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Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'

DigiTrad:
TSHOTSHOLOSA


Related threads:
Chord Req: Shosholoza (2)
(origins) Origins: Shosholoza (19)
Lyr Req: Shololoza (7)
Lyr Req: Cho Cho Losa (7)
Lyr Req: Cho cho losa/sho sho losa (7)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Somagwaza (from Pete Seeger's Incompleat Folksinger)
Somagwaza (Harmony) (from Pete Seeger's Incompleat Folksinger)


chico 26 Mar 05 - 11:30 PM
Joe Offer 27 Mar 05 - 02:54 AM
rich-joy 27 Mar 05 - 07:06 PM
Joe Offer 28 Mar 05 - 12:37 AM
AggieD 28 Mar 05 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,Mrr 28 Mar 05 - 09:06 AM
GUEST,Azizi 28 Mar 05 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Joe Offer 28 Mar 05 - 10:25 PM
GUEST,Azizi 29 Mar 05 - 12:24 AM
GUEST,Azizi 29 Mar 05 - 12:33 AM
GUEST,Azizi 29 Mar 05 - 12:54 AM
rich-joy 29 Mar 05 - 09:18 PM
Joe Offer 31 Mar 05 - 05:05 AM
Azizi 31 Mar 05 - 08:39 AM
rich-joy 31 Mar 05 - 06:07 PM
Joe Offer 01 Apr 05 - 12:36 AM
Azizi 01 Apr 05 - 02:41 PM
oombanjo 01 Apr 05 - 03:11 PM
oombanjo 01 Apr 05 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,Mrr 01 Apr 05 - 03:28 PM
oombanjo 02 Apr 05 - 10:59 AM
GUEST,A Xhosa Boy- This is LONG..Patience please 23 Apr 07 - 06:32 AM
Azizi 23 Apr 07 - 07:51 AM
Azizi 23 Apr 07 - 08:21 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Apr 07 - 02:13 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Apr 07 - 02:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Apr 07 - 05:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Apr 07 - 05:58 PM
GUEST 23 Jul 08 - 02:07 AM
GUEST,Masumi 31 Aug 17 - 01:00 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Batu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: chico
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 11:30 PM

Bizarre request: I've got the peter paul and mary english translation of the song SOMAGWAZA, is there the actual bantu original words (no english) in existence? Thanks

(peter paul mary below E Major:)

    E            B7   E
Ha Weh Ha Weh, Somagwaza

Somagwaza ma yo-weh yo-weh

He Ma Yo-Weh, He Ma Yo-Weh

Somagwaza

       E                   B7
|: My mother travelled to Pretoria
                               E
to buy the license for the wedding day :|
E       B7            E             B7            E
Hey, Motswala, hey Motswala, hey, Motswala, hey Motswala

My father wants to give the bride away
but I think he's waiting for a dowry
My father wants to give the bride away
but I think he's waiting for a dowry
Hey, Motswala, hey Motswala, hey Motswala, hey Motswala

Now the time has come, I have to go;
I wish perhaps I had not hurried so
Now the time has come, I have to go;
I wish perhaps I had not hurried so
Hey, Motswala, hey Motswala, hey Motswala, hey Motswala


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 02:54 AM

Hi, Chico - it's in Pete Seeger's Incompleat Folksinger, chorus (with tune) only. Apparently, though, it came from a book called Choral Folksongs of the Bantu, by Williams and Maselwa, published in 1960 by G. Schirmer.
I gather from the PP&M Website that the song comes from the Williams/Maselwa book, and that Pete Seeger wrote the translation of the verses - so maybe the Williams/Maselwa book has the Bantu lyrics.
So, now all we have to do is find the Williams/Maselwa book....
Great song, isn't it?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: rich-joy
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 07:06 PM

This sounds like the song that I learnt in Frankie Armstrong Voice Workshops as one sung by the women upon the return of the young men from their manhood ceremonies and that was reputed to mean something along the lines of "the boy who has found his own stick, no longer neeeds his mother" ...

Works great as an overlayed audience participation song.

I'm very interested to know more about this now!!!

Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Mar 05 - 12:37 AM

I've found recordings of this song on Peter, Paul & Mommy, Too (1993), on a Sweet Honey in the Rock CD called I Got Shoes and on a Pete Seeger CD called Sing-a-Long. Only the PP&M CD has verses, and they don't seem to quite fit the basic song. The Seeger recording is especially good - his audience sounds wonderful when they sing it.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: AggieD
Date: 28 Mar 05 - 06:31 AM

Found this on the Oxford University press site:Voiceworks2

Somagwaza
Part 1
Ha weh, Ha weh somagwaza. (repeat)

Part 2
Somagwaza m'na yo weh yo weh. (repeat)

Part 3
Hey m'na yo weh, Hey m'na yo weh somagwaza. (repeat)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 28 Mar 05 - 09:06 AM

Please note that in most Bantu languages, the word "Bantu" is an insult! I think the linguists asked what those people were speaking over there...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: GUEST,Azizi
Date: 28 Mar 05 - 11:47 AM

Mrr,

I am interested in knowing the source{s} for your comment that in most Bantu languages, the word "Bantu" is an insult".

Here is a quote from the well regarded book on African culture, Janheinz Jahn, "Muntu, The New African Culture" {New York, Grove Press, 1968; originally published in German in 1958}:

"In his exposition of the philosophy of the Bantu of Ruanda,[Alexis]Kangame starts from his mother tongue of Kinyanuanda. Like all Bantu languages, it is a language of classification, that is, the substantives are not divided as they are in German into grammatical gendres but are grouped into kinds or classes. There are classes for human beings, for things animated by magic, including trees, for tools, fluids, animals, places abstractions and so forth....So we get in simplifed form four basic concepts which are to be explained in what follows:
I. Muntu = 'human being' {plural: Bantu];
II. Kintu = 'thing' {plural: Bintu};
III.Hantu = 'place and time';
IV. Kuntu = modality

Muntu, Kintu, Hantu, and Kuntu are the four categories of African philosphy. All being, all essence, in what ever form it is conceived, can be subsumed under one of these categories. Nothing can be conceived outside them...Everything there is must necessarily belong to one of these four categories and must be conceived of not as substance but as force. Man is a force, all things are force, place an time are forces and the 'modalities' ae forces. Man and woman {category Muntu}, dog and stone {category Kintu}, east and yesterday {category Hantu}; and beauty and laughter {category Kuntu} are forces and as such are all related to each other. The relationship of these forces is expressed by their very names, for if we remove the determinative the stem NYU is the same for all caegories...NTU is Being itself, the cosmic universal force..."
{pp.100-101}

end of quote..

Music, dance, theater, art are part of the 'Kuntu' category.
It so happens that Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania {where I have lived for 35 years} has one of the oldest-if not the oldest- continuously existing African American theater groups associated with a university. The group's name is 'Kuntu Reperatory Theater'.


Azizi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: GUEST,Joe Offer
Date: 28 Mar 05 - 10:25 PM

I had heard that "Bantu" was no longer considered acceptable because it was a term coined by white settlers who could not exactly understand African languages. I looked quite extensively, and couldn't find andything to verify that it was considered insulting.
The Encyclopedia Britannica uses the word to describe both the language and peoples of southern Africa. Maybe it's just a small group that has declared the term objectionable. It seems that nowadays, you can't open your mouth without offending somebody.

In my view, nothing is completely pure and unblemished in its evolution - and especially language. Therefore, perhaps we need to learn not to be too fussy, lest we end up living in a sterile, homogenized world with no diversity and nothing at all that's interesting.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: GUEST,Azizi
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 12:24 AM

I am gratiful for Mrr for introducing the discussion of the origin of the term Bantu. In my online search to find out more about this term I lucked up on an online reproduction of the 1933 book "The Myths & Legends of the Bantu" by Alice Werner.

As an African storyteller and person interested in African cultures, I'm simply thrilled at the information found in that site! For me it's like Christmas and Kwanzaa in March!!

Here is the link if you also want to go exploring ;O)

Bantu term

And Joe, while I agree with you that no language is pure, I believe that fact does not negate the interest in and importance of etymology-the study of word origins and meanings.

In the case of 'Bantu', I still believe that it is a referent that comes from African language or languages and was later popularized by Whites as a referent for a racial group and their languages.
BTW: It is my custom to capitolize "Black" and "White" but I'm aware that these words aren't usually capitolized.

The taboo may be in using the term 'Bantu' as a term to refer to a race, instead of a term referring to a particularly large category of languages that share similarities. As this online book and others point out, there are diverse ethnic groups that are part of the 'Bantu racial' category. I suppose it's almost like [the same as?} saying 'European' without understanding that there are multiple ethnic groups within that generic term.

See this excerpt from that website:
"African experts may discover some inconsistency in the rendering of tribal names. One ought, I suppose, either to use the vernacular plural in every case, as in Basuto, Amandebele, Anyanja, or to discard the prefix and add an English plural, as in Zulus (too familiar a form to be dropped); but it did not seem possible to attain consistency throughout. …

It may not be superfluous to point out that the person-class in the Bantu languages has, in the singular, the prefix mu- (sometimes umu- or omu-, and sometimes shortened into m-) and, in the plural, ba- (aba-, va-, ova-, a-). The prefix ama- or ma-, sometimes found with tribal names, belongs to a different class. It is probably a plural of multitude (or 'collective plural'), which has displaced the ordinary form.

BANTU is now the generally accepted name for those natives of South Africa (the great majority) who are neither Hottentots nor Bushmen-that is to say, mainly, the Zulus, Xosas (Kafirs), Basuto, and Bechuana -to whom may be added the Thongas (Shangaans) of the Delagoa Bay region and the people of Southern Rhodesia, commonly, though incorrectly, called Mashona.

Abantu is the Zulu word for 'people' (in Sesuto batho, and in Herero ovandu) which was adopted by Bleek, at the suggestion of Sir George Grey, as the name for the great family of languages now known to cover practically the whole southern half of Africa. It had already been ascertained, by more than one scholar, that there was a remarkable resemblance between the speech of these South African peoples and that of the Congo natives on the one hand and of the Mozambique natives on the other. It was left for Bleek-who spent the last twenty years of his life at the Cape-to study these languages from a scientific point of view and systematize what was already known about them. His Comparative Grammar of South African Languages, though left unfinished when he died, in 1875, is the foundation of all later work done in this subject.

The Bantu languages possess a remarkable degree of uniformity. They may differ considerably in vocabulary, and to a certain extent in pronunciation, but their grammatical structure is, in its main outlines, everywhere the same. But to speak of a 'Bantu race' is misleading. The Bantu-speaking peoples vary greatly in physical type: some of them hardly differ from some of the 'Sudanic'-speaking[1] Negroes of West Africa (who, again, are by no means all of one pattern), while others show a type which has been [incomplete]

[1. Most of these languages, which had long seemed to be a hopeless chaos, have been found to belong to one family, called by Professor Westermann the 'Sudanic.' Typical members of this family are Twi (spoken in the Gold Coast Colony), Ewe, and Yoruba.]
-snip-

At any rate, I'm going to have fun reading and studying this book and encourage others to also do so!

Here is the Index for that book:
I. INTRODUCTORY
II. WHERE MAN CAME FROM, AND HOS DEATH CAME
III. LEGENDS OF THE HIGH GODS
IV. THE HEAVEN COUNTRY AND THE HEAVEN PEOPLE
V. MORTALS WHO HAVE ASCENDED TO HEAVEN
VI. THE GHOSTS AND THEGHOST COUNTRY
VII. THE AVENGER OF BLOOD
VIII. HEROES AND DEMI-GODS
IX. THE WAKILINDI SAGA
X. THE STORY OF LIONGO FUOMO
XI. THE TRICKSTERS HLAKANYANA ANDHUVEANE
XII. THE AMAZIMU
XIII. OF WERE-WOLVES,HALF-MEN, GNOMES, GOBLINS, AND OTHER MONSTERS
XIV. THE SWALLOWING MONSTER
XV. LIGHTNING, THUNDER, RAIN, AND THERAINBOW
XVI. DOCTORS, PROPHETS, AND WITCHES
XVII. BRER RABBIT IN AFRICA
XVIII. LEGENDS OF THETORTOISE
XIX STORIES OF SOME OTHER ANIMALS
XX. SOME STORIES WHICH HAVE TRAVELLED
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX


Enjoy!!


Azizi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: GUEST,Azizi
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 12:33 AM

I'd like to call particular attention to this passage from the Alice Werner book:

"It may not be superfluous to point out that the person-class in the Bantu languages has, in the singular, the prefix mu- (sometimes umu- or omu-, and sometimes shortened into m-) and, in the plural, ba- (aba-, va-, ova-, a-). The prefix ama- or ma-, sometimes found with tribal names, belongs to a different class. It is probably a plural of multitude (or 'collective plural'), which has displaced the ordinary form."

This is consistent with Jahn's information on the Muntu and Bantu categories that I posted earlier.

BTW, I probably should have given the link to the Werner book a different name as that website/book is much more about Bantu cultures than it is about the term 'Bantu'.

And by "Bantu cultures" I mean the cultures of the Bantu speaking peoples of South Africa who migrated there whenever from wherever..[after I read this and other texts "I'll understand it better by and by"

:O)


Azizi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: GUEST,Azizi
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 12:54 AM

CORRECTION

Let me apologize for that incomplete sentence from the excerpt above. It was divided in that text by a quote, and is completely given here:

"The Bantu-speaking peoples vary greatly in physical type: some of them hardly differ from some of the 'Sudanic'-speaking[1] Negroes of West Africa (who, again, are by no means all of one pattern), while others show a type which has been accounted for by a probable 'Hamitic' invasion from the north.

Of course this leads to the question 'What is the meaning of the term "Hamitic"?' I was astonished to find this term being defined in a number of online sites as as 'Caucasoid'..

Sorry, that's not what I've read elsewhere..the Biblical referents to Noah's sons Shem, Ham {Cham}, and Japeth point to the meaning of the term "Hamitic". Shem, of course is the origin of the term 'Semitic', and Ham of 'Hamitic'.

But since that is a WHOLE 'nuther discussion that include the notion of the curse of Ham and umpteen other issues, I won't even go there in this thread {but in a way, I already did, didn't I?}

;O)

Later!

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: rich-joy
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 09:18 PM

errrmmmm ...

any more info on the song, anyone?

Cheers! R-J


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Subject: ADD: Somagwaza (lyrics & tune)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 05:05 AM

Thanks for the reminder, Rich. In his Incompleat Folksinger, Pete Seeger says nothing about the verses. He says he adapted the song from a book called African Folk Songs, a 1947 book by Joseph Maselwa and Rev. H.C.N. Williams. the book was republished in the U.S. in 1960 as Choral Folksongs of the Bantu.

In the introduction to the song, Seeger says:
    At the end of the Abakweta period of initiation, the boys wash off the ceremonial clay from their bodies. they leave their huts on the hillside, and run down to the river to wash, singing this song as they go. this song is usually interrupted by various types of "war cries" of the "question and answer" type."

Here is Seeger's interpretation of the lyrics. I have them marked parts 1, 2, and 3, and they are played in that order on the first MIDI. the second MIDI puts them together.
    Somagwaza

    So-ma gwa-za mna yo weh, yo weh
    So-ma gwa-za mna yo weh, yo weh
    So-ma gwa-za mna yo weh, yo weh
    So-ma gwa-za.

    Hey mna yo weh,
    Hey mna yo weh,
    So-ma gwa-za
    Hey mna yo weh,
    Hey mna yo weh,
    So-ma gwa-za
    Hey mna yo weh,
    Hey mna yo weh,
    So-ma gwa-za

    Ha-weh, ha-weh so-ma gwa-za.
    Ha-weh, ha-weh so-ma gwa-za.
    Ha-weh, ha-weh so-ma gwa-za.
    Ha-weh, ha-weh so-ma gwa-za.

Click to play


Click to play (harmony)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 08:39 AM

I just KNOW that I have or had a CD somewhere of this song. Or maybe I heard it performed somewhere.

Does anyone know if Sweet Honey In The Rock ever performed this song? [yes-see above]

Also three or more years ago I had the experience of seeing a live performance of the South African show 'Gumboots'-I consider it one of THE BEST dance/singing shows that I ever saw.

I'm glad that I bought a CD of that show even before the first number was performed. At least I know where that CD is. One of the songs on the "Gumboots" CD is called 'Shosholoza'. The credit for rhis song is given as 'traditional'.

'Shosholoza' sounds similar to the Midis for 'Somagwaza', and both are slow and call & response [which admittedly describes a whole lot of songs]. Unfortunately, no lyrics are given for any song on the "Gumboots" CD and as I can't speak the language [Xhosa? Zulu?],
I can't tell what they are saying..but it sounds sad.

****

Well I just re-read the notes to the CD which indicate that 'Shosholoza' is a traditional working song [of the gold mine workers???] so I guess this isn't the same song as 'Somagwaza.'

I will still submit this post as some might be interested in picking up the "Gumboots" CD. It's a well done CD that presents the story of South African men who worked in the mines and developed the percussive gum boots foot stomps as a means of communicating with each other. The addition of metal bottle caps worn around the ankles for social peformances results in a highly percussive dance style that is so remarkably similar to African American university Greek letter fraternity & sorority 'steppin' that some people insists that African Americans got 'steppin' from South Africans {who in the early 20th century were enrolled in colleges in the USA}..
Maybe, maybe not...but that's a whole 'nuther subject...



Azizi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: rich-joy
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 06:07 PM

Yes, I well remember a most favourite track on a favourite album "John Peel's Archive Things" from many years ago, where he gathered all sorts of interesting music from all over the world from within the BBC Archives - and it featured miners from the Robinson(?) mine in South Africa, doing a wellington boot dance!! Great track!!!

So thanks for that "Gumboost" CD info, Azizi!

Cheers! R-J


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Subject: ADD: Shosholoza
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 12:36 AM

Aziai, Sweet Honey in the Rock recorded a children's version of "Somagwaza" on a CD called I Got Shoes. The other recordigns I found were from Pete Seeger and from Peter, Paul and Mary.
This Gumboots site has lyrics and translation for "Shosholoza." I thought I heard it sung by Pete Seeger or some other American folkie, but I can't find it.
-Joe Offer-

Shosholoza

Shosholoza (shosholoza)
Kulezo ntaba stimela zaseSouth Afrika
Wen(a) uyabaleka (wen' uyabaleka)
kulezo ntaba stimela zaseSouth Afrika
(repeat)

Qubula zasha! (Qubula zasha)


Kwenze njani?
Thula washiya! (washiya!)
Thuta amabhakede Iza!


Translation

Move fast
on those mountains
train from South Afrika.
You are running away
on those mountains
train from South Afrika.



Up it goes (up it goes)

What is wrong?
Be quiet! Leave behind
Move the buckets. Come!



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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 02:41 PM

Thanks Joe for finding the words to "Shosholoza" and also posting the link to the Gumboots website!

And also thanks for reminding me where I heard Somagwaza before.
I know have that Sweet Honey In The Rock children's CD [somewhere].
I gotta get my CD's better organized..

Well if my life was better organized, I guess my CDs would be too!

:O)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: oombanjo
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 03:11 PM

Joe and all, I am no longer fluent in zulu, but if oldtimers has not yet set in, (gwaza) is to drink, and puza is to get drunk, puzila is to get fall down drunk.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: oombanjo
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 03:20 PM

Another take on this.I was working on (KYARA) a mission over there and on one occasion on a very hot day frikky said wenna gwaza. I was swetting


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 03:28 PM

Wow, this got interesting fast...

My origin was when I was taking a linguistic field methods class, we had an informant who spoke a Bantu language, and we would ask for words for Mother, father etc, learning to be field linguists. Whenever we referred to Bantu languages he would look upset, and finally he stood up (he was seated facing us) and said Why do you keep calling these languages Bantu languages? And the professor said, because that is the term for this family of languages. He was very, very upset, and said that that was terrible because Bantu is an insult in all three of the languages in that family that he spoke, that as far as he knew it was an insult in all of them, and how dare the linguists use that term. We were all very, very apologetic and never used the term Bantu again within that class, using instead the KiSwahili family of languages.

I still think that some linguist early one asked some informant what was being spoken by a neighboring tribe and was told "some Bantu language" - meaning some )*&%)%) language - but the linguist thought it was the word for that family of language.

Reminds me of the fact that something very close to "abidjan" in one of the languages spoken near Abidjan in Ivory Coast where I grew up means "Go away, I'm fishing" - apparently the answer when the explorer asked What is that town over there!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: oombanjo
Date: 02 Apr 05 - 10:59 AM

Sorry not to let this one go but I bumped into a friend today from kwazulu. and asked him re the original thread, (somagwaza).GWAZA to stick or to stab, As there are more tenses in Zulu then there are in Latin without seing the context of the verse thats all he can give.I asked about the incident with me, and he said, in that context Frikki was having a joke ie. I have been punctured in many places.Also that the word GWAZA is TSOTSI TAAL the lingo of the bad boys.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: GUEST,A Xhosa Boy- This is LONG..Patience please
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 06:32 AM

Hey all, I had a good laugh reading all these postings. I laughed because of the different directions the discussion goes. Anyway, here is my contribution: Somagwaza is a Xhosa song sung mostly by men when the initiates go and/or return from the mountains.[Mountains is now a generic term referring to the place where boys stay during their initiation period, ie their rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. In some parts of South Africa, the 'monuntain' can even be a few meters from the family's homstead].Right now nothing is necessarily literal about the mountain, even though in some parts, people can still have the boys secluded. Traditionally, initiates are not to freely roam and be seen by people, more so women. In the 'mountain' far away from people, that they can do.

The lyrics are:

Leader/Call: Somagwaza ndizakugwaza ngalo mkhonto,
Response: Yho/(He) ha,
Leader: Iyo-ho-ho
Response: Yho/(He) ha...

Roughly, this means Somagwaza (I am not sure who this is, but it is a referent to a person)I will stab/cut you with the spear. The rest of the lyrics are more of exclamations.

Within the context of the ritual in which this song is sung, it might be the surgeon (usually the old man who performs the circumcision). Or it could be the surgeon referring to the boys on whom the cut will be performed. (the latter makes more sense).

The complexity in finding clear meaning in Xhosa songs at times lies in the multiplicity of 'speakers' within a song or even a single line. At times one has to really have a good sense of what might be going on to get the subtlety (if not untangle the confusion) in meaning.

So, as Peete Seeger wrote this song, the rhythm is competely incorrect as it does not fit the text that would otherwise be used with this song... And my suspicion is that the people from whose book he got the song, they did not speak the language themselves. As it stands, the Seeger version sound to me like singing Silent Night or the happy birthday tune, forget both the tune and the lyrics and then just figure out how you get to the end, more so when you do not even know the language! So, imagine the shock we as English speakers might get when we get such versions of the two songs.

Usually, the song is slow and sung solemnly. Rhythmically, it is more like most songs sung by women in their dance called umngqungqo. (Google up Dave Dargie's book on Xhosa music to get what all this is). What is not clear to me is the recurrence of the root word 'gwaza' which is a verb meaning 'stab/cut' in other 'Bantu' languages such as KiSwahili. I cannot comment on what 'wena gwaza' means. In Xhosa it would literally mean (wena-you, gwaza-stab). Without understanding the full context, this does not make much sense. Maybe the workd was about cutting something?

I now shift the discussion to the offensiveness of the word Bantu. Someone commented about Bantu being a plural for people. Yes, in Xhosa and Zulu, possibly Swazi and Ndebele, it is that. However, the B is not sounded in the same way as the 'b' in a ball. I have no other language equivalent to make this clear. Why linguists decided to call a large group of people in Central and Southern Africa 'Bantu', while all of humanity is literally 'abantu-human beings' is not clear. Yes, there is a cosmological connection to the idea that the geneology of (at least Xhosa people) is linked to a first man, a father of most nations called Ntu (that beiing the root word in the noun 'abantu'). Perhaps linguists might know this better.

However, the South African apartheid regime used the word Bantu in ways that were downright derogatory for all the Black people. The various ethnicities ceased to exist as various linguistic referents and were collectiviely called Bantu. If you listen to Hendrik Verwoed's speech (pobably available on the net) on his justification for apartheid, you hear the word Bantu repeated so many times that it assumes decidedly problematic connotations. I think the video Amandla! Revolution in Four Part Harmony also carries a clip where the word. In fact, I think the same speech is shown there!!

I am curious to read other reactions to this posting. Please bear in mind, in 2007, a lot of 'expert knowledge' from the scholars of the past century on African culture has come under close scrutiny. Therefore, their 'expert knowledge' is faulted and strongly criticised by postcolonial and postmodern scholars...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 07:51 AM

Finally-a post from a person who originally from South Africa or has lived for some time in South Africa as per his screen name "Xhosa boy" [though if you are really Xhosa, and you are male, and are as adult as your words sound, in the context of contemporary USA, you would not refer to yourself as "boy" as this has negative racist connotations. Instead, to avoid those you probably would have named yourself "Xhosa man"] ...

Cultural connotations notwithstanding, THANK YOU for your comments, poster 23 Apr 07 - 06:32 AM for your explanation of the meaning of the song and the information you've shared about the meanings of the word "Bantu".

You wrote:
"Why linguists decided to call a large group of people in Central and Southern Africa 'Bantu', while all of humanity is literally 'abantu-human beings' is not clear."

From the standpoint of a Xhosa {with recognition of the fact that you more speak for all Xhosas than I speak for all African Americans}, would you please clarify whether you consider accurate or inaccurate the information presented in my posts of 28 Mar 05 - 11:47 AM about the terms used in the book "Muntu, The New African Culture" {Janheinz Jahn,New York, Grove Press, 1968; originally published in German in 1958} and 29 Mar 05 - 12:24 AM [about the 1933 book "The Myths & Legends of the Bantu" by Alice Werner]?

Also, poster I hope that you stick around and continue posting on Mudcat {perhaps with another name than "Xhosa boy" but of course, that is your choice}.

Thanks again, and best wishes!

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 08:21 AM

Sorry, I wrote my last posting hastily as I should have been preparing to get to work on time and I'm already late and I'll work later because of that. But I need to at least correct this sentence:

"From the standpoint of a Xhosa {with recognition of the fact that you no more speak for all Xhosas than I speak for all African Americans}, would you please clarify whether you consider accurate or inaccurate the information presented in my posts of 28 Mar 05 - 11:47 AM about the terms used in the book "Muntu, The New African Culture" {Janheinz Jahn,New York, Grove Press, 1968; originally published in German in 1958} and 29 Mar 05 - 12:24 AM [about the 1933 book "The Myths & Legends of the Bantu" by Alice Werner]?"

If I understood your comment correctly, 'abantu' means the same as the words "human beings". If that is so, it's inaccurate to use the word "Bantu" to refer to specific ethnic groups of human beings from Central and Southern Africa and not to other human beings. Is that what you were saying? If so, what group referent would you suggest using as a catch all referent for groups of people [and for languages] that are now referred to as "Bantu"?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 02:13 PM

Far above (post by AggieD, 28 Mar 05) reference is made to the song's lyrics as they appear in "Voiceworks 2." Lyrics to several other African songs are also given.

There are several of these books by Peter Hunt, published by Oxford Press. Some are for children.
http://www.oup.co.uk/music/educ/voiceworks/
Voiceworks

Is anyone at Mudcat familiar with these songbooks? Do they include reference and source material?

Some very different versions of African-American folk material are included- are these compositions-revisions by Peter Hunt or have they a source?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 02:47 PM

A Xhosa Boy-
Thanks for posting to Mudcat. I hope that you will join us as a member.
Many comments about African music and Africa have appeared here; I am sure that you could help, particularly with material from your area. Your comments on the Government website also would be welcome.

Looking at the official South African website, eleven official languages are listed:
Afrikaans, English, isNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho sa Leboa, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga.
isiZulu is listed as the mother tongue of 23.8% of the population, followed by isiXhosa (17.6%), Afrikaans (13.3%), Sesotho sa Leboa (9.4%), and English and Setswana (8.2% each).
The website has a section "Arts and culture," which is informative, although brief.
A good place to dive into this site is:
http://www.info.gov.za/aboutsa/landpeople.htm
South Africa


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 05:30 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 05:58 PM

Dave Dargle, mentioned by Guest A Xhosa Boy, wrote the book "Xhosa Music, its Techniques and Instruments, with a Collection of Songs."
Published by David Philip, Cape Town, 1988, in paperback, it now seems to be rare.
Has it been reprinted, or are there reasonably-priced copies available?

A few southern African songs, including two Xhosa songs, may be heard here:
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/africa/explore/southern_music_lo.html
southern Africa

Dave Dargle provides music and description of a Xhosa song, a click song, in the Talking Drum, Sing a Xhosa Song, p. 11.
http://aboutdisa.ukzn.ac.za/samap/TDnewsno8nov1997/tdnewsno8nov1997.pdf
Talking Drum


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jul 08 - 02:07 AM

I learned that it was a boy's rite-of-passage into manhood ceremony song from my Ghanain professor.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
From: GUEST,Masumi
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 01:00 PM

Some people asked about Sweet Honey and the Rock performing Somagwaza. I can't answer to that, but I wanted to direct people to Ysaye Barnwell's instructional materials, singing in the African American tradition. http://www.ymbarnwell.com/instructional.php. I learned the song from her materials in that collection, I found the it to be incredibly helpful.


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