UK: Anti-Apartheid anthem is actually about gay rights, singer reveals

British musician Labi Siffre has revealed that he wrote famous Anti-Apartheid anthem ‘Something Inside So Strong’ about his experiences as a gay man. The singer rose to fame in the 1970s, and is known for penning ‘(Something Inside) So Strong’ while apartheid was in effect in South Africa.

The song was adopted by the anti-apartheid movement as a rallying anthem, for its lyrics including: “The farther you take my rights away the faster I will run/ You can deny me, you can decide to turn your face away.”

However, the singer revealed to the Radio 4’s Today Show that the song was actually inspired by his experiences as a gay men. He was asked: “That particular song is seen very much as an Anti-Apartheid anthem – is that the way we should see it?”

Siffre, 70, responded: “As soon as I’d written the first two lines, ‘the higher you build your barriers the taller I become’, I realised with a shock that I was writing about my life as a homosexual.
“From knowing I was gay when I was four, long before I’d even heard the words homophobia and homosexuality, and then went through the societal abuse of being told that as a black man and as a homosexual, I was a wicked evil disgusting pervert. Read more