Durban - Award-winning KwaZulu-Natal singer-songwriter Don Clarke, who has written hits for PJ Powers and Leon Schuster, has teamed up with local rapper and friend Thembiso Sithole (aka Special Care) to jointly compose and record Zuma Must Fall, a song that has attracted much interest since hitting the internet last week.
By Monday the video of the song, featuring the two singers in the studio as well as various protest marching footage, had had more than 14 000 views, and this was increasing at the rate of about 2 000 hits a day, said Clarke, who owns a music studio in Underberg.
“YouTube analytics indicates that the video is being watched in countries all over the world,” said Clarke.
The Mercury spoke to ANC national spokesman Zizi Kodwa on Monday who said they had never heard the song.
The Mercury sent him the YouTube link and the lyrics, but he said he had not received the text message and could not comment.
An e-mail and a phone call was also made to Presidency spokesman Bongani Majola, who did not respond.
Clarke, who won the songwriting competition for SABC’s Bafana Bafana song for the 2010 Soccer World Cup and also wrote the official Splashy Fen song, Hey-Na-Splashy, said they wrote Zuma Must Fall “out of concern”.
“I’m not a terribly political creature, but as is my wont, when moved by anything I take up my guitar. So the song got made.
“There is no question that before the bus crashes completely, we must remove the driver – and assess the damage from there,” said Clarke, whose hit songs include Hotline’s Sanbonani.
He said it would not have been prudent to hammer out a Eurocentric song.
“That would most certainly have been construed as just another white man’s bleat, so I turned to my friend and long-time collaborator Thembiso. He and I have worked together for many years, mainly on Leon Schuster’s movies, but he was also the lead singer on my song The Long Walk is Over, which won The Great American Song Contest in 2014.
Sithole said he had worked with Clarke on many productions and when they discussed the state of the current government leadership and what South Africans were subjected to, he felt a need to be part of the song.
“We had to express our feelings and I wrote lyrics which would tell people why we were saying Zuma must fall. I voted for Zuma and had to explain why I now want him out,” he said.
Sithole said for a long time he had observed how South Africa lacked in many areas, where the government had to act, but never did.
“Even in the past, Madiba promised us many things like free education, but how things are turning out is not what South Africans had been promised. The current leadership is now focused on feeding their families. We love Zuma and I voted for him, but I am no longer happy about him.”
The rapper said when he went to the studio to record the song he said he was not scared of criticism from Zuma supporters. He said his views were not personal and were not against the ANC but the current leadership.
Clarke and Sithole recorded Zuma Must Fall and posted the video on YouTube on January 11.
“I gave him some melodies to sing, and he supplied Zulu lyrics, plus an impassioned rap.
“There was no major excitement about the song in the studio, but a definite sense that we needed to do it.”
Before Sithole left the studio, Clarke’s wife, Wendy, videoed Sithole singing, using her cellphone, and she later used this to knock together a “lyric video” using a basic video program.
“I quickly mixed and mastered the track, and within a day or so we posted the video on YouTube. We had no idea that it would be so well received,” said Clarke.
“I am very pleased about this – not because the song is proving popular, but because it carries what I believe is a vital message.
“I avoided the use of radical or hateful lyrics in the song because I do not believe they were necessary.
“I have nothing against Zuma personally In fact, I think he looks like quite a nice guy who would probably be better at a party than in one, but the fact remains that he is a hopelessly ill-equipped president who threatens to do enormous damage to this beautiful land.
Zuma Must Fall lyrics:
My beloved country I can feel your pain
(It’s like that)
I can see the writing on the wall
Down in the valleys and across the plain
I can hear your people call
This land is dying in the hands of a man
(It’s like that)
Who has no answer at all
(He does not know)
We must not wait until there’s nothing left to lose
(We need help)
With our backs against the wall
Zuma must fall
We need somebody who can help us
Zuma must fall
We need somebody we can trust.
The government must change because
we vote for them.
Last night I dreamed I saw Madiba’s eyes
Gazing sad upon this place
(Yes, it’s really painful)
Ten million voices echoed through the night
(What must we do?)
As a tear ran down his face
It’s us who are voting for him
Yes! Us! We voted to put him in parliament
But today we are struggling
But today there are no job opportunities
Our brothers and sisters have got
diplomas and degrees but no job
Yet … it is us who voted for him
Now that the sun is sinking slowly in the sky
And your dreams are calling to you
But the life you dream of is still far, far away
There is but one thing we can do…