Monday, February 18, 2013


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 Zwaziland, 
From all the hinterland of Southern and Central Africa. 
This train carries young and old, African men 
Who are conscripted to come and work on contract 
In the golden mineral mines of Johannesburg 
And its surrounding metropolis, sixteen hours or more a day 
For almost no pay. 
Deep, deep, deep down in the belly of the earth 
When they are digging and drilling that shiny mighty evasive stone, 
Or when they dish that mish mesh mush food 
into their iron plates with the iron shank. 
Or when they sit in their stinking, funky, filthy, 
Flea-ridden barracks and hostels. 
They think about the loved ones they may never see again 
Because they might have already been forcibly removed 
From where they last left them 
Or wantonly murdered in the dead of night 
By roving, marauding gangs of no particular origin, 
We are told. they think about their lands, their herds 
That were taken away from them 
With a gun, bomb, teargas and the cannon. 
And when they hear that Choo-Choo train 
They always curse, curse the coal train, 
The coal train that brought them to Johannesburg.

Hugh Masekela


  1. Sorry to point out, but the download looks a bit strange: it's "minus" 4722 bytes long... I never knew bytes could go negative :)

  2. ups!seems that packupload invented the negative bytes!
    its well above zero now. thank you .