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Lusaka, SA...Tracy Chapman echoes here

 That song: Stuart Cryer of Sudbury recalls his days with the ANC

Don't you know,

They're talkin' 'bout a revolution;

Sounds like a whisper.

Poor people gonna rise up; and get their share.

 Poor people gonna rise up; and take what's theirs

Tracy Chapman's song was my constant soundtrack in 1988. I was a community activist as well as a teacher of video at the local college. I was back in Sudbury, Ontario, but I was longing to return to Lusaka, Zambia. I had worked in Lusaka as the trainer for the Video Unit of the ANC (African National Congress) for 10 months in '86 and '87. Life with the ANC comrades in exile had been a challenging, but rewarding experience. The Canadian NGO, CUSO, negotiated my return.

Music was an integral part of life in Lusaka. Even though Paul Simon's Graceland album caused initial dismay in the ANC ranks, because tracks were recorded inside South Africa during the cultural boycott, Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes with Ladysmith Black Mambazo echoed throughout Lusaka and township Mbaqanga music was everywhere.

But I couldn't wait to share Tracy Chapman's anthem with the comrades in "Culture" when I landed back in Lusaka. And wouldn't you know it? They were already listening to it. Talkin''bout a Revolution, an anthem for our times. Tracy's message of hope will always remind me of our fight for freedom in Southern Africa, and of the faces of my closest comrades, who are all still active, back inside the "new" South Africa, trying to make it a better place.

Keep up the important reportage ... Stuart Cryer, Sudbury


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