Monday, December 22, 2014

What makes you go on?

Something Inside So Strong is a 1987 single written and recorded by Labi Siffre inspired by a documentary on Apartheid South Africa in which he saw white soldiers filmed shooting at black civilians in the street. More than 10 cover versions of the song have been done to date with the song popular carrying a political and sociological thread as does much of Siffre’s lyrics and poetry. It won an Award for best song musically and lyrically, and has been used in Amnesty International campaigns, television advertisements as well as Alice Walker's film against female genital mutilation. What magnifies the message in the song is the fact that Labi shot the music video from the exact prison cell where Nelson Mandela spent 27 years behind bars giving it a stronger and deeper meaning and perspective. As one listens to each word in this song and places themselves in that prison cell and imagines the clock ticking in seconds, minutes and hours, as days turn to months and years to decades, one cannot resist to stop, reflect and imagine that there could be no better way to justify why Mandela managed to survive behind bars for so long. There was indeed something inside him stronger which the prison cell could not enclose, crush or break, and it was bubbling under even though the outer man was slowly ageing and dying. Being in a prison cell is not always physically being behind bars. Sometimes it is a mental state in which one is seemingly free but instead bound and constrained by their view of what they can achieve in life. We all have something inside us so strong and it is this that drives us to wake up everyday and do the things we do, even though we may feel like not getting up sometimes. That which is inside us pushing us to still aspire, dream, hope and push on. To still try again after failing and hope for a better day and different result. What barriers have been built in your path and what prison cell are you sitting in today? Do not despair if you do not yet see light at the end of that tunnel. Just remember that you have something inside you so strong which will sustain you until you see that light someday. As a new year dawns in just over a week, let that which is inside you drive you to do more in the coming year. Here is wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy new year. Sing along to Labi's song below and know that you are going to do it anyway.

The higher you build your barriers the taller I become
The farther you take my rights away the faster I will run
You can deny me, you can decide to turn your face away
No matter 'cause there's

Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Though you're doing me wrong so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone
Oh, no, something inside so strong
there's something inside so strong

The more you refuse to hear my voice the louder I will sing
You hide behind walls of Jericho, your lies will come tumbling
Deny my place in time, you squander wealth that's mine
My light will shine so brightly, it will blind you
Brothers and sisters
When they insist we're just good not enough
When we know better
Just look 'em in the eyes and say
I'm gonna do it anyway