cape-town-blue-train-south-africa-BLUETRAIN0917

Shosholoza

Traditional, South Africa (originating from Zimbabwe)

Language: Fanagalo

Shosholoza is a traditional South African work song. It originated with the miners who traveled from Zimbabwe to South Africa to work in the gold mines; more recently it has come to represent the struggle for freedom and apartheid, and has taken on a nationalistic identity (being called South Africa’s 2nd National Anthem). It is even used at sports games to let the players know they are not alone and are supported by the team of viewers.

Fanagalo is a pigin language made up mostly of Zulu (South Africa) and Ndebele (Zimbabwe). Some people believe it is the description of going to South Africa for work; others believe it describes the return from working in South Africa, back to Zimbabwe. More info here.

Note: our arrangement has changed slightly from this recording. Now we do two rounds of the “oooo” section, which has become the “looo looo” section, and that’s where the dancey-body rhythms go for Sara, Deborah and KT. (There is only one round of “ooos/loos” on this recording.) After that, we go back to lyrics and add stepping and clapping.

Words and Translation:

Shosholoza – Move fast

Ku lezontaba – On those mountains

Stimela sipum’e South Africa – Train from South Africa

x2

Wen’ uyabaleka – You are running away

Ku lezontaba – On those mountains

Stimela sipum’e South Africa – Train from South Africa

x2

More notes on the words, if it interests you:

The word Shosholoza or “chocholoza!” means go forward or make way for the next man, in Ndebele. It is used as a term of encouragement and hope for the workers as a sign of solidarity. The sound “sho sho” uses onomatopoeia and reminiscent of the sound made by the steam train (stimela). Stimela is the Zulu word for steam train. “Kulezo ntaba!” means (At those far away mountains), “Stimela Siphume South Africa” (the train come from South Africa), “Wen’ uya baleka” (Because you’re running away/hurrying). Source.

ALL

TENOR (MIDDLE LOW) (LEAD)

SOPRANO (HIGH)

ALTO (MIDDLE HIGH)

BASS (LOW)

BOM BOM KULE LOW

BOM BOM KULE HIGH

 

shosholoza