Simphiwe Dana’s Mkhonto
Firebrand Simphiwe Dana has released a new single called Mkhonto (Spear) that asks difficult and necessary questions of the spear, ie, the governing ANC party, whose armed military wing was called Umkhonto weSizwe and whose logo features a spear that the party’s website says “represents the early wars of resistance to colonial rule, the armed struggle ... and the ANC’s ongoing struggle against racial privilege and oppression”.
The song opens with the poignant questions: “Ubukhali lo mkhonto? (Is this spear sharp?)” and “Ubuthuntu lo mkhonto? (Is this spear blunt?)” She also asks directly, “Ubukhal’ umkhonto wesizwe? (Is the spear of the nation sharp?)” and “Mkhonto wesizwe na? (Spear of the nation?)”, almost begging to know what the spear of the nation is doing now. Her four-minute Afro-soul a cappella song is hauntingly beautiful and timely, given some of the questions people are asking about uniting, especially in lyrics such as “Masihlanganeni bo (Let us unite)”, towards the end of the song.
The writing is powerful and stays with you long after the song is done. A great single from Ms Dana. Listen to Mkhonto on Dana’s page on soundcloud.com. Find the translation of the lyrics at simphiwedana.wordpress.com