On Reggae and its Decoding of Our Society: Note to DJ Fireman (Part 1)

I salute you my good friend, DJ Fireman. It’s a warm Wednesday afternoon here at the Kololi beach where I am relishing my daily motivational walk. My steps are buoyed by inspiring music played last night on your weekly FireZone radio programme on Capital fm. Indeed reggae music has played a major role in my coming of age as a writer and public figure.

And when you played Bob Marley’s “One Drop” last night, you took me more than a decade and half down memory lane to the formative years when I rented a one-bedroom apartment in Banjulunding. Reggae has been a regular part of my motivational toolkit; and on many nights I would play (by cassette tape) and keep rewinding the song “One Drop” so that the following verses would seep into my subconscious mind as armour for current and future battles:

(I know Jah would never let us down)

Oh, no! Oh, no! Oh, no!

They made their world so hard (so hard):

Every day we got to keep on fighting (fighting);

They made their world so hard (so hard):

Every day the people are dyin’ (dying), yeah!

(It dread, dread) For hunger (dread, dread) and starvation

(dread, dread, dread, dread),

Lamentation (dread dread),

But read it in Revelation (dread, dread, dread, dread):

You’ll find your redemption

And then I would switch to what I consider the most inspiring lines ever dropped by Bob Marley, in his classic “Ride Natty Ride”:

But the stone that the builder refuse

Shall be the head cornerstone,

And no matter what game they play,

Eh, we got something they could never take away;

We got something they could never take away:

And it’s the fire (fire), it’s the fire (fire)

That’s burning down everything:

Feel that fire (fire), the fire (fire);

Only the birds have their wings, yeah!

So my brother and star DJ, you can imagine how easy it is for some of us to ride through their perceived storms because of our psychological and spiritual foundations granted by the Most Gracious Allah (Sunhaanahu wa ta’aalaa).

But back to your inspiring session last night which I had the pleasure to follow on Facebook with the presence of my favourite Sarahulleh man Musa Sissoho, anytime I tune in to your show I remember an essay I wrote some years ago inspired by another classic of Bob Marley’s “Rastaman  Vibration” because I believe that our current times require a dose of those kinds of songs that inspire hope and a positive mental attitude. Alas I cannot find that essay in my storage machines.

So as I relax at the beach this afternoon, I am thinking of doing another version of the same essay on positive vibrations but alas, it’s another song of Bob’s that forces its way into my mental waves.

Since I cannot push it away, let me just share a few lines from this song, “Rat Race”, for truly it captures and decodes the unpleasant tidings in our small town that the people of Kiang fondly call Kambia.

Take a listen my DJ, and then I shall be back on this beat with some philosophical renderings of the perceived meanings in these inspired rhythms. Check this out Mr. selecta:

When the cat’s away,

The mice will play.

Political voilence fill ya city, ye-ah!

Don’t involve Rasta in your say say;

Rasta don’t work for no C.I.A.

Rat race, rat race, rat race! Rat race, I’m sayin’:

When you think is peace and safety:

A sudden destruction.

Collective security for surety, ye-ah!

Don’t forget your history;

Know your destiny:

In the abundance of water,

The fool is thirsty.

Rat race, rat race, rat race!

Yours in the Service of Humanity,

Momodou Sabally

Kambia la Kalaa

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