Best Review - Top 3 South African music from yesteryear

T

hese three timeless classics have travelled an incredible journey, within the ever-meandering rivers of South Africa's ebbs and flows. These songs have appealed to various stages and historical changes of not only the country, but also reaching the diversity of the various cultural barriers found in our 'Rainbow Nation'.
I have selected these three specific songs, as each deal with a unique culture, yet as diverse as they may be, they do also encapsulate the conscious awareness of the masses, and that is to have peace, tolerance, and understanding in a unified nation of South Africa.
Within these songs, I have added some translations, meanings, idioms and given a bit of background toward each, I do trust you will enjoy.

Finding lift in rhthym
Advertise Here
Top ads 0
Top 1

Senzeni Na


Best ads 0

Albert Nyathi, a Zimbabwean poet claims to have written the song Senzeni Na on the day of Chris Hani's assassination, 10 April 1993. This particular version has a somewhat different theme, and tune, yet similar lyrics, but this song has been sung at funerals and within the sacred churches as far back as the 1950's.
During the Apartheid era, any person of color in any urban area needed the necessary paperwork; these papers were then to be kept on his or her person at all times. Near Johannesburg, South Africa, black men and women ranging in ages took to the streets of Sharpville on 21 March 1960, voicing their frustrations against the 'pass-law'. The South African Police started shooting into the crowd, and thereby killed sixty-nine demonstrators, and seriously maimed many more. The South African government then banned the African National Congress (ANC) and four years later imprisoned Nelson Mandela, making Senzeni Ne the encapsulating theme song of this era.
isiZulu and isiXhosa are truly very similar to the ear, and may sound more as a change in dialect than it would a different language.
The song, Senzeni Na is a mournful lament, an outcry of devastation. It is sung in a call and response manner, whereby the first line of the song is called out, then the gathering will repeat the line. This call and response then continues throughout the five lines of the song.
The phrase Senzeni Na, is often spelt as Senzenina, which if one translates direct from isiZulu, would make more sense. The phrase itself means 'What have we done?' and is built from, 'Na' which translates to 'have'. 'Pheza translates to 'have done', and 'si', meaning 'we'. The word 'enza', which translates to 'act or behave in a manner, or an action with consequence, or to bring-about a certain condition or state', also found in the words 'senzenjani, or isEnzenjani.
The significance of the song lies within asking, who is it that the gathering is calling to? As it originated as a gospel song, the listener would then be to God himself. A solo singer calls out the opening to a prayer, 'what have we done?' The gathering then joins in the prayer by repeating the question repeatedly, in a melodious, harmonized a cappella. As the chant like prayer continues, so of the various gatherers will take a turn to once again, call out 'what have we done?'
The originally heard soloist then calls out the gathering's first repentance, 'we are black'. The consequence of the gatherings sin was Apartheid. In isiZulu, the phrase, 'Sono sethu ubumnyama', Zethu, (Sethu) which translates to 'our', as the adverb uma, translates to when. Mnayama translates to 'black', as iSono, means sin. To any true believer, it is accepted that God does not make mistakes; therefore being black cannot be the only reason for their suffering, and the gathering refers back to repeating Senzenina.
The originally heard soloist then calls out the gathering's second repentance, 'our sin is in the truth.' In isiZulu, the phrase 'Sono sethy yinyaniso', is derived from 'iQuiniso' translating to 'truth', and 'isi Yningisa', the noun isi Yingayinga, Yingoba, or Yingokuba, which become conjunctions, meaning 'It is or was because of, by reason that, or on account of. The truth of the gathering is, it is the black people who allowed the white man the opportunity to settle in South African, and it is because of that truth that the gathering is facing the consequence of Apartheid. The song then reverts back to repeating Zenzenina
The fourth line reveals the consequence of their sin, being 'they are killing us'. The isiZulu interpretation of Siulawayo, stems from, 'ukuBulalwa, ukuBulala, also ukuHlatshwa which translates to 'killing', as 'lawa', refers to 'these'. Thereafter, repeating Senzenina.
The closing-line is a plea to God's will, 'let Africa return'. The term 'Mayibuye iAfrica' derives from isiZulu term Buyela, buya, buyisa, or buyisele, which translate to 'return'.
Senzeni Na, or rather this version of Senzenina, is a reminder that truthful prayers are heard, and answered, and in this case manifested through the presidential inauguration of Nelson Mandela on 10 May 1994 in Pretoria, South Africa. Duma Ndlovu relates the song 'Senzenina' to that of the American song, 'We will overcome'.
On 27 March 1992, the novel written by Bryce Courtenay, 'The Power of One', was released, with Danielle Craig appearing in his film debut. Senzeni Na featured in the movie soundtrack and thereby reached fame internationally.


Top 2

Kinders van die Wind

Advertise Here
Best ads 1

'Kinders van die Wind' was written by singer-songwriter, poet, journalist, and editor, Koos du Plessis, (10 May 1945 – 15 January 1984) affectionately known as Koos Doep before the tragic car accident which cost him his life.
The song, albeit written during the Apartheid era, is a historical reminder of our forgotten past, yet still remains pertinent to the 'New South Africa'. Kinders van die Wind is still aired on many national radio stations.
'Kinders van die wind' is a song about a song. The song the artist sings of is a forgotten song, which encompasses wellbeing and woe from the times of the original arrival of the DEIC (Dutch East Indian Company), which arrived on the South African shores in 1652.
The song then introduces the various aspects of these times and how they relate to us today, as children of the wind. Koos Doep uses many colloquial terms, some of which border on being archaic.
The term 'lewenswel' is a colloquial term, of which 'lewens' translates to 'life' or 'lives', and 'wel', translates to 'good'. The 'kelders van die see' is an interesting metaphor of the riches these seamen gained, allowing their seafaring to become their cellars.
'The words to the song have been forgotten', is a clear referral to the DEIC arriving wanting only food and supplies, yet South Africa became their homeland, and with this slavery was introduced. "En tog die deuntjie draal soos vaag onthoude grepies uit 'n baie ou verhaal"
Deuntjie is the diminutive form of 'tune' and draal is an archaic term for 'lingering'. 'Grepies' originates from the term "lettergrepe", translating to syllable, hence giving one the idea of a karmic wheel that is yet to turn as vaguely remembered syllables from an age old story".
Swerwers, originates from 'swerf', meaning to wander, travel, or roam, thus meaning wanderers without direction. 'Soekers' per se, originates from the verb "soek", meaning to seek, but can also originate from "Besoeker", meaning visitor, which DEIC were to South Africa, thus meaning wanderers without direction and seekers that never find, but eventually everybody was just children of the wind
The last verse brings us back to the present, adding a hint of nostalgia to a reflection of the past. "Gesigte, drome, name, is deur die wind verwaai", Koos Doep has used an archaic term 'verwaai', which directly translates to 'blow out'; meaning faces, dreams, and names have been lost to the wind, but the term 'verwaai' adds the introspective manner and nature of which the historical fervency has been lost.
The last stanza concludes that only a child could guess where all the words to the song are, which reconnects the verses of the song, shedding light to the age-old story, which was mentioned in the first verse, then repeating that eventually everybody is but children of the wind.
'Kinders van die Wind' can well be interpreted as not only a reminder of South African history, but also a reminder of Biblical essence. The age-old story can well be interpreted as the bible. The seekers not finding correlates to Matthew 6:33, 'seek ye first the Kingdom of God', and the children who can guess where the words have gone relates to the Matthew 19:14, 'let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these'. The song is an absolute masterpiece and has been covered by many artists, although is yet to be improved on Laurika Rauch's version, which is sung with depth and tonal perfection.
Laurika Rauch recorded this timeless classic, 'Kinders van die Wind', translating to 'children of the wind', which featured in the South African television series Phoenix & Kie. Having been discovered by Director Katinka Heyns while working as a waitress in 1979, Laurika Rauch later went on to record 22 albums.
Laurika Rauch won the 'Sarie' award in 1980 for most promising singer, 1997 afforded her to be the first recipient of a medal of honor by South African Academy for Arts and Science due to her contributions to Afrikaans music and in 2006 she received lifelong achievement award from 'Huisgenoot Skouspel'.

Lyrics

Ek ken 'n ou, ou liedjie
Van lewenswel en wee.
Van lank vergane skepe in
die kelders van die see.
Die woorde is vergete
en tog die deuntjie draal.
Soos vaag onthoude grepies uit
'n baie ou verhaal.
Van swerwers, sonder rigting.
Van soekers wat nooit vind.
En eindelik was almal maar
net kinders van die wind.
Gesigte, drome, name.
Is deur die wind verwaai.
En waarheen al die woorde is
Sou net 'n kind kon raai.
Swerwers, sonder rigting.
Soekers wat nooit vind.
En eindelik was almal maar
Kinders van die wind.


Top 3

Asimbonanga


Best ads 2

Asimbonanga (we have not seen him) is a revolutionary song, incorporating English and Zulu. The song not only touched South Africans, but also found worldwide acclaim. Johnny Clegg, an anthropologist, musician, dancer and writer, released Asimbonanga together with his second band Savuka (We have risen/awakened) in 1986, during the civil war, a time in which he knew the song would never be released, as the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) would not release any multiracial music.

During 1986, the government had declared a State of Emergency and Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was moved to solitary confinement in order for the government to have private access to him and thereby hold secret meetings, meetings that had been approved by President Botha.

It is pertinent to understand that at the time, the SABC had controlled all forms of media, and refined what viewers/listeners were exposed to, hence Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, to the average South African household was an unknown entity, or portrayed as "just another forgotten imprisoned terrorist", a persona who had not been seen.

Johnny Clegg's efforts and musical genius brought awareness and thereby, against all odds, played a vital roll in changing this. The law stated that no interracial band would perform in public places; hence he toured in the townships, dressed in traditional Zulu Warrior fashion and "private" locations; universities, churches and the likes of. Many of the concerts were broken up by police intervention, resulting in Clegg and Savuka being arrested on several occasions. The word of mouth spread like wild fire.

The song begins with the chorus, Johnny Clegg calling out, "Asimbonanga" (we have not seen him) followed by his band joining him in a stirring tribal Zulu fashion. The acapela opening of this song is emotive, even to non-Zulu speakers, as they call out "We have not seen him. We have not seen Mandela in the place where he is, in the place where he is kept."

The verse is then repeated, introducing instruments in an almost metronome fashion, by so doing adding gripping quality to their calling.

The first verse, so to speak, is in English in which there is no mention of Mandela, but rather intricate analogies are used. He paints a vivid sketch of Cape Town, "the sea is cold and the sky is grey. Look across the Island into the Bay".
Robben Island, between 1846 and 1931, because of its isolation, was once a hospital for lepers and mentally ill, where it could segregate the ill from the healthy. During this time period it also held political and common-law prisoners. Due to lack of treatments for the lepers and mentally ill, it imprisoned the hospital patients. It then became a training and defense station in the Second World War. However, once a place of banishment, imprisonment and isolation, in 1997 Robben Island opened its doors as a monumental museum, attracting international tourists.

The verse continues "we are all Islands until comes the day we cross the burning water."
"We are all islands" is a portrayal of segregation, each nation, tribe and ethnic group being referred to as an island, which will cease once we cross the burning water. As a prisoner at Robben Island, one can view Cape Town, or South Africa per se, but burning water? I do believe that the burning refers to the 'necklacing' that not only transpired, but also culminated when endorsed by the controversial and militant activities in a speech by Nelson Mandela's then wife, Winnie Madikizela. Any persons believed to have been collaborating with the government had tires placed around their necks and were then set alight publicly.

The second verse refers to a seagull flying across the sea. Once again, the seagull being an analogy of indigeneity, black and white, indigenous, free to cross waters, ones' mind races with the various analogy's that come to mind, but here we can also see how these birds natural instincts are opportunistic, and often show mob-like behavior as they have a highly developed social structure. They will attack and harass would-be predators or intruders.

The verse continues as a lamentation, "broken silence is what I dream. Who has the words to close the distance between you and me?"

Which brings us to the martyrs being called, Steve Biko, Victoria Mxenge and Neil Aggett, who had died in their anti-apartheid struggles.

Steve Biko (18 December 1946-12 September 1977), probably most renown for his statement "Black is beautiful". He was an avid anti-apartheid activist, a student leader and the founder of the Black Consciousness Movement, which empowered and mobilized the urban black population.
Steve Biko's death defined him as a martyr in South Africa after he had been held in custody, manacled and naked for twenty days before being transferred to Port Elizabeth, where he sustained a massive brain hemorrhage between 6 September and 07:30 7 September 1977. An undisputed report confirmed he had suffered at least three brain lesions due to physical force applied to his head. During his detention, even though his speech was slurred due to his injuries, the police had still shackled him to his cell door in a standing position. On September 11, 1977 the police then transported Steve Biko, unconscious, naked and shackled in the back of a land rover in what was a 12-hour drive to Pretoria. On 12 September 1977, Steve Biko died, Sydney Kentridge: “a miserable and lonely death on a mat on a stone floor in a prison cell”. The media reported the then minister of justice and police; Jimmy Kruger as saying Steve Biko had died of a hunger strike.

Victoria Mxenge (1 January 1942 – 1985), trained nurse, midwife, and law practitioner. Victoria Mxenge was an anti-apartheid activist. Her husband Griffiths had been banned, and then later was detained by the National Party government. Under agent Dirk Coetzee in Umlazi township, south of Durban, Griffith had been stabbed to death and his mutilated body was found near a soccer field.
Victoria then became more politically active, becoming a member of Natal Organization of Women and not only becoming a prominent member, but also a part of the defense team for the United Democratic Front in the Treason Trial of Pietermaritzburg. However, Victoria Mxenge was assassinated before the trial. Over 10 000 people attended this incredible woman's funeral.

Neil Aggett (6 October 1953 – 5 February 1982) was an ex Kenyan who worked as a physician in Black hospitals and by so doing learnt to speak Zulu. He then became a trade union leader and organized major successful strikes, thus fell under the scrutiny of the South African Security Police, which led to his arrest 27 November 1981. On 5 February 1982, 70 days in detention without trial, Neil Aggett aged 28 died, becoming the 51st death in detention and the first white detainee to die since 1963. Fellow detainee, Frank Chikane reported having seen Neil Aggett's limp body being carried by warders after one of his many interrogations, yet according the South African security police, Aggett had committed suicide.
Bishop Tutu conducted Neil Aggett's funeral, which had been attended by over 15 000 on 11 February 1982. This day also marked countrywide stay-aways drawing the support of over 100 000 workers.

This song has been sung and appreciated world wide, but one performance will always come to mind. 1994 in Frankfurt, Germany, Nelson Mandela himself, unbeknown to Johnny Clegg came onto stage while the song was being performed.

“I was taken by a wave of such amazing emotions,” Clegg told the Associated Press. “I wrote that in 1986, knowing it was going to be banned and not knowing he [Mandela] was ever going to be released because we were in the middle of a civil war. Eleven years later, in a new South Africa, I’m playing the song, and the very man I wrote it for walks on stage and sings it with me.”

Today Asimbonanga has played at the opening of Springbok rugby games, it has been covered by international and local artists including Joan Baez, Sowetho Gospel Choir and so many other artists.
See Nelson Mandela Children Fund, as to how you can assist.

Lyrics:

Asimbonanga
(We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina
(We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona
(In the place where he is)
Lah'ehleli khona
(In the place where he is kept)

Asimbonanga
(We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina
(We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona
(In the place where he is)
Lah'ehleli khona
(In the place where he is kept)

Oh the sea is cold and the sky is grey
Look across the Island into the Bay
We are all islands until comes the day
We cross the burning water

Chorus:

Asimbonanga
(We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina
(We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona
(In the place where he is)
Lah'ehleli khona
(In the place where he is kept)

Asimbonanga
(We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina
(We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona
(In the place where he is)
Lah'ehleli khona
(In the place where he is kept)

A seagull wings across the sea
Broken silence is what I dream
Who has the words to close the distance
Between you and me?

Chorus:

Asimbonanga
(We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina
(We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona
(In the place where he is)
Lah'ehleli khona
(In the place where he is kept)

Asimbonanga
(We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina
(We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona
(In the place where he is)
Lah'ehleli khona
(In the place where he is kept)

Steve Biko,

Asimbonanga
(We have not seen him)
Asimbonang 'umfowethu thina
(We have not seen our brother)
Laph'ekhona
(In the place where he is)
Laph'wafela khona
(In the place where he died)

Victoria Mxenge

Asimbonanga
(We have not seen him)
Asimbonang 'umfowethu thina
(We have not seen our brother)
Laph'ekhona
(In the place where he is)
Laph'wafela khona
(in the place where he died)

Neil Aggett

Asimbonanga
(We have not seen him)
Asimbonang 'umfowethu thina
(We have not seen our brother)
Laph'ekhona
(In the place where he is)
Laph'wafela khona
(in the place where he died)

Hey wena!
(Hey you!)
Hey wena nawe!
(Hey you and you too!)
Siyofika nini la' siyakhona
(When will we arrive at our destination?)

Asimbonanga
(We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina
(We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona
(In the place where he is)
Lah'ehleli khona
(In the place where he is kept)

Asimbonanga
(We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina
(We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona
(In the place where he is)
Lah'ehleli khona
(In the place where he is kept)


Do you like this top?

Welcome to Best-Reviewer.com

Your best site for top lists

> You are looking for best products, movies?
> You want to publish your own top lists?
> You want to earn more money online?
> You want to build backlinks to your site/blog?

... Then you have come to the right place!

Yes! I want to register now!
Registered users browse Best-Reviewer.com ad-free.

BASIC
This Top 3 South African Music From Yesteryear has been created by our member Sancheo whose website you can visit here: Sancheo.
Sancheo


If you are a Google AdSense Publisher, you can create your own top reviews and increase your AdSense earnings, Sancheo will be your referrer.

If you like this top, share it with others.

Direct link to this top review:

HTML code to add to your site / blog:

BBCODE to add on a forum:

Finally, click here to send this top review by email.

Valentus