Nzima: A lesson from the ‘Dana Ministry on Social Commentary’

By Thato Magano (@pothaeto)

As a disciple of the ‘Dana Ministry on Social Commentary’, I have listened to this single countless times since its release and it has seen me through many a dark moment of reflection. The song is a  remake of a classic struggle song, with the infusion of a house beat by Producer, Oscar ‘Oskido’ Mdlongwa. What Simphiwe brings to the song is a modernity and relevance that needs interrogation by present day ‘activists’ on the condition of the ‘man in the green jacket’ and how the system is serving him.

Available on: iTunes, Deezer

As a seemingly ordained successor to the legacy of apartheid era social activists, Simphiwe Dana has always chosen the road less travelled in exploring her sound and musicality. With her latest single, Nzima, from her highly anticipated album, she manages to ask a society grappling with its identity as well as the societal agreement we entered into at the start of democracy: “What is it that we have done? Why is it this way? Why is our burden so heavy on this earth, God Almighty?”

According to Ms Dana, the song is a “prayer to the Marikana tragedy of 2012”, but offered in a mainstream medium that is palatable across the different social strata in post-apartheid South Africa.

As a disciple of the ‘Dana Ministry on Social Commentary’, I have listened to this single countless times since its release and it has seen me through many a dark moment of reflection. The song is a  remake of a classic struggle song, with the infusion of a house beat by Producer, Oscar ‘Oskido’ Mdlongwa. What Simphiwe brings to the song is a modernity and relevance that needs interrogation by present day ‘activists’ on the condition of the ‘man in the green jacket’ and how the system is serving him. Listening to this song my mind is flooded with images of a dance floor packed with swaying waistlines, led into a trance by the haunting voice and narrative of the message in the song. If there was any doubt as to Simphiwe continuing on the legacy of the likes of Miriam Makeba, with Nzima, she has sought to end the debate and let the music speak on her behalf.

 

FURTHER READING/WATCHING:

79 Comments
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