Ndilimani accused of ‘stealing’ ANC song

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

THE Swapo musical and cultural troupe Ndilimani has been accused of stealing one of their latest songs from a South African band, Umkhonto We Sizwe, which is named after the African National Congress (ANC)’s military wing.

The Ndilimani hit ‘Hage shaautuna’, which roughly translates to “Hage as long as you have us, we are well,” sings praises to the top four Swapo leaders and made waves during Swapo campaigns for the just-ended elections, but critics say it is very similar to Umkhonto We Sizwe’s song, titled “Thula mntanami zizojika izinto” released in the run-up to the National Assembly and provincial elections in South Africa.

‘Thula mntanami zizojika izinto’ is an Isizulu song meant to comfort those who are going through difficult times. ‘Thula mntanami’ means – hush my child / don’t cry my child, while ‘Zizijika izinto’ means things will change / things will get better.

The Umkhonto We Sizwe song, which has similar lyrics to Ndilimani’s new song includes the line ‘ihau hau Ramaphosa is president, Senzo secretary, Gwede Mantashe is chairperson’. Ndilimani’s one says ‘ihau hau Hage Geingob president, Netumbo Ndaitwah, Sophia Shaningwa, Marco Hausiku” with the similar rhymes as the South African song.

Asked if Ndilimani copied the song from the South Africans, Ndilimani manager Jesse Nombanza said “Nobody copied anybody. ‘Hage shaautuna’ is in Oshiwambo language, the other song I am not sure which one you are referring to, if it has similar words it is just a coincidence,” he said.

He also added that the expression ‘ihau hau’ in their song has to do with the history of the liberation movements. “It is not a new thing. These are songs that we shared long back from the liberation struggle. Remember that ANC and Swapo, as well as Zanu-PF have shared the liberation struggle, especially under the umbrella of Zambia as a state that accommodated all of them.

“Many songs could have a word from that side or from this side, so that ‘ihau hau’ is just a common thing that you might find in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, as well as South Africa. The ‘ihau hau’ is like you say ‘Come on guerilla’. We would use it during the struggle, I cannot tell you where it originated, was it Tanzania or South African or Mozambique? But I know we have something in common.”

Umkhonto We Sizwe spokesperson Carl Niehaus and ANC spokesperson Cornelius Monama had not yet responded to questions sent to their offices by the time of submitting this report.