Terry Pheto

Terry Pheto

It is the very liquid soul
That oozes from these pores
To light the sidewalks from our magic
Beyond the distant shores
It is the joy from which the laughter of the dying is drawn
Style is in the essence of my people

We walk tall in every creed and shape and language known to man
We walk tall and touch the gods with every step upon this land
We walk tall into our futures burning our memories into the sand
Because style is in the bodies of my people

And when we move to any groove
We shake the earth around the sun
Ask for the tricks that dip our hips
We’ll tell you rhythm makes blood run back to the source
African booties know the answers
And when I’m done I’ll tell you
Style is in the movements of my people

And though we breathe in acid jazz
Our voices rise in melody
To sing through blues where sorrows ride the waves of tranquillity
In a house of music funky is what we’re going to be
So be the bass in my mbaqanga
Be my tongue as I ululate
Move the feet that move the world to Kwaito beats at any rate
And trip not when hip-hop lifts you above mundane things
Because the birds have been singing that we’re too fly not to have wings

But they’ll tell you that we have no hope
Lazy bastards dying from HIV
That this bloody continent’s a joke
Destroyed by wars and apathy
That money rules the world
My people merely a casualty
To forces much more slick
To shadows with more power
To titans in the faces of which we can only cower
But we know the force that rules the world
Derives its power from our dance
When my people express their beauty
The whole world goes into a trance
When we create we shape the planet
It’s only through voice that we have a chance
Because style is in the music of my people

So wear your colours with pride
Sing your spirits unplugged
We’ll use the hands that built our art
To build ourselves with love
Always remember that you carry your style in your blood
Because style is in the survival of my people…

By: Lebo Mashile


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