African Litany


Impi! wo 'nans' impi iyeza
Obani bengathinta amabhubesi?

All along the river Chelmsford's army lay asleep
Come to crush the Children of Mageba
Come to exact the Realm's price for peace
And in the morning as they saddled up to ride
Their eyes shone with the fire and the steel
The General told them of the task that lay ahead
To bring the People of the Sky to heel


Mud and sweat on polished leather
Warm rain seeping to the bone
They rode through the season's wet weather
Straining for a glimpse of the foe
Hopeless battalion destined to die
Broken by the Benders of Kings
Vainglorious General and Victorian pride
Would cost him and eight hundred men their lives


They came to the side of the mountain
Scouts rode out to spy the land
Even as the Realm's soldiers lay resting
Mageba's forces were at hand
And by the evening the vultures were wheeling
Above the ruins where the fallen lay
An ancient song as old as the ashes
Echoed as Mageba's warriors marched away



African Sky Blue

African sky blue, your children wait for the dawn
African sky blue, soon a new day will be born
African sky blue
African sky blue, will you bless my life?
African sunshine, soon you will warm your children's eyes
The African river water will dance and leap in your morning light
African sunshine
African river water, will you bless my life?
Oh will you bless my life?
Oh will you bless my life?
Oh will you bless my life?

What can I know?
What can I dream?
What can I hope?
What will the future bring?
You shine through me, but will you see me through?
African sky blue

African thunderstorm, your soldiers march through the air
The African rain will fall and wash away all my tears
African falling rain
African falling rain, will you bless my life?
Oh will you bless my life?
Oh will you bless my life?
Oh will you bless my life?

The warrior's now a worker and his war is underground
With cordite in the darkness he milks the bleeding veins of gold
When the smoking rockface murmurs, he always thinks of you
African sky blue, will you see him through?




Sizofika nini
(when will we arrive)
Kuhomhlaba wakiti
(in this[our]world)
Awu ngiphe amandla, 'Nkosi yami
(give me strength, my Lord)
Ikusasa lethu
(our tomorrow)
Lisezandlern zayo
(is in your hands)
Awu siphe amandla, 'Nkosi yami
Inde indlela yase Jarusalema
(the clear road to Jerusalem)
Asazi sizofika nini
(we don't know when we'll arrive)
Abanye bayaduka
(others lose their way)
Thina ngeke silahleke
(we will never stray)
Sihamba nomSindisi
(we walk with the saviour)
Yebo noma kade ngihamba
(and even if I left long ago)
Ngeke ngilahle ithemba
(I will never lose my faith)
Ngihamba nomSindisi
(I walk with the Saviour)

Jarusalema! Jarusalema!
Kunzima lomtwalo
(the heavy burden)
Jarusalema! Jarusalema!
Baningi baphela kulomgwaqo
(many have ended at your gates)
Yebo noma kade ngahamba
Ngeke ngilahle ithemba
Sihamba nomSindisi


Awu ngiphe amandla 'Nkosi yami! (4x)
Somandla! (4x)
Kuzo kube nini ngiphile lempilo? (repeat)
So'fika nini eJarusalema? (4x)

Bayakhala omame
(they are crying, my mothers)
Nabosisi, nabobuthi
(and my sisters, and my brothers)
Omamazala, omalume
(mothers in law, uncles)
Ogogo, nobabamkulu
(grandfathers and grandmothers)
Bathi: "Maye! Maye! Maye! Maye! Mayebabo!"
(They say "mayebabo" [a severe warning])


African Litany

Trapped in a moment of history
You changed the world and the day was yours
Laughing sun flashing from your smile
Your beach-bronzed body braced against the wind
But you forgot the wheel keeps turning
And one day the dawn left you behind
And though I tried to love you
I really have to go
'Cause the world is leaving you behind
The world is leaving you behind
The world is leaving you behind

I'll sing an African litany for you
An African litany for me
An African litany for you
And I hope we see these times through

I think this dream is going to end
The past is no longer your friend
Memory upon memory binds you into a timeless web
'Cause you forgot the wheel keeps turning
And one day the dawn left you behind
And now you're trapped there forever
Till the embers of that glowing day have died
Till the embers of that glowing day have died
Till the embers of that glowing day have died


African! Litany!
African! Litany!

I'll sing an African litany for you
Fare thee well and fond adieu
An African litany for me
I hope we see these times through



Baba, ngizwe isimanga, mina
Ngizwe isimanga
Baba, ngizwe isimanga, mina
Ngizwe isimanga
Isoka ladlala ngentombi, isoka (repeat)
Isoka alikhiphanga inkomo, isoka (repeat)

"I am bull-man-free, I am pelepele
I am enjeni-thaya, I am othomatiki
I am Shay'isibhagela, I am Khahlela
I am Khahlamba-moon, I am coming soon"

Chorus He spins his words and fashions his web
Hoping she will fall for him
But she turns and smiles and looks and beguiles
She was not born this morning

(repeat the verse)


She's tired and she's bored with young macho lords
Desperately after her awnings
Bull-man-free has beautiful words
But she was not born this morning...



Ngiyesaba kwelamaBhaca, ngiyesaba
KwelamaBhaca, ngiyesaba (repeat)
Gijim'beke, kwelamaBhaca, gijim'beke

Gijim'beke, kwelamaBhaca, gijim'beke



Heart of the Dancer

I want to look into the heart of the dancer
His movements have a magic mystery
They must have a message and a meaning
'Cause he's doing something to me
Please don't let the drum stop beating
I have to understand
How he dances our future and our destiny
And how we became part of this land

Sizodlala! nani 'mabungu!
Sizodlala! nani 'mabungu, helele!
Dlala wemadlalingo...
Dlala wemadlalingoma (repeat)
Dlala wemadlalingo-yo-yo-yo
Dlala wemadlalingoma (repeat)

When you were just a witless child of wonder
He showed you the glory of his past
He weaved for you a dance of the thunder
That shook the mountains and the craglands
He dances the children playing in the rubble
He dances the hollow victory
He dances the powerful people ambushed by history


The dance wants to dance the dancer
But the dancer wants to dance the dance
There's a war between the puppet and the master
Between the master and the puppet-dancer's heart
Have you seen the gunfire flash across the news in the night?
Have you seen the bedroom scene in the ballet?
Oh the dancing bear can't bear to dance much longer
And soon the puppet will be the dance's master
Soon the puppet will be the dance's master
Wemagith' ingoma!
Wemagith' ingoma!

High Country

There's a girl who lives in the high country
Where the willows do not weep
And the rain falls softly and gently
And does not disturb her sleep
There's a girl who lives in the high country
Who lives on tea and dreams
And I know that she does not love me
But she plays the game so well
"Sit by my side and tell me boy
Is the Milky Way that far? Is the universe really expanding?
Tell me who you are?"

I am a bondsman - a poor man
I am a ghettoman - I am a thief
Who saw the gutterman who has no compassion
Who heard the widow who cannot weep
In the backstreets, in the poor towns
I hear a thunder which cannot roll
Mine are the eyes that steal from the orphanage
A groveller, groping in the grime
Inside is a Congo-jungle-beast-lion-leopard-man
A tiger-man from Timbuktu
Even a lover-man strutting down the avenue
A winding river searching for the sea...

And she said that she understood me
She thought I was complex and sensitive
"Here" she said, "hold my hand,
And have a muffin!"
"Do you see the clouds boy?
Do you see the ship?
Do you see the duck?
Do you love me?"

Brick by brick the empire is crumbling
Stone by stone it cracks and folds
Dreams of phantoms plotting in the jungle
Vengeance in the elephant grass
Someone's been at the liquor cabinet
She's sure someone's been wearing her shoes
All around her chaos and anarchy
Light and reason overthrown
"I'm sure" she says, "they will attack the embassy,
Take me home, take me home!"

There's a wind that blows through the high country
Where the mansion used to stand
And it blows through the broken down garden
Where she once held my hand.
La, la, la, la...


Mama Shabalala

An old lady walking down the dusty farm road
Looking for a simple home
She doesn't want anything extremely smart
And she doesn't need a telephone
She's the child of a refugee running from the Zulu war
Living from hand to mouth, dodging the wrong arm of the law
She's old and she's bent, her eyes can hardly see
And she's going home forever to Weenen County

Uhamba njalo wemaShabala
Ukhumbula ku-phi?
Uhamba njalo wemaShabala
Ukhumbula ku-phi wena?
Ukhumbula ku-phi wena?
Uthwala 'nzima wemaShabalala
Iya-phi indlela?
Uthwala 'nzima wemaShabalala
Iya-phi indlela?
Izinto zomhlaba
Izinto zomhlaba

She's built more homes than fingers on her hands
A sharecropper's wife living on County Crown land
And then they wrested the harvest from the land and its lords
And when her man died she could cry no more tears
And she had lost everything that she ever had to lose
So she picks up her walking stick and puts on her car-tyre shoes
And she's walking in a dream listening for that special sound
The echo of the plough whip over Weenen County ground
"Weenen County you took my man" she says
"You took my home, you took my land
You left me all alone - now I'm coming home."
Weenen County in the springtime
Hadeda's on the wing
Blue morning
Blue morning

Repeat chorus and fade out



Zisho inggaba
Iyangala intombazane eShawela
Hawu! inyangala intombazana,
Womama! (repeat)

Ngeke kulunga mina
Ngiphuma leNatali, Thandiwe mama

Hawu inyangala intombazana Womama
Mina ngiphuma leNatali, Thandiwe mama





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