In class this week we sing “Thinantsha,” an anti-Apartheid anthem. I sing the song alone in this video, but the version we recorded for All Around This World: Africa is multi-part Zulu harmony reminiscent of a church choir. I first heard “Thinantsha” — “We are the Youth!” on the Smithsonian Folkways CD “This Land is Mine: South African Freedom Songs” as a 1965 performance by South African exiles living in Tanzania, marking their defiance of the Afrikaner government and their determination to succeed in their struggle for equality. The anti-Apartheid forces certainly proved their persistence; Apartheid did not end until the early 1990s.
Tag Archives | South Africa
Many South African church choirs, like the “UniZulu” choir in this video, sing exuberant harmonies. The style of singing blends buoyantly with harmonies that are also at the heart of non-religious South African musical genres, like “Isicathamiya,” which developed in the early 20th century in the gold and diamond mines as a way for miners to communicate with each other through rhythmic stomps, claps and codes.
South African diamond and gold miners sang to keep rhythm with their tedious work, to communicate through stomps and clapping code and ease their struggles through terrible times. In this video we hear “Shosoloza,” a South African/Zimbabwean mine work song. The word “Shosoloza” means “hope” in the Zimbabwean language of Ndebele. (More about Shosoloza.)