The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162101   Message #3855998
Posted By: Joe Offer
20-May-17 - 01:54 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Asikatali / Azikatali
Subject: Lyr Add: Asikatali

Asikatali (Lead: Asikatal') no masiya bozh' (Basses: Bozhwa)
Sizimiseli nkululeko (2x)
Unzima lomtwalo
Ufuna madoda (2x)

Tina bantwan baseh Afrik' (Basses: Afrika)
Sizimiseli nkululeko (2x)
Unzima lomtwalo
Ufuna madoda (2x)

Singable English Translation:

Oh we don't care if we go to jail
It is for freedom that we gladly go (2x)
A heavy load, a heavy load!
And it will lake some real strength (2x)

Oh the children of Africa
Are determined to be free
A heavy load, a heavy load
And it will take some real strength

"Asikatali" is one of the many freedom songs that have been composed during South Africa's (Azania) struggle for independence and national liberation from its colonial settler rule. It was brought to the U.S. in 1959 by Mary Louise Hooper who had lived in South Africa for several years. She became acquainted with leaders of the African National Congress, and was forced to leave the country for her anti-apartheid activities.
"Asikatali" was widely sung on picket lines and at demonstrations in South Africa. It was also picked up and popularized by the civil rights movement in the 60's, since the song's refrain is equally applicable here. The origin of African freedom songs is similar to that of many civil rights songs. A good number of the early African freedom songs were adaptations of church hymns and prayers with words changed to reflect political demands and changing consciousness.
The situation in South Africa has now intensified. In a recent wave of repression, seventeen major Black organizations have been banned, the largest Black-read newspaper closed down and its editor jailed, and coordinated police strikes in major cities imprisoned hundreds of leaders of the Black consciousness movement. This crackdown occurred within a month after the police murder of Steven Biko, founder of the South African Students Organization (SASO) and deeply respected leader of the Black consciousness movement. But repression breeds resistance. In a recent television program documenting the life and work of Steven Biko, the people's determination for freedom was shown through their response to his murder. The funeral turned into a militant march of 20,000 people. And 'Asikatali" was one of the many songs sung during this program.
Other South African freedom songs can be heard on an album called This Land Is Mine:' South African Freedom Songs (Folkways FH 5588, 43 West 61 St.' NY). They were recorded in 1965 by South African refugees in Tanganyika, many of whom were members of the African National Congress which is now banned. Hopefully, in the future we'll be able to print some of the newer songs, too.

Source: Sing Out! Magazine, Vol 26, No 3, 1977, pp 30-31