Hugh Masekela Performs Stimela


There is a train that comes from Namibia and Malawi
There is a train that comes from Zambia and Zimbabwe
There is a train that comes from Angola and Mozambique
From Lesotho, from Botswana, from Swaziland
From all the hinterlands of Southern and Central Africa.
This train carries young and old men who are conscripted to come and work on contract
In the Gold and Mineral mines of Johannesburg and the surrounding provinces and Metropolis
16 hours or more a day, for almost no pay.
Deeeeeeep, deeeeeep deeeeep, deeeeeep, deeeeeep, deeeep
Deeeep,deeep, deep, down in the belly of the earth
When they’re digging and drilling for that shiny mighty evasive stone.
Or when they dish their mish-mash-mush food
Into their iron plates
With their iron shovel.
Or when they sit in their stinky, filthy, funky, flee-ridden barracks and hostels
And they think about their loved ones they may never see again,
Because they might have been forcibly removed from where they last left them
Or winterly murdered in the herd of night
By raving and marauding gangs of no particular origin – so we are told!
They think about their land and their herds that were taken away from them,
With the gun and the canon,
With the collaborator and the dog
And the teargas and the poison.
With the Bomb and the gasoline,
And when they hear that chu-chu train –
Smoking and-a-pushing and-a-climbing
And-a-hustling and-a-crying and-a-moaning
And-a-toting and and-a-steaming and-a-crying
And-a-moaning and-a-pushing and-a-grumbling
And-a-moaning and-a-climbing and-a-crying
And-a-screaming and-a-squishing
They always cuss, and they curse the coal train,
The coal train that brought them to Johannesburg.


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