One song that is fast becoming a hit in this country is From Cape-to-Cairo – AZANIA. The song is taking the country by storm. It is enduring more than the recently popular Jerusalema, as if many are now realising their real home is Azania. It is a song that is sung with the same passion and intensity as was felt with Senzeni Na? Those who lived through the 1970s and 1980s will recall the conscientising appeal of Senzeni Na.
Thanks to the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania – the very PAC that many were beginning to write off, many outside the Africanist fold are gaining a new consciousness. Not surprising, because a number of songs composed by the PAC adherents have been covered by some individuals and organisations. They have been made so popular that it is quickly forgotten where they originated. Take for instance, Mshini Wam’, which was composed by APLA forces in Tanzania, which seems to have been former President JG Zuma’s war-cry and trade mark!
He improvises: “Hayi, wen’uyangbambhezela, Khawuleth’umshini wam’…” – No, don’t delay me, just give me my machine (gun!)
Not long ago, a video appeared of a young girl who sang the Cape-to-Cairo song with such a beautiful voice that one almost hardly notices the infusion of Freedom Charter in it. She sings, “I-Azania Izwe Lethu! Solithatha nge-Freedom Charter…” – Azania is our land, we are going to get it through Freedom Charter!”
Of course, as we well know, Freedom Charter and Azania cannot be said in one breath; they are naturally diametrically opposed to each other. One claim makes a total claim and return of the dispossessed land to Africans, while the other strives to have it remain in the hands of the dispossessor, and further deceive everyone that it “belongs to all who live in it.” Thus the two repel each other.
But it doesn’t matter what the young lady says. That is something that can be addressed and corrected without effort. She cannot just be dismissed with “O, here she goes, messing the meaningful and beautiful song with this nonsense…” With a little education, all these notions about Freedom Charter can be changed. No one should be allowed to kill the enthusiasm and passion in her.
Then the other day the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi belted the song withmuch gusto, even asking his backing followers to sing louder because he was not hearing them. He kept on saying, “Anginizwa” — I don’t hear you, as they emphasised, “AZANIA, AZANIA.” So incensed, Ndlozi was closing his eyes when the lines demanded, “From Cape-to-Cairo”, and just pointing everywhere as if those cities could be anywhere he was pointing. That, too, didn’t matter, as long as the message was clear. And one wouldn’t even pay attention to the fact that his improvisation doesn’t make sense.
This morning I woke up to another video of a young man wearing a NUMSA T-shirt and an ANC KANGA singing the song in its original form – no gimmick, no sugar-coating. Seeing him proudly singing the song, his dark complexion, reminded me of what we are told Anton Mzwakhe Lembede, regarded as Father of African Nationalism in this land, once said, “I am as dark as the soil of Afrika.” Thus emphasising his love for the land that moulded, and blew life into him.
Hence, it is in paying homage to Afrika, our land, and the idea that brings us together as a people and celebrate our being and all that we are all about. Again, it does not say at which occasion the song was belted; it might as well have been at the recent alliance rally, but the young cadre, didn’t mince his words when he said the land AZANIA will only be returned through a bazooka. As it must be that we shouldn’t hesitate to proclaim, as does the PAC: IZWE Lethu! — Our land! Ironically, it was the ANC which once proclaimed “Mayibuye I-Afrika! A conviction that organisation has made a round-about-turn from and bought into the fake land-sharing idea encapsulated in the Freedom Charter, and now in the Constitution. Could it be that the realisation that the idea has sold out and betrayed the African revolution has taken root in the broad church?
After all, people cannot out of the blue just sing a song for the sake of singing it. It is in the culture of every revolution that people will gain consciousness from the truth. Indeed, even for the Azanian revolution, nothing trumps the truth that this land cannot be shared with those who continuously seek the extermination of the Africans. That truth permeates even those sectors of the population where it wouldn’t at any point have been expected to penetrate.
This indicates that the PAC and other like-minded organisations are being vindicated, that they are not racist warmongers as they had been made to be seen. Yet the song merely emphasises what every African is feeling about the state of affairs in their land, that they go hungry in the land of their forefathers, where there is wealth but they cannot access and enjoy it.
Indeed, it has been the unhidden truth about the African colonial struggles, that no oppressor can willingly and voluntarily give back the stolen land. The claim in the song, claiming heritage from Cape-to-Cairo, as Mangaliso Sobukwe taught us, is a truth that cannot be escaped by anyone. Denial of this fact can only turn us into fools of ourselves. But it also makes fools of those who have tried to impose the idea that Africans will always be contented with the continued dispossession and the status quo. In this, unfortunately aided by those who are contented with and bent on betraying the African struggle. Indeed, it was Sobukwe who warned in the 1950s that there is a section of African leadership that would not want to see Africans truly free. And the past 27 years has been proof to that effect!
There is obviously a whole lot of frustration among Africans. It has never been a secret that Africans want their land back – that their lives have not improved for the better since the so-called post-apartheid dispensation. It is clear that even those Africans who had believed the lie of the land belonging to the oppressor and the oppressed, dispossessed and dispossessor, are now making serious soul-searching, and reconsidering their position on the national question. To see a member of the ANC alliance singing and dancing to the From-Cape-to-Cairo – AZANIA song can only say that it is about time that truth comes to bear.
The recent move by AFRI-Forum to try to argue for the autonomy of Western Cape Province is just one way of showing that the section of landowners will stop at nothing to balkanise this country. This time it is not Bantustanisation, but the creation of enclaves of ‘white’ provinces aimed at consolidating ‘white’ power and monopolisation of the economy. Notwithstanding that the ‘whites’ already own 95% of the economy. The creation of Orania is one example of ‘white’ superiority that was allowed to prevail by the current government.
The song, in some way, represents a yearning for a new identity which will banish the current colour categorisations, so we could move to a humanity that identifies with Africa. It is not an unjustifiable thing for African youth to seek to have a real and true identity. Africa and consciousness about the true cause of Africa will surely give us that identity. It is an identity that brings us together, to identify and resolve issues that make our heritage controversial.
It is interesting too, to observe the enthusiasm with which the youth regard the song. It wouldn’t be surprising if the song became a new anthem. The current national anthem has become a denigration of African aspirations by beneficiaries of colonialism and apartheid, yet it raises the heroism of the colonialists, while claiming our African heritage as theirs.
Indeed, it is inconceivable and deceptive that Africans can be expected to forget what the true meaning of the inserted versions is, even devoid of their original themes.
While the incorporation of the two stanzas of the Afrikaner and English national anthems into the original Nkosi Sikekel’iAfrika was meant to be a vehicle of unity, it ironically serves to further divide us. The social gap between the possessor and the dispossessed is widened by the economic inequalities caused primarily by the usurpation of land by the former, transferred to the present-day inheritors.
The Cape-to-Cairo song brings among the youth (as well as the older generation) the realisation that for us to really appreciate and enjoy a free sunshine, we must go back to basics – that is what makes sense under the circumstances. If at all the song brings a renewed consciousness, it might as well become a new anthem that rallies us under the same banner as was anticipated by the founding fathers of African nationalism. For it assures us of a complete heritage – land – without which we cannot convincingly and successfully argue for any celebration of heritage.
It is hard to say whether this song could in reality become a new national anthem. We can only surmise from its being made the premier song in gatherings of young African people who are passionate about but also worried that their inheritance is being stolen daily.
From Cape-to-Cairo is a reality that cannot go unnoticed. For it is not an empty, vain proclamation. It is a song, like Sobukwe once said, of an Afrika reborn, and Afrika rejuvenated! It is no accident that the young ones are the ones displaying a preface to that rejuvenation…