She’s Got A System They Call Apartheid

One of the songs in the movie Pineapple Express was Electric Avenue an early 80s hit for Eddy Grant. This got me thinking about another hit song for the Guyanese born British reggae artist. When I was about 11 or 12 and having just settled in India, the only connection to music hits and videos were the recorded Top Of The Pops

I got introduced to many bands through these tapes, some of whom I am still a fan of. One of the songs that has stuck in my memory (although I haven’t heard anything of Grant in the last 16 years or so) is Gimme Hope Jo’anna, an anti-apartheid reggae number by Eddy Grant. At the time, age 11, I wasn’t aware of what apartheid was. I wasn’t aware of what racism was or where Johannesburg was! But the song is extremely catchy and it’s only years later that I understood the meaning behind the lyrics. Here’s the video for it.

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“Well Joanna she runs a country, she runs in Durban and the Transvaal.

She makes a few of her people happy, she don’t care about the rest at all.

She got a system they call apartheid, it keeps a brother in subjection.

But maybe pressure will make Joanna see, how everybody could live as one.”

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