Sunday, January 27, 2013

South African vocalist Brenda Fassie - Vulindlela (with lyrics)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post showcases the song "Vulindlela" by South African singer Brenda Fassie.

Information about Brenda Fassie is also included in this post along with lyrics for this song.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Brenda Fassie for her musical legacy. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of this video on YouTube.

"Brenda Fassie (3 November 1964 – 9 May 2004)[1] was an anti-apartheid South African Afropop singer.[2] Her bold stage antics earned a reputation for "outrageousness".[3] Affectionately called Mabrr by her fans, she was sometimes described as the "Queen of African Pop"...

Fassie was born in Langa, Cape Town,[4] as the youngest of nine children. She was named after the American singer Brenda Lee...

With very outspoken views and frequent visits to the poorer townships of Johannesburg, as well as songs about life in the townships, she enjoyed tremendous popularity. Known best for her songs "Weekend Special" and "Too Late for Mama", she was dubbed "The Madonna of the Townships" by Time in 2001...

From 1996 she released several solo albums, including Now Is the Time, Memeza (1997), and Nomakanjani?. Most of her albums became multi-platinum sellers in South Africa"...
..."One of a kind! Many said that Brenda was the “Madonna of the townships” but for me she was more than that. She was our own Michael Jackson. Brenda was THE QUEEN! Many tried to be like her and many have been accused of trying to be her yet none of them has the energy that she had on stage. Lebo Mathosa came very close, but she was just not Brenda.

Style icon! Whatever outfit MaBrrr was rocking, it was sure to be a trend. My mom recalls wanting a pair of shorts she saw Brenda wearing in a picture in the 80s. The desire for these short shorts spread like wildfire and it became a trend. Then Brenda went on to rock a blonde hairstyle. Best believe, this too became a trend."...


SPHERNO, Uploaded on Jul 1, 2011


sundayschild, 15 August 2006
"And vulindlela means ‘clear the way’ or clean the path."

sundayschild (16 August 2006)
"on multiple levels – in one sense clearing the path for the [newly married]* couple to walk down, in another clearing the way for the start of a new life… it’s about clearing things up so there’s room for (positive) change, which is why the ANC appropriated the song for its ’99 election campaign…

it’s a GREAT track (but then most of Ma Brrrrrr’s are…)"
*I added the words in brackets which are implied from the preceding comments.
"Listening to Vulindlela, it’s quite hard to believe that someone who had so many problems in life could sing so beautifully, but Brenda Fassie’s vocals on this track are hauntingly so. Set against a decidedly danceable synth background, the song epitomises the township sound of the late 90s.

You don’t have to understand the words to be moved by the song. Check out the Youtube video link below and you will see comments from people from Somalia, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Cameroon to name a few. Brenda was huge throughout Africa, and Vulindlela is widely appreciated around the globe.

A month after her death on 26 April 2004, the song was voted Song of the Decade at the South African Music Awards. It is highly likely that the emotional outpouring that followed her death led to this vote, however, that should not distract one from the fact that it would probably have been a contender for the award anyway…

Vul’indlela wemamgobhozi (Open the gates, Miss Gossip)
He unyana wam (My baby boy)
Helele uyashada namhlanje (Is getting married today)
Vul’indlela wela ma ngiyabuza (Open the gates please)
Msuba nomona (Don’t be jealous)
Unyana wami uthathile (My son has had a good catch)
Bengingazi ngiyombon’umakoti (I never thought I’d see a daughter in law)
Unyana wam eh ujongile this time (My son has been accepted (woman said yes))
Makgadi fele usenzo s’cede (Help us finish the ceremony (you are welcome))
Uzemshadweni ngiyashadisa namhlanje (Come to the wedding, I’m taking
my son to the altar today)
Bebesithi unyana wam lisoka (People said my son is (someone who
doesn’t get women)
Bebesithi angeke ashade vul’indlela (People said he would never get married but open the gates)

Thanks visiting pancocojams.

Viewer comments are welcome.


  1. Much respect to Brenda Faisse.

    I've found a lot of references to her being called "Mabrrr". What does this word mean and is it Zulu? Is Zulu the language that Brenda Faisse sung in?

    1. No, "Mabrr" was her nickname, as her name was Brenda. The same way you would nickname someone named Benjamin, Ben. It has no particular meaning.

    2. Anonymous, thanks for that correction.

      I realize that I know next to nothing about South African cultures, and I'm glad that someone who does has responded to this post.

      I'm curious, what language is "Mabrr" and what is the personal name in that language that is the equivalent of the name "Brenda"?

      Thanks again!

    3. Ma (as in mother) Brrr (as in short for Brenda)

    4. Oh! That explanation was staring me right in the face. :o)

      Thanks for clearing that up, anonymous!

  2. Thanks for sharing the lyrics, it is so hard to find lyrics for African songs, especially Malaika's songs: Hlauphel Amandhla and Mmatswale.

    1. You're welcome, Janell.

      Sorry it took me so long to respond to your comment.

    2. Here's a link to a pancocojams post about the song Mmatswale by Malaika"

      Thanks for alerting me to this song!

  3. Thanks for the lyrics i really like it ...

  4. I cant seem to find the lyrics and meaning of Ama Gents anywhere. Is there some one who can assist pls?

    1. Anonymous, I'm sorry that don't know the answer to your questions.

      Hopefully, someone will respond to your query.