hugh-masekela Here we have a song that has probably been played by every single presenter of Afrikan Connexions. A South African epic, written by the great Hugh Masekela, it is about the suffering and exploitation of South African mines and their workers. The lyrics here are clear but the real pleasure and skill of the song is in the musical arrangement. From Masekela’s always amazing trumpet to the speeding, pounding drums, to the slow chug of the bass. You can feel the weight of the coal, the broken workers and the train itself – Stimela – tearing through the entire nation.

Check out the interview with Hugh Masekela done in the Skid Row studios back in the 80s.

This is the classic, live version of the track along with the crackle of the old vinyl version we have.

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The Stories

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The Guests

Over the years, Afrika Connexions has interviewed some of Africa’s most prominent figures. Musicians such as Hugh Masekela and Ladysmith Black Mambazo appeared on the program, as did performers and actors such as Kenyan, WanjikeWa Kiarie and South African, John Kani. Notable political guests included the Women’s Coordinator of the PAC, Maude Jackson; Patricia De Lille, who was the mayor of Cape… Read more...
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Program Highlights

Over the last 25 years, Afrika Connexions has produced some amazing radio programs including interviews with musicians, artists, politicians, activists from overseas as well as within the African community in Sydney. We are currently going through the huge archive of material from the show and putting it online here for a whole new audience as well as those people who might want to remember how… Read more...
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The Hugh Masekela Interview – 1987

In 1987, Neville Legg interviewed then-exiled South African musician, Hugh Masekela. Performing with Paul Simon on his epic Graceland World Tour, Masekela spoke with Neville about his youth under Apartheid, his musical aspirations and intentions, and the implications of the cultural boycott on South African musicians. He also talks about the criticism of his involvement in the Graceland tour. We… Read more...
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The News

An important part of Afrika Connexions, from its inception, was broadcasting news on the situation in South Africa. The need for a different type of news was made necessary by the mainstream media’s superficial coverage of the struggle and its penchant for presenting stories about the hunger and poverty of Africa – a model that still prevails today. The presenters of Afrika Connexions recognised… Read more...
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Maxwell Nemadzivhanani

This interview first went on air in 1985 as part of an Afrika Connexions news segment, which was at 1pm every Sunday. Maxwell Nemadzivhanani was virtually a member of the Afrikan Connexions team, although his primary role was chief representative of the Pan African Congress of Azania. He travelled extensively in the position, attending meetings of the Non Aligned Movement as well as meetings of… Read more...
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African Dawn – An Interview with Wanjiku Wa Kiarie

Early listeners of Afrika Connexions will remember the music of The African Dawn. A beautiful mix of politics, poetry and traditional instruments, African Dawn represented a growing Pan African movement, which had established itself in London rallying alongside the liberation struggles around the world. In 1986, Kenyan actress and poet Wanjiku Wa Kiarie performed her play Black Woman at the South… Read more...
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South African John Kani on Dreaming Under Apartheid

One of South Africa's most famous actors talks with Paul Thusi in 1994. 'It’s a pleasure to be with you today, and I would like to say it is a great honour for me to tell you I have a real live native here at the studio with me from South Africa by the name of John Kani. But I am bound by custom and tradition not to address him by John Kani, since he saw the sun before I did. So customarily I am… Read more...

The Music

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U Shaka – Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba, or Mama Africa as she was known, was a prolific artist and anti-apartheid…
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Azania – African Dawn

African Dawn was a London-based ensemble made up of people from all over Africa and the…
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Ava Sati Va Lomu – Mingas and Orchestra…

Born in Mozambique, Mingas began singing at a young age in her church. Throughout the…
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We Want a Leader – Sonny Okosuns

Sonny Okosuns (sometimes spelt without the ‘s’) was born in Nigeria in 1947. His reggae…
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Stimela – Hugh Masekela

Here we have a song that has probably been played by every single presenter of Afrikan…
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Zombie – Fela

Written and recorded in 1976, the song Zombie is the musical manifestation of Fela's…
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House of Exile – Lucky Dube

South Africa’s high-selling artist in the 1980s and 1990s, Lucky Dube is easily one of…
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Apartheid – Peter Tosh

There's a story that Peter Tosh learnt to play the guitar as a young boy by watching a…
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Coffin for Head of State – Fela Kuti

In 1977, the Nigerian Army raided the Kalakuta Republic, Fela's large commune. Fela was…
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Malcolm X – Miriam Makeba

If you are a longtime listener of Afrikan Connexions, then this song will definitely…