The best anthem for Workers’ Day? ‘Stimela’ – a tale about apartheid’s migrant labour system


What is the ultimate song to celebrate Workers’ Day?

Many will suggest “The Internationale” which had its roots as a poem written in the aftermath of the Paris Commune in 1871 by Eugène Pottier, a transport worker.

  • Andries Bezuidenhout
  • The Conversation

Set to music a few years later, it became the anthem for the wider progressive movement.

It served as the Soviet Union’s anthem after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, making it more closely associated with the communist movement.

Stem 1aBut I would argue that trumpeter Hugh Masekela’s iconic and internationally popular song “Stimela” – the coal train – is perhaps a…

The song speaks about local history and the…

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