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Gil Scott-Heron: Johannesburg

Gil Scott-Heron's 1975 hit Johannesburg on the album From South Africa to South Carolina was inspired by Nelson Mandela, then imprisoned on Robben Island and unknown to most of the world.

Gil Scott-Heron

Lyrics

Johannesburg

What's the word?
Tell me brother, have you heard
From Johannesburg?
What's the word?
Sister/woman have you heard
From Johannesburg?
They tell me that our brothers over there
Are defyin' the Man
We don't know for sure because the news we get
Is unreliable, man
Well I hate it when the blood starts flowin'
But I'm glad to see resistance growin'
Somebody tell me what's the word?
Tell me brother, have you heard
From Johannesburg?
They tell me that our brothers over there
Refuse to work in the mines
They may not get the news but they need to know
We're on their side
Now sometimes distance brings misunderstanding
But deep in my heart I'm demanding
Somebody tell me what's the word?
Sister/woman have you heard
'Bout Johannesburg?
I know that their strugglin' over there
Ain't gonna free me
But we all need to be strugglin'
If we're gonna be free.
Don't you wanna be free?