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Musician brings message of peace, reconciliat -

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VUSI MAHLASELA: Music was at the height of our struggle. Courageous songs - songs that really make
us understand that we need to get involved. (Vusi Mahlasela Sings).

GENEVIEVE HUSSEY: Vusi Mahlasela's soulful voice was the sound of the anti-apartheid movement in
South Africa during the 1980s. Some have likened him to Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan.

VUSI MAHLASELA: (sings) And while, one dangerous man to four million graves.

GENEVIEVE HUSSEY: The role his songs played in galvanising the nation into action and bringing down
the brutal apartheid regime has been celebrated in the award-winning documentary 'Amandala', which
tells the story of black South African freedom music.

VUSI MAHLASELA: This has been more like a borrowed fire from God, that I can feel that there's a
spirit that enables me to create this music and write.

GENEVIEVE HUSSEY: Vusi Mahlasela has come a long way from his childhood growing up in a poor
township near Pretoria. He never knew his father, lost his mother at an early age and was raised by
his grandmother. He got his first taste of music listening to travelling singers at the speakeasy
his grandmother ran.

VUSI MAHLASELA: At the age of six, seven, I built my first guitar. I used a can and strings, I use
fish nets. When I first heard this man that was singing this a cappella range like the Lady Smith
Black Mambazo, that's when I first started to be in love with song and music, hearing their voices.

GENEVIEVE HUSSEY: As a young man, he was politicised by the 1976 Soweto uprising in which 200 black
South Africans were killed by security forces. As a result, he joined the underground music
movement and began writing his own protest songs.

But he paid a heavy price for his outspokenness.

VUSI MAHLASELA: The most frightening thing is that there were many who disappeared, and I was put
in prison. I also spent three weeks in solitary confinement and I was still a very young man. All
that was like - you couldn't understand why they have to do this to you, but I think that gave me
more reason to fight on.

GENEVIEVE HUSSEY: The end of apartheid was also a new beginning for Vusi Mahlasela. PAUSE Since
then, Mahlasela's career has blossomed. He's won fame in the US and Europe. Universally, he's known
simply as The While his music has mirrored the changes which have taken place in South Africa, he
says it's also important to acknowledge the past.

VUSI MAHLASELA: The youth, they've forgotten where we come from. The good and rights and whatever
privileges that they're enjoying today, people wept for and people died for.

GENEVIEVE HUSSEY: Now on tour in Australia, he believes the message in his music will also resonate
here. Already, he sees parallels between the past plight of black South Africans and the Australian
Aborigines who he's met on this visit.

VUSI MAHLASELA: He welcomed me, said, "I welcome you to our land." They welcomed me to their land
that they don't even own now, and that really tore me up.

GENEVIEVE HUSSEY: The war against apartheid has been won, but Vusi Mahlasela's work continues to
touch not only audiences worldwide but the singer himself.

VUSI MAHLASELA: Some ask that when they die, they want my music to be played when the coffin go
down, something like that happen. When I hear all these things - "Wow, does my music does this?",
and it's like, "I can't believe this is me."

KERRY O'BRIEN: 'The Voice' with Genevieve Hussey. Before we go, a preview of a story we're
preparing for tomorrow night, the desperate scramble for a convincing defence in the Bali trial of
Schapelle Corby on a charge which carries the death penalty.