I was 10 years old back in 2000, living with my grandparents on the outskirts of the city of Durban in Ntuzuma. My parents were killed a few years back and we lived in intense poverty. Many of our people were still recovering from the atrocities of the Apartheid Regime.
Our streets had no electricity, forget about the taps and water, we had none. We would walk long distances to charge or refill car batteries that we used to power the radio and the television sets.
Freshly Ground released their Doo-be-doo song. It instantly became a hit. It became a second national anthem. It was still in the early years of our young democracy. The song was played daily on all major radio stations. I was still a ‘pikinini’ then, as my late grandfather would call me. Doo-be-doo-be-doo compelled people to talk about the dark past as well as the bright future.
I could still see in my mind my grandparents dancing in their mud one-roomed house, beshaya ama-get down and you could see from their eyes the joy and the burning desire for a brighter future.
Each time the song came on the radio my grandfather would jump to his feet and he would tell the tales of the struggle when he was in exile in Brazzaville, Congo, where he was serving as an MKAV of the ANC.
“Sisuka kude nalomzabalazo,” (we’ve come too far with this struggle), he would say.
“Aw suka, bazi ini labo jatidada,” (these kids know nothing), my grandma would respond, indirectly informing us of the situations they persevered through all those years ago during the struggle. They did not need to tell us how joyful and optimistic they were about the new South Africa.
Even at that time our people had nothing, but together they had everything and this particular song soothed their hearts. They did not even beat us in those days, unless you messed with a TV or a radio set when the song was playing. That song was an embodiment and epitome of hope.
Leaders in the political arena often quoted words from the song in their respective addresses to their followers.
The song is still relevant and fresh even today, but sadly the words seem to no longer resonate with the people, they are a long lost hope.
In his final days, my late grandfather would often cry and say: “Sanika izwe izinja,” (we gave the country to dogs). He died in utter anguish and extreme despair. What they had hoped for was never achieved, at least in his view.
I will always remember those days, for once the people were happy, contrary to today.