Monthly Archives: May 2014

Baxabene Oxamu (Miriam Makeba)

Baxabene Oxamu
Miriam Makeba

Baxabene oxam’
Bexabene ngengxoxo
Bexakwe ingxuba ‘xaka

Hayi-ke-le-gqi! iQheya
Laxing’ eqhingeni
Beliqhatha ngeqhotho leqhude

[English Translation]:

The monitor lizards in an argument
They are in a heated debate
They are puzzled by a dilemma

Then (all of a sudden) a Khoi person
Got caught in the middle (of the matter)
Each was bribing him
With a piece of kudu meat

[Editor’s Note: My original intention was to transcribe and translate Busi Mhlongo’s version of the song from her UrbanZulu. In trying to find lyrics online, I stumbled across Miriam Makeba’s (the earlier) version, which I had never heard. There are a few interesting things to note about the different versions: 1) There is a difference in the pronunciation of certain phrases. It is quite certain that Mhlongo’s pronunciation is a deviation from the original, as it changes (and sometimes completely removes) the meaning and coherence of some of the lines. 2) For me, this song really highlights the fact that there are actually some significant differences between the various Nguni dialects. For example, in isiZulu iqhude is a rooster. Only now have I learnt that the name “kudu” is an anglicisation of the same word, which in isiXhosa is the word for that antelope. It makes sense! 3) While all online transcriptions I have seen show “iqhatha” (a piece of meat), both Makeba and Mhlongo clearly say “iqhotho” (a belt?). Online dictionaries list “iqhatha” as a piece of meat, which makes more sense in the context of the story. It may be that Makeba mispronounced the word; a mistake that carried through to Mhlongo’s rendition.]   

[Busi Mhlongo Lyrics]:

Kwaxabana oxamu
Bexabana ngengxoxo
Bexakwe ingxuba ‘xaka

Hayi-ke-le-gqi! iQheya
Laqhing’ eqhingeni
Beliqhatha,
Liqhatha ngeqhotho leqhude

[Busi Mhlongo English Translation, as a Zulu-speaker might understand it]:

Some monitor lizards once argued
Arguing about/through a discussion
They were puzzle by a dilemma

Alas! A Khoi person
Had devised a scheme
He was causing (the) conflict
Causing conflict with a piece of rooster’s meat

 

ingxuba kaxaka = crisis/dilemma/trouble
iqheya = Khoi-san/light-skinned person
ukuxinga = to be stuck
ukuqhatha – the deceive/fake/cause conflict?

 

Links
http://youtu.be/Rq9mU8inMr0
http://issuu.com/highresaudio/docs/pumeza_matshikiza_-_voice_of_hope_b
http://www.learnxhosa.co.za/oxamu-song-translation/

Ha Le Se Le Li Khanna (Hugh Masekela)

Ha le se le li khanna
(Hugh Masekela)

LYRICS MARKED WITH “*” INCOMPLETE.
CORRECTIONS/ADDITIONS WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

He le se le li khanna
Hlokomela li sa welwe ke serame
He le se le li khanna
Hlokomela li sa welwe ke serame

Hela ngwanesu
Kgomo tse ke tsa bohadi
Hela ngwanesu
Li tshwanetse go shebahala

Yelele-yelele…
Ooh, what you doing to me baby?
Kgomo tse ke tsa bo-ah-ah

Yelele-yelele…
Hela ngwanesu, yoh!
Kgomo tse ke tsa bo-ah-ah!

Yelele-yelele…
Hela ngwanesu, yoh!
Kgomo tse ke tsa bohadi!
(Hom-homm…)

[About the song: This is likely “Bra Hugh” Masekela’s rendition of a traditional song probably sung at engagement ceremonies. It is a warning to whoever it is being sung to, to look carefully after cattle that are being driven (possibly to the bridal family’s home on the day of engagement) so that they don’t catch frost, since they are for ‘bohadi’ (lobolo/dowry) and need to look presentable.]  

[Editor’s note: This is such a fun song! Especially the version on the ‘Hugh Masekela Greatest Hits’ album from 1980, but the version posted below is still just as groovy.]

Ngiculela – Es Una Historia – I Am Singing (Stevie Wonder)

[Editor’s note: I’m very interested to know who translated and taught the isiZulu lyrics for/to Stevie Wonder. Any clues? Comment below]

Ngiculela – Es Una Historia – I Am Singing
(Stevie Wonder)

[Zulu]:
Ngiculela ikusasa
[I am singing for (a) tomorrow]
Ngiyacula ngothando
[I sing of love]
Ngiyacula, ngeliny’ ilanga
[I sing (that) some day]
Uthando luyobusa
[Love will reign]
Jikelele kulomhlaba wethu
[All around this world of ours]

[Spanish]:
Es una historia de mañana

[This is a story of tomorrow]
Es una historia de amor
[This is a story of love]
Es una historia que amor reinará
[This is a story that love will reign]
Por nuestro mundo
[For our world]
Es una historia de mi corazón
[This is a story from my heart]

[English]:
I am singing
There’s songs to make you smile
There’s songs to make you sad
But with a happy song to sing
It never seems as bad
To me came this melody
So I’ve tried to put in words how I feel
Tomorrow will be for you and me…

I am singing of tomorrow
I am singing of love
I am singing someday love will reign
Throughout this world of ours
I am singing of love from my heart

Let’s all sing someday sweet love will reign
Throughout this world of ours
Let’s start singing
Of love from our hearts
Let’s start singing
Of love from our hearts

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKTgWozFEyo

Lyrics edited from http://www.steviewonder-unofficial.com/song/id_243_get_lyrics_Ngiculela..Es.Una.HistoriaI.Am.Singing.html

Kuyoba Njani Na by Vusi Mahlasela: Lyrics, Video, Translation

‘Kuyoba njani na?’ by Vusi Mahlasela

Kuyoba njani na kusasa
Uma mina nawe s’shada
Sime phambi kwomfundisi sisho sithi
Sohlukaniswa yinto yodwa kuphela, ukufa

Kuyoba njani na, kusasa
Uma mina nawe s’shada
Sime phambi kwomfudisi sithatha isinqumo sokuthi
Mina nawe, sohlukaniswa yinto yodwa kuphela, ukafa

Kuyoba njani na kusasa
Uma mina nawe s’hlezi kamnandi
Emzini wethu
Sikhulisa izingani zethu

Kuyoba njani na kusasa
Uma mina nawe s’hlezi kamnandi
Emzini wethu
Sikhulisa izingani zethu

Ngikubone uyintombi
Umuhle, ngakuthanda, ngakutusa
Ngakufaka indandatho
Namhlanje naz’ iingane
Ngiyawuthand’ umndeni wam’

Kuyoba njani na?
Kuyoba njani na?

 

Lyrics edited from: http://vusimahlasela.com/discography/silang-mabele/

 

English Translation:

Full Grammar
[Translation]

Kuyoba njani na, kusasa
[How good it will be, tomorrow]
[Literal: How will it be…]

Uma mina nawe sishada
[When you and I get married]

Sime phambi kwomfundisi sisho sithi
[Standing before a minister saying that]

Sohlukaniswa yinto yodwa kuphela, ukufa
[Only one thing will part us; death]
[Lit.: Will will be separated by one thing only…]

Kuyoba njani na, kusasa
[How good it will be, tomorrow]

Uma mina nawe sishada
[When you and I get married]

Sime phambi kwomfudisi, sithatha isinqumo sokuthi
[Standing before a minister, taking the decision that]

Mina nawe, sohlukaniswa yinto yodwa kuphela, ukafa
[Me and you, only one thing will part us; death]

Kuyoba njani na, kusasa
[How good it will be, tomorrow]

Uma mina nawe sihlezi kamnandi
[When you and I are sitting pleasantly]

Emzini wethu
[In our own house]

Sikhulisa izingani zethu
[Raising our children]

Ngikubone uyintombi
[I saw you while you were a girl]

Umuhle, ngakuthanda, ngakutusa
[Beautiful, and I loved you, and I praised you]

Ngakufaka indandatho
[And I gave you a ring]

Namhlanje nazi iingane
[Today, here are (our) children]

Ngiyawuthanda umndeni wami
[I love my family]

Kuyoba njani na?
Kuyoba njani na?

Impi – Juluka

1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Impi – Juluka (Impi – Zulu for very successful song)

Impi - Juluka Impi by Juluka

History lesson: Just one day before Michael Caine bravely fended off the Zulu army, the poms took a frightful beating at the Battle of Isandlwana (possibly because they were concentrating on how to say Ee Sandal Wanna). Such was the beating they took, that Johnny Clegg became so frightened of the Zulus that he decided if you can’t beat them, join them and thus the song Impi was born.

Why history lessons at school were never as tuneful as this can only be blamed on apartheid (why not, everyone’s doing it), and dull history teachers.  Footstomping, high kicking, drum poundingly brilliant, the history lessons at school were not, but Juluka took the Battle of Isandlwana and turned it into a victorious war cry that had us dancing in the aisles. It has become a firm favourite amongst

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