The Lion sleeps tonight

I’m a little emotional right now so I’m going to sound like a giant vat of cheese, but I was researching music that played a role in the resistance during the South African apartheid, and I found the Lion Sleeps Tonight by the Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Although its originally a song by another South African artist Solomon Linda long before Ladysmith, or Disney popularized it but I think this version is gorgeous. Youtube obviously takes away sound quality, and I know this is sort of tangential in the kinds of conversations we’ve been having but I was moved and I thought I’d share it with people who’d appreciate it.

I think its made much more poignant by the ‘legend’ behind the song: during coloniolism, and the otherwise dark time around it, mothers told their children stories of a lion that had not left but simply slept in the jungle, and would return. This wasn’t just a children’s fairy-tale: the story spoke to the lives of the people under all those colonies, no longer masters of themselves, their lands, their rightful homes, their dignity and their humanity.

Sometimes, I feel the myth catches on and during disheartening moments in class the question as to what will change things drastically is always there; omniscient and looming. I think if those sort of moments come again, it’ll be comforting to imagine the lion is only sleeping, and that its time to wake up is coming.

Speaking of music, heres something else thats a little crazy. Stevie Wonder wrote I just called to say I love you, for Nelson Mandela when the latter was in prison. I definitely didn’t expect that but its changed the way I hear the song now…Its sort of like reading the caption under a picture, only in this case I’m kind of glad I did cause nothing in the vestiges of my small brain could have found the context.


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