Shosholoza: What you should know about South Africa’s second national anthem


Ku lezontaba
Stimela si qhamuka e south africa
Stimela si qhamuka e south africa

Shosholoza is undoubtedly South Africa’s second national anthem. This Fanagalo song  was sung by the mixed tribes of miners mining gold and diamond in South Africa.

The song which aptly mimics the political struggle of South Africans was originally sung by groups of men from the Ndebele ethnic group that travelled by steam train from their homes in Zimbabwe to work in South Africa.

Shosholoza is a is a mix of Zulu and Ndebele words.

Some argue that the song describes the journey to the mines in South Africa, while others say it describes the return to Zimbabwe. Historians believe that the miners sang the song to kill boredom and stress.

The miners sang the song  in time with the rhythm of swinging their axes to dig. It was usually sung under hardship in call and response style (one man singing a solo line and the rest of the group responding by copying him).

Late former South African President Nelson Mandela described how he sang Shosholoza as he worked during his imprisonment on Robben Island.

He described Shosholoza  as “a song that compares the apartheid struggle to the motion of an oncoming train” and went on to explain that “the singing made the work lighter”.

Today Shosholoza is often sang for solidarity during sporting events and other national events in South Africa to send the message of togetherness.

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