national Arts Festival Banner

Friday, October 7, 2011


(Mbongeni Ngema launches his new song at KZN Music House)

Mbongeni Ngema’s new song takes a stand against political dictators, corruption and greed..

Mbongeni Ngema, South Africa’s music and theatre practitioner extraordinaire, is appealing to the people of Africa to stand together in a spirit of unity - and to oppose the flagrant dictatorships that for years have emanated from political leaderships on this continent. This message is the thrust of a new song entitled Ingoma yobumbano (Song of Unity), written and performed by Ngema, recently released by KZN Music House in Durban.

“We must look beyond the temptations of greed”, says Ngema, who goes on to paraphrase the opening lyrics of his new song: “The time has come for self-introspection, for us to face the reality: the continent, forever riddled with greed, is fighting the wars of tribalism. Why have we allowed ourselves to be led by people with greed, why have we allowed the dictators to lead our countries? As Africans together we can stand up and say no more dictators.”

Through his song, Ngema strongly exhorts people to unite and work together for the future, opposing dictatorships and the resultant disempowerment of millions throughout Africa: “There was a time when everything was going wrong for the continent, when wars were all over our land. With the music we shall conquer. I give you the song of unity. Hear the music, hear the music of unity.”

Internationally renowned for his ‘struggle’ credentials against the oppression of his people, Mbongeni Ngema’s stand against dictators and political greed carries with it the credibility of a man who has devoted his life to asserting the right of his countrymen to be free. He is the creator of a string of powerful protest works, both on stage and film, such as Asinamali, Sarafina, Township Fever, 1906 Bhambada The Freedom Fighter, Lion of the East, and many other works.

“Many politicians in Africa, as in other parts of the world, have lost sight of the need to serve their countries. They have succumbed to visions of self-grandeur – which one might term ‘the Napoleon syndrome’ – adopting ‘royal’ or ‘imperial’ status,” says Ngema. “This phenomenon has invariably manifested in their clinging to power at all costs, giving way to greed, corruption and massive malpractice, to the detriment of the people under their regimes.”

As a chilling example of political leaders seeking to attain the life-long rule accorded to kings, Ngema cites the famous words of King Mzilikazi who, after being presumed dead, found that his heir Nkulumane had usurped his throne: “How is it that this new sun has arisen when the old one has not yet set?”

In contrast with politicians seeking to cling to power at all costs, Ngema cites political leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill, both of whom stepped down timeously from office, as examples of leaders who selflessly stood for the good of their people.

True to the popular Mbaqanga musical genre of his own childhood, still associated with much of his music today, Ngema’s Ingoma yobumbano / Song of Unity was launched nationwide in September as part of South Africa’s Heritage Month celebrations.

Issued both as a self-standing single, and as part of Mbongeni Ngema …the very best of, a 2-CD compilation album with a complimentary DVD, the release of Ingoma yobumbano coincides with the simultaneous release a related music video, also produced by KZN Music House. These discs will be available in music stores nationwide.