Ben Okafor - Thing With War

Saturday 1st November 2003
Ben Okafor - Thing With War
Ben Okafor - Thing With War

STYLE: Reggae
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Chris Tozer

Most of us are fortunate to have never seen war firsthand and pray to God that we never will. I first learnt of Ben Okafor’s harrowing experiences of life as a child soldier in the 1960s in a Sunday Times Magazine article earlier this year. His family had joined the fight to breakaway from the rest of Nigeria and establish their tribal region as an independent state of Biafra. I still have teenage memories of watching television news footage of emaciated children fleeing from advancing armies. Beatle John Lennon was so disgusted by the inaction of Britain as the former colonial power that he returned his recently awarded MBE to Buckingham Palace. With child soldiers now very much a regular feature of television news stories right across Africa this three track CD is a timely reminder, in the gentle reggae style of the long lamented Bob Marley, of what Okafor sees as the futility of war. More than that, sales of this surprisingly uplifting mini album will help other child soldiers like Ben as a minimum of 35 per cent of the profits will be donated to the work of the Coalition To Stop The Use Of Child Soldiers. I agree with the review in the much respected Blues & Soul magazine that herein is “rootsy reggae for a worthy cause”.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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