Why the prophetic message in Reggae music is relevant to PNG today

Before the internet, mobile phones, and mp3 downloads,  Papindo in Lae  sold cassette tapes for K2.50.  It was a fortune we  were  willing to part with at least every month when we  had enough cash left over from lunch money. 
Music was precious.  There was no other way to get it except at Papindo, Wan Jin Wah and Chin H Meen.  They made a killing from school children like me. 
We didn’t just buy any kind of music.  The choices were specific.  We were attracted to the music first then the message. We didn’t really understand  what was said  but the words  mental slavery,  apartheid, oppression,  Babylon and  freedom   filtered through.  Reggae had a  message for the young.
It resonated and it didn’t.  We were a county free of  the fetters of colonialism. A brave new world.  Who was oppressing us?   But here was Bob Marley,  a dead  prophet  looking decades into  the future talking about a Papua New Guinea we could not yet  foresee. 
“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our mind.”  
He was talking about slavery of the past present and the future. 
Then came Lucky  Dube in the 1990s, a young south African we could identify with from a country that looked something like ours.  He talked about “apartheid…” Hang on… what was that again? Dube influenced a generation of Papua New Guinea kids thousands of  miles away who  read up on racism in South Africa and “a system called apartheid”  as sung by the legendary Eddie Grant in  Johanna.
We learned about South Africa,  Mandela and Steven Biko.  We learned that there was a place called Soweto.   Dube sang about the unity of races and his style of reggae music was copied and adopted and used by various artists. 
Reggae music is now more relevant today as it was in the past.  With an education system that disempowers the young coupled with technology that enslaves the mind,  Marley’s message of  emancipation from mental slavery  rings true in the in the second decade of the  21st century. 
We live in  an age where many  people accept and do not question or pursue personal  acquisition of knowledge.  The systems that govern  us teach us to be passive technicians instead of users of knowledge.   It discourages us from finding our roots  and our strengths. 
Ziggy,  a prominent member of the  second Marley generation,  encourages people to find their strength in the distant past. Find their roots  and then the solutions to the problems of the present and the future. 
Ziggy Marley’s  song,  Black my story,  is about indigenous knowledge lost or stolen through both physical and psychological  oppression. 

0 comments on “Why the prophetic message in Reggae music is relevant to PNG today

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: