Who Bought The Land – Album by Ras Themba Melaninman
Genre: Reggae Dub
The last we heard from our Reggae artists on topical issues like the question of Land (which remains largely in the minority hands of Whites) was with back in 2016 with Black Dillinger’s Letter to Thuli Madonsela, the dubious Public Protector at that time. This is a public discourse that has been a hot topic in South Africa lately.
Dub Poet Ras Themba Melaninman comes back with his sixth studio album titled “Who bought the land” with its militant cover that bears important dates and facts about the land issue in South Africa. It states:
1913 : Land Grab …Free Land for all Europeans
1955: Freedom Charter (statement of core principles of the SA Congress Alliance)…Fooled us to believe that we will take back the land
1991: Codesa (Negotiations to End Apartheid) …Sold Out to Willing Buyer Willing Seller.
The question that Ras Themba poses is Who then bought the land, because as it stands right now, the rightful owners are landless and those 1991 negotiations did not end Apartheid but entrenched it under the guise of ‘foreign investments and investors who are running the country like their multi national corporation. Whether the album addresses the issue or provide the answer is less relevant right now, what is important is that Reggae is regaining its true and natural stand of questioning the status quo and the powers that be. With no fear or favour.
Ras Themba has always been consistent with all his message in his music starting with his 2015 award nominated album Ndzilo wa Mavivi which included sublime tracks like African Dream. He is relentless in calling out injustices of the Establishment towards ordinary folks. The track Who bought the land is an oral history of what really happened in South Africa and to its indigenous populace and he had made sure to include the chant of the South African struggle songs, now referred to as Toyi Toyi. The same track get a dub treatment in the extended version Who Dub the land. Other titles include: Mutabaruka was Right, Rise Again Afrika, Mali and Travelling. The rest of the tracks are delivered in his native tongue Xitsonga and earned him a nomination at the the Giyani Community Radio (GCR)’s Xitsonga Cultural Music Awards 2019 (XCMA), in the category Best Xitsonga Reggae which came after the Release of his album Who bought The Land. However, the song which got nominated is from his 2014 release Ndzilo Wa Mavivi, song called Reggae Ya Xitsonga. Who bought the Land is an ode to Africa’s struggles against white supremacy and give positive encouraging message that Africa’s Children must stand up tall and be proud.
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