I am going to play Sun City

Suck it “We are the world”  for my money the best superstar, cause anthem was and is “Ain’t going to play Sun City.”  It has terrific energy and even though the haircuts look very ’80’s I think it holds up well after all these years.

It was also one of things that started to make me aware of apartheid. Sun City was a white only resort smack dab in an impoverished black homeland. ( ironically the guy who created it went on to do a casino on Indian land in the US….hmmm)

This is one of the awkward times when I have to admit the age I really am.  I was no child when the divestment issue was going on in the ’80’s.  I was sitting in and got arrested.  It’s easy to see things as black and white when you are a teenager.  Youth can be insufferable in their righteousness, but with Mandela’s passing I find myself glad I was not detached.

I would not have been asked to play Sun City and I doubt Run -DMC would have been either (Frank Sinatra did, ouch).  My sister and I use to change the lyrics to “ain’t going to play Culver City.” And put in our own hometown references like this:

flashing red light on Overland

lines at Alpha Beta I can’t understand

Sorrento Market isn’t open late

We are driving to the Marina, just to get a bite,

Say it, I I I I, ain’t going play Culver City-tay.. ahhh

But, the song created by Steven Van Zandt did the job. (full story here) Apartheid wasn’t cool and only unhip people participated in it.  Love the references to Reagan in the video, the whole thing screams my youth. Some notables who are gone  performed on it, like Lou Reed, Joey Ramone and Miles Davis. There is a lot of “wait, who is that guy?  Oh, yeah Peter Wolf.”

On the occasion of Mandela’s passing I think of the other greats like Martin Luther King or a nameless protestor sentenced to death after  Tiananmen square who did not get to grow old and continue to seek liberty for all. We are fortunate that Mandela was able to fullfill his mission. To survive prison is a feat, to come out and not want to knock heads when you do is inspiring.

This is about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  Nelson Mandela dancing to some Irish music and these two dudes start dancing with him.  A rainbow world rejoicing in song.

So, I’m going to be cranking “Sun City” because it’s a good song, reminds me that sometimes it’s good to be naive and think you can effect change.  Because you can. Mandela would want us to dance.  Dance together.


5 thoughts on “I am going to play Sun City

  1. omg I forgot about that song. early mtv. I read the links and interesting that so many media outlets wanted nothing to do with it, yet were all over the soppy “we are the world”. How can you not be moved by how much the world has changed in just, what, 20 years? oh, 30.

  2. Oh Daph, thanks for taking me back! That was a genuinely good song. And you write beautifully about Mandela!
    I remember you well in your divestment days…how about a rousing round of “Biko”? Or even more appropriately “Free Nelson Mandela”? May he rest in peace.

  3. I love this post! It’s funny and sad and eulogistic all at once. I went to a vigil at the South African Embassy here in DC Thursday nite, but had totally forgotten about this song. (I had the album, it totally rocked.) Thanks for all the memories!

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