Freshlyground’s powerful ‘Banana Republic’ targets ‘Highest in the Land’

Freshlyground’s powerful ‘Banana Republic’ targets ‘Highest in the Land’

Popular South African band Freshlyground, which formed in early 2002 made up of seven talented and diverse musicians from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, released their new video recently…deliberately…on Freedom Day. It’s powerful, provocative and holds no punches in addressing President Jacob Zuma. And it’s called ‘Banana Republic’.

Apart from the lyrics – “All your people dying in freedom / Suffering a profound lack of leading / Are you even there when we call? Are you a human, man? / Full of lies! Can’t believe what I’m hearing” – and visuals of the Guptas and Zuma (a laughing one near the end) – the band made it clear who the song was aimed at in a tweet, saying: “To the highest in the land whose mandate is to serve and protect the people. 2017.”

Lead singer Zolani Mahola told media “We love our country and its people. …With Freedom Day and Workers Day, we are reminded of what we need to hold dear to our hearts, and what we need to protect moving forward…and luckily we are country where we can speak and be heard.”

Referring to politicians, Mahola says actions of the people at the top, do affect those on the ground. She adds that it is the responsibility of the artists and those with public platforms to address political issues. “We want to express ourselves with the view of making a difference.”

The video starts with a definition of “Banana Republic”, a political science term referring to politically unstable states where “certain elites in those countries… benefit themselves at the expense of their country’s population and development”.

Social media users have applauded the band’s bravery and outspokenness. Some messages included “standing up for the voiceless”, “love it”, “thought provoking and inspiring”, “edgy”, “exciting” and “thank you, well done”.

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