Tag Archives: busi mhlongo

Lyrics & Translation: ukuThula (Busi Mhlongo)

Busi Mhlongo

(…Kumnand’ uk’hlala ngok’thula)

Bantu bakith’ kumnand’ uk’hlala ngok’thul’ ezweni

Uma s’ngawuyeka lomona s’ngahlala ngok’zwana
(Uma s’ngawuyek’ umona…)

Nom’ ungang’bulala ngek’ uwathol’ amandl’ ami

Full grammar

(…Kumnandi ukuhlala ngokuthula)
[(…It’s nice to live in peace)]

Bantu bakithi kumnandi ukuhlala ngokuthula ezweni
[My people (“people of our land”) it’s nice to live in peace in our nation]

Uma singawuyeka lomona singahlala ngokuzwana
[If we can let go of this jealousy we would live in harmony]
(Uma singawuyeka umona…)
[If we can let go of jealousy…)

Noma ungangibulala ngeke uwathole amandle ami
[Though you may kill me, you will never gain my strength]


Lyrics & Translation: We Baba Omncane (Busi Mhlongo)

We Baba Omncane
Busi Mhlongo

We bab’omncane
Wang’xosha kabuhlung’
Kodwa yini na?

Um’ ungafun’ uk’hloniph’ abazali bakho
Ngek’ uz’ ulunge mntanam’

Full grammar

We baba omncane
[Oh uncle*]
Wangixosha kabuhlungu
[You chased me away so sorely]
Kodwa yini na?
[What’s the matter? (lit.: but what is it?)]

Uma ungafuni ukuhlonipha abazali bakho
[If you don’t want to respect your parents]
Ngeke uze ulunge mntanami
[You’ll never ever be alright, my child]

*Uncles & aunts in Zulu:

Bab’omkhlulu = Father’s older brother (“big father”)
Bab’omncane = Father’s younger brother (“small father”)
Babekazi = Father’s sister (“female father”)

Mamkhulu = Mother’s older sister (“big mother”)
Mamncane = Mother’s younger sister (“small mother”)
Malume = Mother’s brother

Lyrics & Translation: Yaphel’ iMali Yami (Busi Mhlongo)

Yaphel’ iMali Yami
Busi Mhlongo

Eyok’gcina lencwadi
Uz’ ung’khonzele
Hamba; hamb’ ung’khonzele Phepha
Uz’ ung’khonzele

Yaphel’ imali yami ng’bhalela wena soka lam’
Awung’phenduli ngani?
Laphel’ iphepha lami ng’bhalela wena soka lam’
Awung’phenduli ngani?

Yahamb’ imali yami ng’bhalela wena soka lam’
Angiyibon’ impendulo
Lahamb’ iphepha lami ng’bhalela wena soka lam’
Angiyibon’ impendulo

Full grammar

Eyokugcina lencwadi
[This is the final letter]
Uze ungikhonzele
[Just send’ these regards/greetings]
Hamba; hamba ungikhonzele Phepha
[Go; go send these regards for me, Paper]
Uze ungikhonzele
[Just send these regards]

Yaphela imali yami ngibhalela wena soka lami
[My money is finished (from) writing to you my lover]
Awungiphenduli ngani?
[Why won’t you reply to me?]
Laphela iphepha lami ngibhalela wena soka lami
[My paper is finished (from) writing to you my lover]
Awungiphenduli ngani?
[Why won’t you reply to me?]

Yahamba imali yami ngibhalela wena soka lami
[My money is gone (from) writing to you my dear]
Angiyiboni impendulo
[I don’t see any reply]
Lahamba iphepha lami ngibhalela wena soka lami
[My paper is gone (from) writing to you my dear]
Angiyiboni impendulo
[I don’t see any reply]


Lyrics & Translation: Yehlisan’ Umoya ma-Afrika (Busi Mhlongo)

Yehlisan’ Umoya ma-Afrika
Busi Mhlongo

Yehlisan’ umoya
Bantu bakithi

Ngoba kade madoda
Sibulalana sodwa

Sibulalana sodwa

Yehlisan’ umoya ma-Afrika,
Kade sibulalana sodwa

(Isiqaqa lesi, isiqaqa…)

Full grammar
[English Translation]

Yehlisan’ umoya
[Calm down (literal: ‘lower your spirits’)]
Bantu bakithi
[My people (lit.: ‘people of our land’)]

Ngoba kade madoda
[Because for so long, guys]
Sibulalana sodwa
[We have been killing ourselves]

[Where has our conscience gone?]
Sibulalana sodwa
[We are killing ourselves]

Yehlisan’ umoya ma-Afrika,
[Calm down people of Africa]
Kade sibulalana sodwa
[For so long we’ve been killing ourselves]

(Isiqaqa lesi, isiqaqa…)

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
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?