The other day I was tuning into Radio Botswana and then I heard the line, "Long time ago in Bethlehem, so the Holy Bible said. Mary's boy child Jesus Christ, was born on Christmas Day".
The lyrics of the first line of the song, Mary’s Boy Child/Oh My Lord by Boney M was enough to take me back to the time when we would listen to the song on radio during the days building up to Christmas Day.
This is the song that engulfed that Christmas spirit within us and hearing that made me want to go back to past. The thing about an emotional memory is that it can be triggered by any stimulus. Although listening to Mary’s boy child may have not been felt as intensely as the original experience of the emotion, it surely made me want to go back.
Like Gladys Knight during the performance of the famous End of the Road medley, I wish I could tell children of today, ‘They don’t know nothing.’
The song Mary’s boy child made me want to go back to a time when the music touched my heart, soul, mind and body. It made want to go back to the time when our parents sent us to the poultry to buys chickens that will be slaughtered the next day.
That was the time when were would be instructed to guard the goats with our lives because one of them would be slaughtered on the evening of Christmas Eve. Our uncles and aunts would arrive just in time for supper bearing gifts and most importantly the groceries that included the favourites Tastic rice, tomato sauce and mayonnaise.
As the song went on to the verse, “And man will live for evermore, because of Christmas Day”, I could vividly remember waking up on Christmas Day happy as ever because it was the day I was finally going to wear my Christmas clothes. I was usually bought three pairs, one for Christmas, another for Boxing Day and the last one for New Year’s Day.
Our old Omega radio would be on high volumes as people from across Botswana made their requests on Radio Botswana. There was no Facebook that time, the radio broadcaster would gladly allow call ins as the song Mary’s boy child faded softly on the background.
As the song got to part where Boney M shouts “Oh my Lord
You sent your son to save us, Oh my Lord,” I remembered how I would suddenly chase my cousin from city around the yard. As a cousin from the city I knew I had to get along with him well otherwise I would not light up the fireworks (crickets as we used to call them) later that evening.
Our home in Thamaga was just like the town of Bethlehem and it came alive at Christmas. Our neighbour mates would pass by our fence telling us about what their relatives have bought them for Christmas. This was the day that drew visitors and everyone was welcome because the spirit was just too great for the human frame.
Mind you, Boney M’s Mary’s boy child was often played so many times in that day. It somehow helped celebrate the season during the one time a year when it’s socially acceptable to listen to this Christmas carol.
A Christmas carol is a carol (song or hymn) whose lyrics are on the theme of Christmas, and which is traditionally sung on Christmas itself or during the surrounding holiday season.
Holiday music brings out the very best in people, and so Boney M’s Christmas song will always be on repeat for me because today’s festive songs won’t be able to compete with my holly Mary’s Boy Child. Released in 1978, Mary’s Boy Child/Oh My Lord is still one of the top ten best-selling UK singles of all time. Mary’s Boy Child is still to this date a melodious tribute to the Christ child
Founded in 1974, the group Boney M concocted by German producer Frank Farian reveled in high blue eyeshadow, percussion, gold lamé, bedazzled swim caps and sex. So as I conclude, I want to just walk up to them and say you did it! You found that magic.