Today marks eight years since the world lost the Queen of modern Zulu music. Here are five of her best songs selected by Khulisile Nkhushubana.
1. Uganga nge Ngane (Album: UrbanZulu) – “uyisonka elinjani…lishela nge mali” roughly translated this means what kind of player are you, if you use your money to get women. This line has stuck with me from the first time I heard the song because it was the first time I heard a truly, tribally, African women questioning the unprogressive behaviours of man. Questioning patriarchy with calm and the sternest of Table Mountain, with prophetic undertones.
2. Yehlisani’umoya Ma-Afrika (Album: UrbanZulu) – “kodwa kade madoda…si bulalana sodwa…wa phele laphi unembeza…sibulalana sodwa” I do not believe the construct of Pan-Africanism will be operationalized in my life time. Should it ever happen, Africans will have to stop killing Africans, plain and simple. In this joint you can hear the pain in Mam’ Busi’s voice, as she begs us to lower our anger and stop the ridiculousness of black on black violence.
3. Sonke Siyamangala (Album: Freedom) – for me, there are very few things in this world which are more beautiful than the sincere proclamation of love through an African voice. Growing up in an environment where public displays of affection are taboo, it blew my mind to hear Mam’ Busi expressing her love for a man in Zulu, which is a culture were the objectification of women occurs far more often than the objectification of man. This joint clearly made me understand that desire is bidirectional in the dichotomy of heterosexual romantic relations.
4. Yapheli’mali Yami (Album: UrbanZulu) – I smile when hear this joint, the fact women have been crying about men not returning there massages from day one is just funny to me. Before Whatsapp, Mixit, cell phones and telephones, there was hand written letters which had to be sent via the post office for a price. Mam’ Busi is scolding her lover in this joint, shouting at him that she has finished her money writing to him why does he not answer. The more things change the more they stay the same.
5. Tingi Tingi (Album: Babhemu) – Women generally value security above most things, Mam’Busi was no different. In this joint she makes it clear that her fellow workers must leave her money alone and keep it for her when she is not around to collect it. This is another humorous joint because as fans we often idolize our favourite artist thinking that they have transcended their humanity. Mam’ Busi always made it clear that she was just human from day one, always honestly sharing her vulnerabilities in her music. Which makes most of people feel like they knew her personally even if they didn’t.
What are some of your favourite songs by Busi Mhlongo?
Image source: Medium