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The Curse of the Birds

from AGITPROP by Kalahari Surfers



The Curse of the Birds
(words by Nadia Davids for the Baxter production “Cissie”)
The wind is black
The sea is grey
The colours gone
The houses sway
The trees grow crooked
The churches sigh
We all march to the beat of goodbye.
This is a place of so many shades
Faces I love
Brown baby haze
Can’t think of when the law was more crazed
But something’s happening
in the legal maze
I didn’t see the yellow machine
I didn’t know that houses could scream

What would you have done?
The lady with the words.
Who could have stopped
the curse of the birds?

One day we’ll speak of you but not today
One day we’ll know your name
What will we say?
One day your voice/ your
coat/ /your shape/your words
Will all be familiar
But for now You’re stranger than fiction
Are you a stranger in fiction?
I didn’t know that houses could scream
I didn’t know that land could weep
What would you have done?
The lady with the words.
Who could have stopped
the curse of the birds?

The steps are gone and the voices are quiet
the earth is loud in the midst of silence
the curse of the birds?

----------//----------- Kalahari Surfers
backing vocals: Sarah Jane Mary Hills


from AGITPROP, released May 1, 2012
In 1935 Cissy Gool became president of the National Liberation League for Equality, Land and freedom (NLL) Cissy lead the NLL to join with the African National Congress and Communist Party in 1938 to form Non-European United Front. Cissy Gool was elected its first president. In 1951 she appeared in front of the Cape Town magistrate for holding a public meeting. She was also active in the Franchise Action Council that was the predecessor of the South African Coloured People`s Organisation.

Cissy Gool also served on one of the two most senior structures of the Communist Party which was charged with developing political strategy the Political Bureau. Like other communists after the banning (1950) of the CPSA, in 1954 Cissy Gool was ‘named’ under the Suppression of Communism Act. The South African Communist Party emerged as an underground party at this time. A tireless campaigner against social injustice and racism, she was detained in terms of the state of emergency at the age of 63 and held in solitary confinement in 1960. This was her second arrest, the first being during the passive resistance movement in 1946.

She held her seat on the Cape Town City Council from December 1938 to 1951 representing Cape Town`s District Six and for several years was the only woman serving on the City Council. In 1949, she was elected chairperson of the city council`s health committee. Cissy Gool died in July 1963 at the age of 66. My mother worked in District Six as a drycleaners shop assistant at this time, where I often accompanied her to work. People in the shops and streets could be heard extolling the name of Cissy Gool. For young workers of my generation in the early 1970s her name was still one that was much revered.


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Kalahari Surfers South Africa

Warrick Sony is a South African composer, producer, musician and sound designer.
He is the founder and sole permanent member of the Kalahari Surfers. They made politically radical satirical music in 1980s South Africa.

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