SOX – Come Back Home (1988)

Eric Frisch / Red Fish
EFL 1012
Producer: Proff Rythem
Engineers: Les Goode, Darryl Heilbrunn, David Moloele

Sotho singer Sox had a smash hit in 1988 with “Don’t Call me Le Ja Pere”, (literally “Don’t Call Me a Horse Eater”). The song’s about a guy from Maukeng (Kroonstad), recently arrive in Soweto, pissed off at being derided because of his rural origins. The lyrics speak for themselves: "Hey you girls! / Don’t think I am stupid/ Just because I come from Maukeng/ Well I know its not like Soweto/ Whenever you see me/You pass me, ignore me/ I wanna know why, you call me le ja pere/ No no no no no no! Hey you girls..” To which the ladies chorus in Sesotho, “I’m a horse eater/ I’m a Mosotho, yo!/ I’m from Maukeng". In the second verse, his desparation mounts: "Please ladies/ Don’t push me too far/ Because if I fight, no one can stop me/ I will fight until tomorrow/ I don’t like to fight/ Stop calling me le ja pere." 

The song bears no trace of a rural sound; it’s pure Soweto jive from the synthesizers to the drumbeat, instrumentation that emphasizes the song’s message - a simple demand for respect and a reminder to black listeners to cast off stereotypes of each other in order to overcome white oppression.  Besides this and a remix, others songs on the six-track album include the title track “Come Back Home,” a heartfelt call to a long-lost brother, “Siyafana,” "Mukokoto” (stolen car) and “Madlisa”. Sox’s signature brand of satirical humour got past state censors and forced his audience to question themselves. There is anger in the songs despite the at times comic tone - Sox’s own small size and rough voice helped him create the overall effect he wanted. His backing band, Public Affairs, deliver a catchy disco backbeat, that made sure it appealed to a young audience.