Gimme Hope Jo’Anna

In July of 1989, I took an aeroplane for the first time and left my country of birth, South Africa. I took the trip with my uncle and godfather, my sister, and my cousin. The four of us had planned an adventure with my uncle taking the lead. The destination? Mauritius – the island where my dad, my uncle and many relatives had been born. For him it was a trip back to his birthplace; for the three of us it was a trip to discover the place where one of our parents had been born.

The 10 days we spent together on the island were magical. We had a lot of fun and made many memories. I got to spend time with my godfather (whom I loved a lot), and I got to know my cousin even better. It was a time before I graduated from university as a teacher, and a time when my sister had been working for a year. We spent moments on the beach, shopped in Port Louis, and met my cousin’s grandfather who took us to so many places in his old car (which broke down a few times!).

For our holiday, my uncle had booked a bungalow which was near one of the big hotels along the Mauritian beach. At night we would head over to the hotel to drink cocktails and dance to the music played by the DJ. At that time there was a song we loved to dance to – a song that was not being played in South Africa at that time.

While dancing to Gimme Hope Jo’Anna by Eddy Grant under the warm Mauritian skies, I could not understand why such a catchy tune was not being played on South African radios – especially as his other songs were being aired. It was only a few years later when I was able to listen carefully to the lyrics, did I understand why it had been banned from the country. It was a song against Apartheid, the government of South Africa, and the people who ran Johannesburg.

Knowing the meaning of the song’s lyrics, however, does not change the pleasant memories I have of the time I first heard and danced to the song.

Do you remember hearing this song? Where was the first time you listened to it?

(This post is linked to Hugh’s 51 weeks: 51 favourite songs from the past. Join us with a song of your own.)

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A Reggae Memory

While growing up there were not many raggae songs I listened to. There was one artist, though, whose songs I enjoyed: Eddie Grant. I remember singing (especially the chorus!) and dancing to the song I don’t wanna dance: 

There was one song, however, that was not played over the airwaves in South Africa because of its lyrical content: Give me hope Joanna. The song refers to the Apartheid regime that was in place at that time in South Africa (Joanna being a reference to Johannesburg). I first heard the song when I was in Mauritius and we were dancing in the evening at the hotel. We had so much fun dancing to the rhythm and, of course, singing the chorus. What was ironic is that most of the guests at the hotel were South Africans – the very people that the government did not want to hear the song.

This Eddie Grant song holds many memories for me: the time spent with people I love in Mauritius, the fun we had dancing the nights away while we were there, the parties we had at home with family while singing and moving to this beat (of course we brought a copy of this song home).

A-Z blogging challengeDo you have any reggae memories?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Frizz’s A-Z Challenge. This week R has been tagged)