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Top 20 Anti-Apartheid Reggae Songs

Although Mandela's  past as a Terrorist Commie has been exposed albeit Forgotten and ignored by the Mainstream media, there is one aspect of his legacy that has been triumphant - the ending of Apartheid. It’s been over 20 years since apartheid (literally meaning ‘separateness’) died in South Africa. That evil regime which systematically separated people along race lines began in 1948 by the ruling Afikaner National Party and ran until June 5, 1991 when South Africa’s last white president FW de Klerk declared the end of apartheid rule. Between those dates a number of Reggae albums and songs with strong anti-apartheid messages were released, bringing worldwide exposure to the oppressive regime ruling South Africa. Therefor it is necessary to recognize Reggae music as one of the main reasons why apartheid has thankfully become a horrible thing from the past. 

In honor of this overlooked historical fact, I'm presenting a list of crucial reggae anthems that deal with apartheid and social injustices in South Africa. Reggae has a strong tradition there and South Africa even gave birth to one of the greatest and most respected Non-Jamaican reggae artist ever - Lucky Dube. So light your spliffs and take a musical trip back to an era and place we should all be grateful our children will never have to experience.


Alpha Blondy - Apartheid is Nazism

Blondy is a West African reggae singer from the Ivory Coast that has been singing about the shitstem for more than four decades


Peter Tosh - Anti-Apartheid

Rare dub plate from 1977 showcasing Peter Tosh playing the Melodica, a dub instrument made famous by Augustus Pablo. The riddim was produced by Bunny Wailer and features Aston "Family Man" Barrett on Bass.


Junior Murvin - Apartheid

Murvin, from Errol Flynn's former Jamaican stomping grounds in Port Antonio, has an unmistakably sweet high pitched voice and a certifiable classic jam under his belt - "Police and Thieves" a song produced by Lee "Scratch" Perry that shot to #23 on the U.K. Charts and inspired a cover by iconic punk band the Clash. 
Murvin even produced a whole album dedicated to ending Apartheid. 


Empress Akelia - Apartheid is Wrong

Whoa! Rare tune from the Empress. Unfortunately it's the only tune from her besides the B-side "Raggamuffin Girl". This lost 12" from the 80's is staggering and it's a shame that we didn't get to hear more from Empress Akelia because she freakin' kills it...


Israel Vibration - Don't want Apartheid

Israel Vibration are probably the most slept-on reggae group ever. They have been burning down Babylon musically for more than forty years after originally meeting at a polio rehabilitation clinic in Kingston when they were kids. 


Lucky Dube - Come together as One 


Johnny Osbourne - Smash Down Apartheid

Osbourne's smooth voice has been a staple of reggae since the 70's and his resume is impressive, he's worked with everywhere from Studio One to King Jammy's. 


Mighty Diamonds - Apartheid

The legendary Mighty Diamonds are a roots reggae band from the notorious Trench Town. Their harmonies and spaced out production are legendary as exemplified in the track below...


Frankie Jones - Free South Africa

Another Kingston bred reggae artist, Jones had a string of minor hits in the late 70's and early 80's before disappearing into obscurity.


Sonny Okosun - Fire in Soweto

Sonny was a reggae artist from Nigeria and one of Africa's best and most important musicians. 


UB40 - Sing our own Song


Bob Marley - War

Until the philosophy which hold one race superior 
And another 
Is finally 
And permanently 
And abandoned - 
Everywhere is war - 
Me say war. 

That until there no longer 
First class and second class citizens of any nation 
Until the colour of a man's skin 
Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes - 
Me say war. 

That until the basic human rights 
Are equally guaranteed to all, 
Without regard to race - 
Dis a war. 

That until that day 
The dream of lasting peace, 
World citizenship 
Rule of international morality 
Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, 
But never attained - 
Now everywhere is war - war. 

And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes 
That hold our brothers in Angola, 
In Mozambique, 
South Africa 
Sub-human bondage 
Have been toppled, 
Utterly destroyed - 
Well, everywhere is war - 
Me say war. 

War in the east, 
War in the west, 
War up north, 
War down south - 
War - war - 
Rumours of war. 
And until that day, 
The African continent 
Will not know peace, 
We Africans will fight - we find it necessary - 
And we know we shall win 
As we are confident 
In the victory 

Of good over evil - 
Good over evil, yeah! 


Jacob Miller - Tenement Yard

Jacob "Killer" Miller was the most popular reggae artist in Jamaica during the late 70's before his untimely death from a car accident. His legacy endures thanks to the success his former band Inner Circle has had with the hit "Bad Boys" The iconic theme song to the classic Television show Cops. Kinda ironic that Miller was singing about the police state in South Africa and twenty years later his band provided the soundtrack for the burgeoning police state in America.


The Twinkle Brothers - Free Africa

Real life brothers Norman and Ralston Grant formed this irie roots band in the 60's and have been jamming ever since. They have recorded several albums and songs with strong anti-apartheid messages and themes.


Hugh Mundell - Africa must be Free by 1983

Another tragic figure, Mundell was a reggae prodigy that recorded this classic album while only sixteen years old! Sadly, 1983 wouldn't be the year Apartheid ended but was the year the 21 year old Mundell met his fate, gunned down for no reason while sitting in a car next to rising reggae star Junior Reid on Grant's Pen Ave in Kingston, Jamaica. 

Augustus Pablo honored his fallen friend with a Dub album based on Hugh's 1976 classic album.


Tappa Zukie - Tribute to Steve Biko

Zukie, another Kingston reggae pioneer sings about famous South African non-violent activist Steve Biko, who was unjustly tortured to death by the South African Police.


Youssou N'Dour - Nelson Mandela

Hailing from Senegal, N'Dour is one of Africa's most famous singers and percussionists. In 1985 he organized a concert to free Mandela which resulted in this song and album named after the famous prisoner. He's also seeking to become President of Senegal in hopes of changing the oppressive regime currently in place.


Don Carlos - Deeply Concerned

Carlos was a member of the legendary reggae group Black Uhuru before branching out into a solo career in the 80's. A roots artist from the Waterhouse district of West Kingston, a famous hotbed of reggae history, Carlos sings directly to the oppressed everywhere.


Eddy Grant - Gimme Hope Joanna

Electric Avenue this is not! Eddy, originally from Guyana but grew up London released this anti-apartheid gem right after going mainstream. His 'Electric' was a worldwide hit that sold over a million copies and he was given a prime single release on the Romancing the Stone Soundtrack which yielded another top twenty hit. But instead of selling out Eddy surprised everyone with an awesome anti-apartheid song that pissed off the South African Government so bad they banned it!! Eddy Grant you rock sir...


Black Uhuru - Freedom Fighters


The Congos - Apartheid

A Jamaican roots band from the 70's, the Congos have been fighting  for equal rights since their very first album.


Peter Tosh -  Apartheid and Fight Against Apartheid

Peter Tosh is the hardest and toughest reggae singer of all time. He wrote and sang endlessly about poverty, justice for the poor and the African struggle. Originally released on his landmark album "Equal Rights" and re-recorded and released a decade later on his final alum "No Nuclear War" The oppressive apartheid rule in South Africa was heavy in his heart up until the day he was murdered on 9/11 1987.  Tosh was granted a posthumous grammy for the album although the Illuminatti was surely glad to see him go. For the death of Tosh ended roots reggae as a viable commercial artform in the United States. 

Bonus Documentary about the grammy award winning South African singer and civil rights activist Miriam Makeba. Nicknamed "Mama Africa" She was the first artist from Africa to popularize African music internationally. Makeba campaigned against the racist South African system until the government responded by revoking her passport in 1960 and her citizenship and right of return in 1963. As the apartheid system crumbled she returned home for the first time in 1990. Makeba died of a heart attack on 9 November 2008

in 1985 he organized a concert for the release of Nelson Mandela which resulted in this album and the track"Nelson Mandela".

This post first appeared on Xaviant Haze, please read the originial post: here

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Top 20 Anti-Apartheid Reggae Songs


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