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On the Couch: A song for

From car songs to an anthem for fed-up South Africans.

From car songs to an anthem for fed-up South Africans.

Published Apr 9, 2022


Most families have them ‒ a repertoire of car songs.

My very young son and I had a few that we belted out on our daily drives.

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Neither of us knew many of the lyrics, but we loved the ones that were catchy, bouncy and loud.

“The wheels on the bus go round and round” was but a brief distraction for a tired, grumpy, hungry little boy.

We had a particular favourite when we were stuck in traffic: “we like to move it move it”, accompanied by violent head rocking to make the car go faster.

But our best one was a song we only knew a few words to.

As it turned out with a little Googling, we pretty much did know all the words.

We just howled: “I get knocked down, but I get up again, ain’t no one gonna keep me down” over and over and over. Which is pretty much the song. Google taught me there were also a couple of verses, but they were short and lacked heart, and the chorus was the song.

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It was called Tubthumping (I had no idea) by Chumbawumba. For real.

It also reminded me that tubthumping means people expressing themselves loudly or noisily. The song was apparently written for one of the group’s neighbours who stumbled home from the pub every night, many sheets to the wind, and even though he fell over many many times, finally found his front door.

It was meant as a reminder of the resilience of ordinary people.

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Frankly, I’m siek ‘n sat ‘n gatvol of being resilient. A resilient nation. Resilient food security. Covid resilience. And politics.

It’s all very well being resilient when there are actual plans to move forward. Like action to start mending the wounds of our past, acknowledging white privilege and discrimination, racism, hatred, fear and ignorance of “the other”. You know, that thing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was meant to facilitate. Like really wanting to own that Rainbow.

Or to conquer the patriarchy and so-called masculinity that breeds the monsters who violate our women, children, LGBTQ+ people and any other person, as the mood takes them.

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We specially need a resilient justice system where people who steal from us don’t get to keep their spoils, actually go to jail, and are not redeployed to shove our noses in their ongoing criminality.

A concrete, visible, just application of the law ‒ a cleansing of the filthy dealings and the cretins responsible for stealing our country’s present and future ‒ would make us resilient and happy.

In fact, half our resilience would not be needed because, if we gathered the stolen loot, we’d all have enough: for education that makes us useful citizens who can actually find work, security to keep the monsters out of our daily lives, professional health care, proper homes, healthy shopping baskets, reliable public transport (which would also make our planet more resilient), responsible and smart governance where those elected could focus on the jobs that need doing, not on brawling for position.

The only thing that works is the taxperson, and that’s mainly on the little resilient okes.

Even resilience can be knocked down. But a warning: Saffers are never going to be kept down. It’s time for us to get back up and thump a few tubs.

  • Lindsay Slogrove is the news editor.

The Independent on Saturday

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