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February is African American Heritage Month and WERS AT NIGHT is honoring one artist or one song every day this month that helped contribute to social consciousness, political responsibility, or civil rights. At WERS, we believe that these songs are always bigger than just entertainment; music can be used to drive a movement or even motivate a nation.
Today we will be honoring Peter Tosh’s song “Apartheid.”
Most people are familiar with Peter Tosh because of his famous song “Legalize It” dedicated to Marijuana. His ode to marijuana was very popular but before that he was an original member of the Wailers. Like Bob Marley, he was taken from the musical world too soon. Peter Tosh’s life was ended at the age of 34 when he was killed during a robbery. Aside from his legendary work with the Wailers, Peter Tosh made a song called “Apartheid” on his second album Equal Rights.
“Apartheid” refers to the struggles going on in South Africa dealing with racial segregation. Apartheid reflected white supremacy in a region inhabited by mostly black citizens. Peter Tosh saw that this was a major issue and felt like he needed to speak about it. He sings: “You no build no school for black children. No hospital for black people. You build your prison. You build their camp” This is just a few of the things he touched on in the song. He also sings: “Africa’s for black man. Remember. There certain place in Africa. Black men get no recognition.” For years South Africans were protesting and fighting against this unfair treatment of their people from “outsiders.” Peter Tosh just gave them some more fuel to fight and believe in change.
Join us in honoring this song from Peter Tosh that brought more light to a bad situation in South Africa. Check out the song for “Apartheid” here.