Gimme Hope Jo'anna

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"Gimme Hope Jo'anna"
Gimme hope Jo'anna.jpg
Single by Eddy Grant
from the album File Under Rock
B-side "Say Hello to Fidel"
Released 1988 (1988)
Format 7", 12"
Recorded Blue Wave Studios, Saint Philip, Barbados
Genre Reggae, ringbang
Length 3:47
Label Parlophone, EMI
Songwriter(s) Eddy Grant
Producer(s) Eddy Grant
Eddy Grant singles chronology
"Boys in the Street"
"Gimme Hope Jo'anna"
"Harmless Piece of Fun"
"Boys in the Street"
"Gimme Hope Jo'anna"
"Harmless Piece of Fun"

"Gimme Hope Jo'anna" is an anti-apartheid song written and originally released by Eddy Grant in 1988, during the apartheid era in South Africa. The song was banned by the South African government when it was released, but was widely played in South Africa nonetheless.[1] It reached #7 in the UK Singles Chart, becoming Grant's first Top 10 hit for more than five years.[citation needed]


The "Jo'anna" of the lyrics represents not only the city of Johannesburg, but also the South African Government and its apartheid policy.[citation needed] Soweto is a black township near Johannesburg, known for its role in the resistance to the apartheid laws. The South African army during the apartheid era was well known for "sneaking across the neighbours' borders" to fight in other neighbouring countries, most notably in the Angolan Civil War. The archbishop is Desmond Tutu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to apartheid.

"She's got supporters in high up places, Who turn their heads to the city sun" represents the unwillingness of the international community, at first, to take action against the South African government and its apartheid system. It is also a reference to a South African luxury resort by the name of Sun City. "She even knows how to swing opinion, In every magazine and the journals" represents propaganda in the media and the Muldergate Scandal, which involved secret government subsidization of pro-apartheid media.[citation needed]

Eddy Grant performed a version of this song at the closing ceremony of the Indian Premier League T-20 cricket tournament on 25 May 2009. The song included a short reprise with the lyrics "...Jo'anna still runs this country" and the rest of the reprise in present tense.[citation needed]

Cover versions[edit]

A cover was recorded by the South African Band, Dr. Victor and the Rasta Rebels.

Argentine comedian Yayo Guridi in his 'Cantante Enmascarado' (The Masked Singer) persona sang a literal Spanish translation of this song on the Argentine humorous TV show 'Sin Codificar' on the episode that preceded the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Johannesburg is the city where the Argentine National Football Team played its opening match against Nigeria. German a cappella band Basta also covered this song, dedicated to Germany's manager Joachim Löw. The song was also versioned by another two German punk bands, JBO[2] in 1995 and Not Available[3] in 1998.

Lou Bega also recorded a cover of this song for his album A Little Bit of 80's.

Yoplait used the melody for a commercial for their Yop yogurt drink, 'Gimme Yop, Me Mama'.[4]

Track listings[edit]

7" single
  1. "Gimme Hope Jo'Anna" — 3:47
  2. "Say Hello to Fidel" — 4:41
12" maxi
  1. "Gimme Hope Jo'Anna"
  2. "Say Hello to Fidel"
  3. "Living on the Frontline" (live version)


Preceded by
"Tell It to My Heart" by Taylor Dayne
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
9 April 1988 - 7 May 1988 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Yé ké yé ké" by Mory Kanté


  1. ^ "How Eddy Grant gave hope to South Africa". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  2. ^ "Explizite lyrik". Retrieved 2012-06-24. 
  3. ^ "Resistance is futile". Retrieved 2012-06-24. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d e "Gimme Hope Jo'anna", in various singles charts[permanent dead link] (Retrieved 16 June 2008)
  6. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 14, 1988". Archived from the original on 27 June 2008. Retrieved 17 March 2008. 
  7. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  8. ^ "Gimme Hope Jo'anna", UK Singles Chart (Retrieved 17 June 2008)
  9. ^ 1988 Austrian Singles Chart Archived 22 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved 17 June 2008)
  10. ^ "1988 Belgian Flanders Singles Chart" (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "Single top 100 over 1988" (pdf) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  12. ^ 1988 Swiss Singles Chart Archived 7 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved 17 June 2008)
  13. ^
  14. ^ Elia Habib, Muz hit. tubes, p. 142 (ISBN 2-9518832-0-X)
  15. ^ "Les certifications depuis 1973, database" (in French). Infodisc. Archived from the original on 13 July 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2010. 

External links[edit]