Radiodiffusion Internasionaal Annexe


Traffic Lights

Kashiri Kambo

Rhodesia was an unrecognized state that existed between 1965 and 1979. The landlocked country bordered South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. The state, which is named after Cecil John Rhodes, was governed by a predominantly white minority government until 1979.

Throughout its history, Rhodesia continued to be referred to by the British, who did not recognize the state, as “Southern Rhodesia“. Before 1964, the name “Rhodesia” had referred to the territory of modern Zambia and Zimbabwe; however, when the former colony of Northern Rhodesia renamed itself Zambia on independence in 1964, the colony of Southern Rhodesia changed its name to simply “Rhodesia”. However, the change had not yet been officially ratified when Rhodesia declared itself independent, and as a result, the British Government continued to refer to the breakaway colony as “Southern Rhodesia” throughout its existence, a stance it maintained regarding the June–December 1979 successor state of Zimbabwe Rhodesia. Therefore, when Zimbabwe Rhodesia returned to colonial status from December 1979 to April 1980, it was as “Southern Rhodesia”, which, according to Britain, it had never ceased to be called. Southern Rhodesia subsequently gained international recognition of its independence in April 1980, when it became the independent Republic of Zimbabwe.

I have not been able to find anything about The Traffic Lights. The single was recorded by Crispen Matema. Matema was a well known producer who recorded Thomas Mapfumo as well as Mapfumo’s band – the Hallelujah Chicken Run Band. If you any further information about The Traffic Lights, please contact me or leave a comment.

Catalog number MBE 13 on Mberi. No release date listed.

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2 Comments so far
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Thanks for the music. Zimbabwe is one of the truly sad stories in modern African history. Hopefully things are on the mend there with the power-sharing agreement that the Southern African Development Community facilitated.

Comment by icastico

I spent a bit of time in South Africa as a teenager in the ’80s. I remember being quite impressed with the new wave scene. Dog Detachment, Asylum Kids, and Peach were especially good at subtle protest lyrics and adding a bush flavour to their otherwise very English music.

Rhodesia…a foolishly contrived excuse for a country, friendless and mercenary…was desperate for S.A.’s approval. Since decent companies wouldn’t import the American or British hits, Rhodesia hired studio bands to “counterfeit” the most popular songs. I’ve heard “My Sharona”, several Police songs, “Grey Day” by Madness”, and various weedy metal abortions. I’ve always wondered about this additional mercenary activity; the music wouldn’t suit anyone over age 10, but there’s a story in there for someone to discover.

Comment by Brian C. Miller




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