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Shosholoza is a traditional Southern African folk song. The song was traditionally sung by all-male work gangs in a call and response style.

The word Shosholoza means go forward or make way for the next man, and is also reminiscent of the sound made by the steam train (stimela) described in the song. The song was originally sung by Ndebele migrant workers travelling home from South Africa, hence the lyrics. The Ndebele live predominantly in Zimbabwe (at the time known as Rhodesia), and whilst Ndebele and Zulu are very similar, the song is Zimbabwean in origin. The song has also given its name to Team Shosholoza, the first African challenger for the America’s Cup, and to Shosholoza Meyl, the long-distance passenger train service operating in South Africa.

The lyrics of the song vary, as do the transcriptions.

Here is one example:

Shosholozah

Shosholozah

Ku lezontabah

Stimela siphum’ eSouth Africa

Shosholozah

Shosholozah

Ku lezontabah

Stimela siphum’ eSouth Africa

Wen’ uyabalekah

Wen’ uyabalekah

Ku lezontabah

Stimela siphum’ eSouth Africa

A rough translation:

Go forward

Go forward

on those mountains

train from South Africa.

Go forward

Go forward

You are running away

You are running away

on those mountains

train from South Africa.

Source: Wikipedia

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