimbabwe, but that does not stop the rage against documented (and undocumented) Zimbabwean foreigners who are still licking their wounds from socio-economic-brutality within their own country of birth.

Ok, I went on longer than I intended to on that last passage. Once again, here is “Victims” by Lucky Dube (Victims is not my favorite word, but that’s the name of the song.. soooo… yea’). Thank you so much for reading this blog post! As the audio play, scroll down for the lyrics.

Songs conceived and composed
by Lucky Dube

Recorded at Downtown Studios,
Johannesburg, and Bop Studios,
Mmabatho

Recording and Mix Engineer: Dave Segal

Produced by Richard Siluma and Simon Law

Victims

I didn’t know she was crying
until now as she turns
to look at me
She said boy o’ boy
I said what, she said
Boy o’ boy you bring tears to my
eyes

Bob Marley said
How long shall they kill our
prophets
while we stand aside and look
But little did he know that
eventually the enemy
will stand aside and look
while we slash and kill
our own brothers

Knowing that already
they are the victims of the
situations
Still licking wounds
from brutality,
Still licking wounds
from humiliation
She said these words and he
wrinckles on her face became
perfect trails for the tears and
she said;

CHORUS:
We are the victims everywhere
We’ve got double trouble
everytime
She took me outside
in the church yard
showed me graves on the ground
and she said;
There lies a man who fought
for equality,
There lies a boy who died
in the struggle
Can all these heroes
die in vain
While we slash and kill
our own brothers
Knowing that already
they are victims
of the situations
Still licking wounds
from brutality
Still licking wounds
from humiliation

(chorus till fade)

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