On Sunday night (11 July 2010) in a spectacular closing ceremony, and somewhat less spectacular final game, the World Cup drew to a close. The event, which took over South Africa’s every waking moment, showed that despite all the doubts and pessimism that dominated public discourse worldwide about our abilities we made this an unforgettable World Cup.
Unsurprisingly, as the end approached many South Africans were left chewing over the question of what comes after the World Cup, and how we can learn lessons from the last month to take us forward as a nation. Here at the Red Card Campaign headquarters we’re also taking stock of the past month and what it’s meant: while we’ve kept things updated on this blog, the real success of the campaign has been its reach from rural and urban communities across South Africa, to protest marches in Germany, to intense dialogue between different sectors of society. In five weeks we’ve had 4,000 blog hits, 900 ‘listens’ to the Officially Offside album online, exceptional panels, films and exhibitions at the People’s Justice Fan Centre, media coverage ranging from Der Spiegel to the Mail and Guardian to Al Jazeera, not to mention a reparations workshop and a march by the groups from Indwe and the East Rand.
As we contemplate the future for South Africa post-World Cup fever, we’re also exploring the various avenues the Red Card Campaign can take after our intensive launch period. What we will definitely be doing is keeping this blog up-to-date with the latest news about the South Africa apartheid litigation; ongoing struggles for reparations and redress for the Khulumani victims and survivors; and the broader global struggle for justice and corporate accountability. We’ll also be promoting the Officially Offside CD, and holding events around the country to keep the momentum going!
So long World Cup…Aluta Continua Red Card Campaign!
Having only been launched last Friday at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, and yesterday online, the Officially Offside album has already been noticed by the media here in the Eastern Cape.
On Friday, the Herald and Daily Dispatch both covered stories about Creamy Ewok Baggends, whose first track on the album ‘Shame on the Game’ has captured people’s imaginations worldwide. Check out the story on Ewok here.
And getting some well-deserved credit for all his hardwork to make the dream of this album a reality, today’s Daily Dispatch is carrying a story on Xolile ‘X’ Madinda (the brains behind the operation) and how the whole thing came together so beautifully.
Big ups to X and to all the artists on the album.
Listen to the Music. Join the Movement. Demand Corporate Accountability.
Today we can officially announce the launch of the amazing album in support of the Khulumani Red Card Campaign: Officially Offside! Produced in South Africa, but including artists from 14 countries, this album is a global collaboration of social justice minded hip hop artists who are all calling for corporate accountability.
Grahamstown-based group Defboyz coordinated the project and write the following:
“This compilation was compiled to show solidarity with the Khulumani Support Group legal action against several multi-national corporations who supplied the apartheid regime with the military equipment it used to suppress the majority of South Africa’s people. The core message of this CD is that social justice should never be subordinated in the pursuit of profits. Global society is confronted with a serious dilemma – our personal and national economic goals very often contradict basic human rights in other parts of the world. Should we throw our hands up in despair, or stick our heads in the sand? No, we must constantly strive to transform human society and human systems such that they sustain life and freedom. The artists represented on this CD come from all over the world (South Africa, Ghana, Congo, Togo, Uganda, Mozambique, Iran, the UK, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Chile, the US and Canada) and in a variety of languages – put one message across – that the powers that be must be held accountable for their actions! Peace.”
Check the album below, or on our Music 4 Justice page:
The album was launched at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival on Friday, 26 June, with a line-up of artists including Wordsuntame (track 21) and half of Blk Sonshine, Masauko Chipembere.
Follow-up spoken word gigs to promote the album will be held at Equilibrium on Friday and Saturday 2 & 3 July.
The phenomenal opening song of the Khulumani Red Card Campaign CD – Shame on the Game – by Creamy Ewok Baggends was premiered at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown on Sunday 20 June.
The word-crunching, mind-stretching, shadow image, video-concertina’d eye-conic Ewok-iain show finished off with a final kick at corporate exploitation with his Shame on the Game composition.
Together Ewok, Khulumani and the other international artists featured on the album are ready to take on the corporates – calling for justice and accountability.
Khulumani Support Group thanks Ewok and all the other cool artists who have worked towards publicising the SA Apartheid (Khulumani) Litigation.
Catch the rest of Ewok’s shows in Grahamstown at the St. Andrew’s school hall at the following times:
Wed 23 June @ 20:00; Thurs 24 June @ 12:00; Fri 25 June @ 22:00; Sun 27 June @21:30 and Mon 28 June @18:00.
K’naan’s evocative lyrics for Waving Flag start with the phrase: “When I get older, I will be stronger/They’ll call me freedom just like a waving flag.”
Many Khulumani members are much older now, but they’re not stronger –many are quite frail – and they’re not experiencing a waving flag of freedom, but ongoing poverty.
Unlike the sanitised Coca-Cola/World Cup version of the song, the original lyrics to K’Naan’s song, which is a reflection on his own childhood in war-torn Somalia, go on: “so many wars settling scores/bringing us promises, leaving us poor/i heard them say love is the way/love is the answer that’s what they say/but look how they treat us/make us believers make we/fight their battles then they deceive us . . .”
K’maan’s reflection on the broken promises made to his generation could well be sung about the promises made to Khulumani members – they or their families were part of the freedom struggle against apartheid. Promises were made about reparations and that perpetrators who had not received amnesty would be prosecuted. The reparations were not adequate and not what the TRC recommended. Government broke that promise. Government has taken so long to start prosecutions against the perpetrators, that many of these crimes have now “expired”. Only murder does not expire as a crime. Another broken promise of Government. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) should have initiated these prosecutions in consultation with the victims of the crimes immediately after the closure of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). They did not, and now they may have delayed too long.
When K’naan sings that “i heard them say love is the way/love is the answer that’s what they say”, in South Africa what they said was “the TRC is the answer”. But many people couldn’t access the TRC, and those that did, have been profoundly let down – not in the least by it’s inability to ensure government followed up and secured adequate justice, tangible reparations and corporate accountability.
For most Khulumani members, those who went to the TRC and those who didn’t, the waving flag of freedom hasn’t “opened happiness” (as Coca Cola may have you believe) but has been only a small victory in the ongoing, everyday struggles for justice. Aluta continua!
Check this out – an awesome video for EWOK’s track!
As we ramp up activities before the Friday launch of the amazing CD put together by the awesome crew here in SA, and featuring artists from around the world, we’ve just been given a sneak peek at some of the tracks…so ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the first of our fantastic artists:
Iain EWOK Robinson a.k.a. Creamy Ewok Baggends is a 28yr old Hip Hop flavoured Spoken Word activist out of “Poison City” Durban, South Africa. Having established himself on the SA scene as a young freestyle battle rapper, and later as a Spoken Word SLAM champion, his career through Hip Hop Culture and professional theatre has led him to discover bigger battles to be fought. As an award winning writer and performer, as a published poet and recording artist, and as a professional aerosol artist, he has established himself as a South African Hip Hop head, for life.
EWOK has produced the fantastic track Shame on the Game (click the link to listen) for our campaign.
Check out some of the epic lyrics:
“I’m not talking to the people in the stands on the side / the people that’ll need a little hope in their lives / i’m not talking to the kids who wanna see the stars / wanna see a future without death or jail bars / i’m not talking to the coach / i’m not talking to the team / i’m talking to the money men behind the screen / i’m trying to stop another dummy move getting past / i’m looking for some answers to some questions I ask / like who built the bullets who built the guns / they aimed at his back while Hector runs / who built the Casspirs that rolled in the street when they had the people pushed to the edge of defeat / who made the machine who makes the device / who plays for profit and who pays the price / who built the system and who supplied it / who knows the truth and who denies it / it’s over / done with it / no more lies / we’re playing with our balls while they’re playing with our lives / they come disguised like they’re playing for our side but the minute that it’s finished they’re the first to vai / ayo / on to the next one like Jika / they built the weapon and we pulled the trigger / the pictures bigger than the game that’s played / they sold back then and they’re still getting paid.”
For those of you heading to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, EWOK will be performing his new multimedia show “IainEWOKrobinson is LIVE!”…the first show is on 20 June at St Andrews Hall, and tickets are discounted for the kickoff performance.