This year, June 3rd marks the 25th anniversary of Mabo day. Mabo day is the name given to the day a quarter of a century ago when Aboriginal people were recognised as the rightful owners of their own land. So much is owed to Eddie Mabo for the High Court’s decision on that day. Mabo was a courageous freedom fighter who challenged the laws of the country to secure his people’s heritage for future generations.
In celebration of Mabo day, rapper Mau Power is releasing a single which is a remix of a song written by Mabo’s own daughter, Auntie Gail Mabo, as an ode to her late father. Called Koiki after Eddie ‘Koiki,’ Mabo’s tribal name, the song’s lyrics re-tell the story of Mabo’s journey and how he helped his people to reclaim their heritage.
During his lifetime, Mabo worked tirelessly to overturn the fiction of terra nullius, which meant land in the Torres Straits was classed as no man’s land. As a result of his petitioning, campaigning, cajoling and questioning for 18 years, a monumental decision was made at the High Court in 1992 to end more than 200 years of white domination of land ownership in the Torres Straits.
A quarter of a century on, Koiki is a celebration of Mabo’s historic victory and his legacy to the people of the Torres Straits. Auntie Gail Mabo chose fellow countryman and local leader Mau Power to sing Koiki, and he was deeply honoured to be asked. Emerging from the rich musical traditions of the Torres Straits, Mau Power is perfectly placed to weave indigenous storytelling with modern hip-hop culture. With a powerful subtext of solidarity, Koiki is invigorated by Mau Power’s own unique style, and acknowledgement is given within the song to all the leaders and advocates that contributed to this great journey.
The song will be available on iTunes, Spotify and all main music download sites and will appear on an album “Blue Lotus: The Awakening” later this year. All proceeds from the sale of the single will to towards the ‘Concept of Change’ Foundation.
Mr Mabo’s descendants and Mau Power have called for a new day of remembrance to mark Mabo day. They would like to see June 3 dedicated as a national holiday to celebrate a decision that unites the people of the Torres Straits. Many indigenous and non-indigenous people want to see June 3 become a national holiday.