VA - Living Land (1985)

Cat, CAT4069
Producers: Emil Zoghby & Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse (exec: Dawn Lindberg)
Engineer: Ian Martin
Recorded at: EMI Studios

Despite heightening state repression at the time, pop musicians were able to put their weight behind the struggle via the relatively innocuous charity "Operation Hunger", the express aim of which was to fight malnutrition rather than apartheid, but in truth espoused a strong anti-apartheid message, most successfully at the landmark Concert in the Park in Johannesburg. That year the project also released this maxi single, written by Des Lindberg and Zane Cronje, and featuring a large cast of prominent black and white musicians - including The Angels, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Johnny Clegg, Brenda Fassie, Abigail Khubeka, Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse, 'Funky' Masike Mohapi (RIP), Thembi Mtshali, Neville Nash, Hotline's PJ Powers and Alistair Coakley, Barney Rachabane, Tata 'TNT' Sibeko and many others. Recorded in ballad and dance (arranged by Hotstix) versions, with each line sung by a different star, the lyrics predict peace "one day soon"...

"This is our song the hymn of our living land
come on and sing the song of our living land
no matter what colour
no matter what key
no matter what language, sing it with me
for our living land, our giving land
our loving and forgiving living land."

According to the liner notes, "Living Land is an expression of hope, and a gesture of musical solidarity in a time when many in South Africa are in despair. We have all pooled our capital - the only capital we have - our talents, our voices, our imagination, our ears, our energy, our time, and our skills, our minds and our hearts, to produce a statement about life and living in our land, South Africa. We are a microcosm of our society: child, adult, young, old, black, whie, brown, pink and everything in between. We are South Africa. Sing with us, please. It helps!"