Artículo | 09 Sep, 2021

The song "Inzulu" - stories and voices of environmental defenders

Excerpt from the special issue of the CEESP publication Policy Matters, focusing on the stories and voices of environmental defenders

The song “Inzulu” is a metaphorical interpretation, linking environmental destruction carried out by extractive industries with struggles of defenders, and highlights the tragic assassinations of activists, providing a deeper appreciation of the struggles defenders face and a clear image of what they stand for. In their lyrics, Soundz of the South calls for us all to “be the change we seek to see”.

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Photo: TBD

The spirit of the resistance of environmental defenders is captured in a music video featuring the song, “Inzulu” by the anarchist, activist, hip-hop/poetry collective from South Africa, Soundz of the South. An excerpt from the song follows:

“They raping and killing mother nature

Are we in danger

This is our home, but we treated like strangers

We not waiting on the Angels and God to come and save us

Its only we take a stand

Rise and defend ourselves

Fight for our children’s legacy

It’s a fight to the death

Till we break free from the chains”.

About “Inzulu”

The song is a metaphorical interpretation of the link between the ecological destruction, the destruction of sustainable livelihoods, and political assassinations of environmental defenders and activists. Inzulu is Zulu/Xhosa for Deep, here used in meaning the deepening wound and perpetual pain as result of neocolonialism, neo-apartheid environmentally destructive policies of the DA and the ANC.

The song is inspired by the defensive socio-economic and ecological struggles of ordinary people and black working class communities of Southern Africa. In this song and video, “Inzulu”, we connect past struggles for liberation, that are captured in the walls of Community House with contemporary struggles against exploitation of farm workers in the Winelands of Western Cape, the devastating living conditions and political violence in thr Hostels of Glebaland, in KwaZulu Natal outside Durban.

In the first verse, the song makes a connection between forced removals and destruction of livelihoods, past and current, with ongoing violence and politically motivated killings in the Hostels of Glebelands in Umlazi, outside Durban.

Verse two and three talk about the experience of environmental Defenders of a rural village of eMakhasaneni, who fought bravely against Mining and land theft. A project that was backed by politicians, the state, local elite and a big multinational corporation.

We remember Bazooka, an anti-mining activist who was murdered in the Eastern Cape, We celebrate the resistance of the rural activists of eMakasaneni against forced removals and destruction of livelihoods, more importantly to acknowledge the tides and efforts of many other unsung (s)heroes of the struggle and the resilience of the people of Southern Africa.