Album review
Tribute To The Gugulethu 7
Vivian Jones & Azania Band
Imperial House
October 17 - 2004

Tracking list

  1. Intro
  2. Blackman
  3. Warrior
  4. Live Up Now
  5. King Pharaoh - Black Dillinjah
  6. Rastafari Is Great - Ras Judah Xhalisa
  7. African Daughter
  8. Take You There - Zuko
  9. Dance With U
  10. Hold On Tight - Ras Judah Xhalisa
  11. My Love Is with Xoliswa Tom
  12. Crazy - Zuko
  13. Dongen with Ras Thabo
  14. Rasta Forever Strong with Black Dillinjah
  15. Brighter Days with Ras Vuyo
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 3/4

Gugulethu (meaning 'our pride' in Xhosa) is one of the oldest black townships in South Africa. It was established in 1958 as a result of the migrant labor system. Gugulethu grew as the number of migrant workers from the Transkei increased and Langa became too small. The people were allocated rooms in the hostels designed in zones. In these hostels three men had to share a tiny single room. The hostels were for men only, no wives were allowed to visit their husbands. Women were left behind in the former Transkei and Ciskei homelands. Poverty, oppression and overcrowding characterized life in Gugulethu under the apartheid rule. The schools were not equipped and under funded. The housing lacked both electricity and proper plumbing up until the 1980's. On 3 March 1986, seven young men were ambushed in a roadblock set up by police in NY -1 Street. They left home one morning for work and they never returned. Those seven men turned up on television that night dead. The news labelled them terrorists that had engaged in a gun battle with the SAP and their mothers had to watch their dead children being dragged on the ground in front of the world to see. The Gugulethu Seven as they are known, is one of the most callous examples of security forces operations.
The seven brutally murdered men were all Rastafarian who loved reggae music. It's through their beloved music that they are paid tribute. With the Gugulethu Seven in their hearts Vivian Jones and South African Azania Band created the songs for this album full of consciousness. The final result is truly worth of hearing as artists and players of instruments involved in this project deliver an inspired and at times moving collection of tunes. Impressive and excellent efforts are the awesome reality tune "Warrior", the wonderful "Live Up Now", and "African Daughter", all delivered by Vivian Jones. Matching cuts are Black Dillinjah's "King Pharaoh", Ras Judah Xhalisa's "Rastafari Is Great", the outstanding combination song by Vivian Jones & Ras Thabo entitled "Dongen", and the positive "Brighter Days", performed by Vivian Jones & Ras Vuyo. With the remaining tracks being solid deliveries as well, this cd is definitely worthwhile checking out.
All tracks were recorded at Ghetto Sound Recording Studio, Gugulethu, Cape Town, South Africa.

Teacher & Mr. T.