In the eighth and final installment of Netflix‘s rich ReMastered music documentary series, The Lion’s Share, directors Jeff and Mike Zimbalist pick up on the trails of three converging parties: South African writer and documentarian Rian Malan, Zulu musician Solomon Linda, and a two-time Billboard Top 10 hit. The result is a well-crafted and sophisticated account of bitterness, longing, and the all-too-common exploitation of Black talent for white gain.
Malan—a grandnephew of Daniel François Malan, the South African Prime Minister who was a dominant ideological force behind apartheid—has unsuccessfully tried to distance himself from his family’s racist legacy. Linda—who wrote “Mbube,” which later became the famous “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”—lives on through his daughters, ruthless music publishers, and, of course, Disney’s 1994 animated version of The Lion King.
Numerous parties—a collage of white, male faces, including folk/pop group the Kingston Trio—have benefitted from Linda’s craft. Unbeknownst to him, he’d signed over publishing rights over to South Africa’s Gallo Record Company. More famous and influential in death, Linda died of renal failure in 1962; his family was so impoverished that it took 18 years to erect a tombstone for his grave.
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