We have not had a Musical Friday in a long while, so today I am having the great pleasure of bringing you a lovely and touching song named Weeping. Dan Heymann wrote the words and music of "Weeping" during the mid-1980's, when he was an unwilling soldier, drafted into the army of South Africa's white-supremacist regime.
The first recording of "Weeping" to be played on the radio (the 1987 version by South African band Bright Blue) included a refrain from the anthem of the African National Congress. Today that tune (Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika) is South Africa's National Anthem, but at the time, it was under a "ban" by the Apartheid government. In the event, the radio DJ's had a field-day with "Weeping", and it spent two weeks at Number One. The man referred to in the Weeping lyrics is the late P. W. Botha, one of the last white leaders of South Africa before the end of the Apartheid regime; The demon he could never face in the Weeping lyrics refers to the aspirations of the oppressed majority, while the Weeping lyrics also refer to the neighbors, literally the journalists from other countries who were monitoring the situation in South Africa. That pretty much sums up the metaphorical content of the Weeping lyrics.
"Weeping" is an anti-apartheid protest song written by Dan Heymann in the mid-1980s, and first recorded by Heymann and the South African group Bright Blue in 1987. The song was a pointed response to the 1985 State of Emergency declared by President P.W. Botha, which resulted in "large-scale killings of unarmed and peaceful demonstrators against racial discrimination and segregation in the Union of South Africa.” Defiantly, the song incorporated part of the melody to Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, the anthem of the anti-apartheid African National Congress. "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" was banned at the time, and inclusion of even the melody violated the law. Today, "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" is part of the national anthem of South Africa. The formerly illegal lyrics -- "Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika Maluphakanyisw' uphondo lwayo" -- are now often sung when "Weeping" is recorded or performed. In 1999, "Weeping" was voted “All-time favorite South African Song” by the readers of the South African Rock Encyclopedia.
WEEPINGWritten by Dan Heymann
(Copyright Bright Blue)
I knew a man who lived in fear
It was huge, it was angry, it was drawing near
Behind his house, a secret place
Was the shadow of the demon he could never face
He built a wall of steel and flame
And men with guns, to keep it tame
Then standing back, he made it plain
That the nightmare would never ever rise again
But the fear and the fire and the guns remain
It doesn’t matter now
It’s over anyhow
He tells the world that it’s sleeping
But as the night came round
I heard its lonely sound
It wasn’t roaring, it was weeping
And then one day the neighbors came
They were curious to know about the smoke and flame
They stood around outside the wall
But of course there was nothing to be heard at all
"My friends," he said, "We’ve reached our goal
The threat is under firm control
As long as peace and order reign
I’ll be damned if I can see a reason to explain
Why the fear and the fire and the guns remain
And as Josh Groban once presented it, this is a song about peace, change and hope. A song that should be listened often. A song that should make us think of the sorrows of the people and the world. Sorrows that we do not know of, do not wish to know of, sorrows that we overlook. We point fingers when it comes to blaming but we never look at us and what we can do for the world. Where should change start taking place if not in us? How do YOU wish to change the world? What did YOU do this week to make the world a better place?
A LadyBug Who Wants To Change The World