Here are Zulu & Sotho lyrics + translation for Sarafina songs
I don't think anybody has posted complete lyrics for the Sarafina songs Sechaba and Safa Isizwe - my friends Whoopi, Frederick and others have been asking since 2002! So here is my attempt. At least you will be able to sing these now, but I need help to finish the translation! I know some siZulu, but not nearly as much as I would like. And I know even less seSotho. (I'm a whitey from Joburg but left SA when I was 15.)
The first half of Sechaba is in seSotho, second half and the chorus is in siZulu. I have written all the vowels as for siZulu, because vowels in seSotho are written differently, and it would be really confusing for someone wanting to learn how to sing these. (Which I think is why you guys are asking for Zulu/Sotho lyrics! Right?!)
a as the u in under
e as the e in egg
i as the i in ink
o as the o in more
u as the u in pull
th = t (but aspirated)
ph = p (but aspirated)
kh = k (but aspirated)
tsh = tch
kg = k followed by Afrikaans g or Scottish ch
Iyo, siyelele Mama! - u helele! x 4
[Oh Mother, we are under attack! u helele]
*** SOTHO PART ***
Siyalila sichaba, dikgomo difedile - u helele!
[The nation is crying, the cattle are gone]
Bafedile li bopapa batsware tsi dibasa - u helele!
[And the old men are gone, captured by ?]
Sitimela sibatsedi bafele tsi johane - u helele!
Basimani basitsana batshabi le Soweto - u helele!
[only boys and girls left in Soweto]
Masiya li basadi batsatsi balibangwe - u helele!
Kang libaneng matata a-Afrika - u helele!
[... troubles of Africa]
Iyo! Siyelele Mama! - u helele!
**** ZULU PART ***
Mus' ukukhuluma ma kanyana
[Don't talk (?)]
Sesizwil' ukuthi usebenzel' izitha - u helele!
[We heard that you are being used by the enemy]
Idlozi livukile! Masibuyel' emakhaya! - u helele!
[The spirits of our ancestors have awakened! Lets return home!]
Iyo! Siyelele Mama! - u helele!
Nanga maphoyis' adlase liDlamini!
[There are the police, raiding Dlamini!]
Emgodini weGoli amadoda aphelile
[In the mines of Johannesburg the men die]
Asikwazi lokho, buyel' emakhaya!
[We don't know what to do, return home!]
Abantwana bayakhala, ubisi luphelile
[The children are crying, the milk is finished]
Abatsotsi bezimpimpi ziyakhathaza
[We are tired from the informers' bandits]
Yibuhlungu, madoda! le ndaba yaseAfrika
[It is pain, guys! This situation in Africa]
SAFA ISIZWE [The nation is dying]
O safa, saphel' isizw' esimnyama
O safa isizwe sabantsundu
Anitshelen' inkokheli zethu zisilamulele kuloludaba"
[The Black nation is dying
The African nation is dying
Who will lead us to the day of freedom?*]
* This is from the movie subtitles, I think - which is poetic and sounds good, but the direct translation is: "You don't say who our leader is who will rescue us from this trouble"
"It was always like that in our school. Oneness. Imbumba. Those days went down bitter and sore, with the presence of the army and police, not only in our school yard, but right inside our classrooms. Those were the days of anger, the days of panic and fear. The days when our brothers and sisters disappeared into the police cells.
Others came back, and others never came back. We were told others hanged themselves in the police cells in detention. And others slipped in the showers and died! And again we were told others tried to escape by jumping from the top floor of the interrogation room at John Vorster Square*. Their bones were found scattered in the streets of Johannesburg. Others never recovered from the electric shocks of the interrogation room. Up to this day, they are lunatics.
Well, coming back to school [after being in detenion] - the school was about to close at the end of the year, and there was going to be a big function, a farewell concert for those who would be lucky enough to go to varsity. Parents had been invited, friends had been invited. The girlfriends! The boyfriends! The big mamas! The shebeen** kings and the shebeen queens were there! O a re! O mamtsamaya! O rro wena! O Sipuntse(?)! O bra Kobra! [Sotho: C'mon! Let's get going. Just look at you! Hey Sipuntse! Hey bro Cobra!] Different classes were going to provide different types of entertainment. The whole school was on its feet! It was moving! It was exciting!
*notorious Johannesburg prison
** 'illegal' township bars