Wednesday, September 8, 2021

General information about South Africa's Gwijos & Video, Lyrics Of The Gwijo "Noba Bethi Ndale" (with comments)

Gwijo Squad, July 5, 2018

Noba bethi ndale Noba bethi ndishiye Sisi ungavumi, hlala nam Abantu banomona ngawe **** Latest revision September 11, 2021 ****

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post presents information about the South African music form called "gwijo" and information about the Gwijo Squad.

This post also showcases a 2018 YouTube video of the gwijo entitled "Noba Bethi Ndale". The lyrics for that song are included in this post along with selected comments from that video's discussion thread.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the composers of this showcased gwijo and thanks to all those who are featured in this video. Thanks to all members of the Gwijo Squad and all those who are quotd in this post.
This is part of an ongoing pancocojams series on South African "Gwijos".

Click for the 2019 pancocojams post entitled "Information About & Videos About South Africans' Gwijos". Other posts on this subject can be found by clicking the "gwijos" tag that is found below.
I'm an African American who unfortunately doesn't speak any language but English and has only learned about amagwijos from 
from watching YouTube videos and from reading the comments of those discussion threads and from reading online articles on that subject, in particular online articles about The Gwijo Squad, a group of fans that sing gwijos at rugby games.  

This pancocojams post and others on this subject are published to share examples of these embedded videos and document information about this music form that I've found online. This post is also published in the hope that it will spur people who sing or have sung gwijos and know about their history and present day usage (including their lyrics) to share that information online.

Additions and corrections of the information that is included in this post are very welcome.

Excerpt #1:
From,dressing%20rooms%20just%20before%20games. Ten Words From Mzansi's Football Dictionary, By Captain Alzheimers June 2, 2015
..."”Igwijo” or “Amagwijo”

The words simply means ‘song.’ These songs are sung in stadiums by fans and by players in dressing rooms just before games."...
"Football" in that title means what people in the United States refer to as "soccer".

"Igwijo" (gwijo) is the Xhosa singular term for "song" and "amagwijo" is the Xhosa plural term for "songs". 
[September 11, 2021] I decided to delete my comments and only add South African sources for this section.

Excerpt #2
From Gwijo Squad, the new sound of South African sport 20 ; By: Sibusiso Mjikeliso , Photographer: Ihsaan Haffejee,  Jun 2019

This article was first published by New Frame [under Creative Commons Attribution].

...They [fans that call themselves "the Gwijo Squad"] sing songs of jubilation, elation and devastation. To the uninitiated ear, they sound like “struggle songs” but they are, in fact, the chants that reverberate through Xhosa initiation ceremonies, weddings and, of course, rugby matches in the Eastern and Western Cape provinces.

More than a concert of predominantly black African, Xhosa-speaking rugby fanatics, the Gwijo Squad is made up of individuals determined to create a movement that could end in the true unification of a sport that was used as a powerful tool to suppress black people.


[photo caption] "1 June 2019: The Gwijo Squad started as a group of rugby fans from the Eastern Cape who took the spirit of igwijo with them to Gauteng, initially to support first black Springbok captain Siya Kolisi in his inaugural assignment against England at Ellis Park in June 2018.


Igwijo and the trouble it caused
In many ways, [Xhanti] Madolo has always been the guy at the forefront of a wave of change. In high school, he was the rugby cheerleader and courted trouble at post-1994 Dale College in King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape for his penchant for igwijo.

“We sang the school songs with pride and vigour, but we mixed things up with igwijo the year I took over as cheerleader [in 2000],” he recalls.

“We needed to take the cheering to another level, because our team was on another level and the culture was changing. We started bringing in the more popular traditional songs: “Ntombi emnhlotshazana … Yinton’ le uyenzayo, ayilunganga (Fair-skinned girl, what you’re doing is not right)”. And we readapted struggle songs, replacing names like Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela with the first team captain.

“The boys took to it, but the teachers on the other hand had other opinions. They banned igwijo. I don’t know how many times I have been called into the headmaster’s [James Haupt] office because of igwijo.

“Then Grey High School [from Port Elizabeth] threatened not to play against Dale if amagwijo would be sung at rugby matches. They said they were ‘savage songs’ or something like that. But it was too big a thing, too big to contain. They couldn’t fight it and it grew into something that is now the norm in the passages at the school.”...

Excerpt #3:
From "Workplace Inclusivity"​ - The Unsung Gwijo
Published on August 20, 2019, Thabo Moloi
“Zizo jik’ izinto, Thula mntan’am! Wen’ukhalelani, thula mnatan’am!” [loose translation: things will turn around, you can stop crying now my child] I sing this at the top of my voice in celebration of Sbusiso Nkosi’s second try against Argentina at Loftus this past Saturday. A part of me can’t help but be emotional at the political significance of such a powerful song in the context of a challenging South African landscape marred with a complicated history. I’m on my second Strepsils lozenge desperately trying to keep up with the Gwijo Squad who have been shaking the stands non-stop with iconic gwijos. A gwijo is an African chant used to commemorate important cultural events. It is how black people have traditionally come together to celebrate, to mourn, to show solidarity and remind each other of the defiant spirit inherent in all of us. Rugby is still a predominantly white sport and the stadium is packed with over 90% white fans but the Gwijo Squad helps me forget that I’m a minority in these spaces. The Gwijo Squad not only helps me find my voice but allows me to be a part of an important moment in South African sports and sing at the top of my voice that I belong here.

(with numbers added for referencing purposes only) 

1. mpho piet, 2017
"i dont understand a word but somehow i am in love. from Pretoria to Eastern Cape with love"

2. Lwakhanya Ngayeka, 2018
"It's a love song and he is telling his girlfriend not to leave because of the rumors she has heard"

3. Phillip Legodi, 2018
"Even when they say dump me
Even when they say leave me
Sister don't agree/allow them,stay with me
People are jealous of us
[Pancocojams Editor's note Sept. 8, 2021: The Xhosa words are found in the summary to this video. I believe that those lyrics were just recently added to that summary.  

Linda, 2020
The lead is giving me goosebumps. Don't understand a word but love how they sing. Big up girls❤️❤️❤️"

Payet. Tjijahura, 2020
If my crowd sing like this promise I will play football till my last strength๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜"

Pancocojams Editor's note: Most of the remainder of these comments are selected comments from an exchange between Siyathandwa Gomo and me. Siyanthandwa Gomo is a South African woman. 

6. Azizi Powell, 2020
Gwijo Squad, thanks for publishing these gwijo videos so that people throughout the world can enjoy and appreciate these songs. I''m an African American who just happened upon gwijo videos yesterday. I love watching and listening to these videos.

I'd also like to learn more about gwijo. Unfortunately, there's very little about gwijo online. I'm wondering 1. Are songs used for gwijo sung in other languages besides isiXhosa? For instance, what language is this video's song in? 2. Are gwijo songs only traditional or are some of them newly composed? 3. Is there a plural of gwijo- for instance, would it be correct to say or write "gwijos"? 4. When did gwijos start being sung and did they start in high schools? 5. When did the Gwijo Squad form? It would be wonderful if you would add lyrics in the summary like you did for this video and then shared which language it is, and also added an English translations. Thanks again!"
** Reply 7. Azizi Powell, 2020 "
I found some answers to my #2, #4 and #5 questions in this article: "Gwijo Squad, the new sound of South African sport."

Thanks again in advance to Gwijo Squade or anyone else who adds to information available online about gwijo. **
8. Siyathandwa Gomo, September 7, 2021
"I know it's a year later but to answer for number 1, I think perhaps other languages do have their own gwijos, however most gwijos that are well known and  have the best vibe are Xhosa. Some gwijos are struggle songs that were made during apartheid in prisons and in protests. Some gwijos are songs made by young Xhosa men while they are in their initiation period and also these gwijos are sung when they come back. There are alot of sources or inspirations behind gwijos.

Plural term for gwijos is amagwijo.

Lastly do you still want the translation for this song ๐Ÿ˜‚"

9. Azizi Powell, September 7, 2021
"@Siyathandwa, I decided to read this comment thread and found a comment from 2019 below from  Lwakhanya Ngayeka "It's a love song and he is telling his girlfriend not to leave because of the rumors she has heard". Also, reading further, sghibha in 2018 and others wrote a complete transcription of this song. Thanks to each of them! (It would be great if that was added to the video's summary and all English language translations of these gwijos were added to these YouTube videos. But I guess that is selfish thing to ask for those of us who only understand English

As shown by this example, even sad love songs (sung with emotion) can be made into gwijos. But I suppose winning or losing one's love is something that people can sing forcefully about. Is it common for love songs to be made into gwijos? Is the WAY people sing the song more important than the words to the song itself (what the song is about?)

10. Siyathandwa Gomo, September 7, 2021
"@Azizi Powell "yes it is common for love songs to be sang this way when sang in a gwijo (But we do have actual love songs that are similar to your RnB or pop styles where you'll find the desired emotion) Secondly, most new age gwijos are about love or rugby but they have to be sang in this way because I'm our country gwijos aren't meant to be released songs that are made at a record label( not for revenue purposes), at this day and age they are for enjoyment and mostly sung at rugby matches, celebrations and some at protests so if any emotion will be portrayed it would be mostly by the lead singer but the rest of us as backers won't convey that emotion. x hope this answers your question from your South African sister." **
11. Azizi Powell, September 7, 2021
@Siyathandwa Gomo  Greetings!! I appreciate your response. Your first response today motivated me to start watching other YouTube gwijo videos. I've showcased a few other videos of gwijos on my pancocojams cultural blog. Those posts include some information, and selected comments from those video's discussion thread. I included a link to this video in one of those post, and-as a result of your comment and others I plan to showcase this video along with your comments and others from this discussion thread. I publish these South African posts on my blog as a means of raising awareness of and increasing appreciation for gwijos specifically and South African culture in general. I won't add a link to that post or to other posts I've already published because I don't want people to think I'm trying to hawk my blog (It's all volunteer. I don't make any money from it). But that post which I haven't  published yet at the time of my writing this comment will have Noba bethi ndale in its title.

[Also, did this video always have the lyrics to the song in its summary? I didn't notice it before. Because you wrote in you comment that gwijos are mostly sung in Xhosa, people like me who only understand English can use Google Translate to get the general meaning of the song. The transcriptions that others shared in this discussion were better, but Google translate's results were basically on point.] 

Thanks again Siyathandwa. I wish you Peace and Love!"

Siyathandwa Gomo responded to my comment, writing that it was a pleasure to share information about amagwijo. She suggested that I facebook her if I had any questions about the lyrics to other gwijos. I have LOTS of questions about the lyrics to other gwijos that are posted on YouTube, but I don't do facebook. :o(.

Unfortunately, most gwijo videos are compilations that show very brief clips of multiple gwijos without any lyrics for those songs. Even the longer YouTube videos of gwijos don't include lyrics (in Xhosa or in English) and their comments rarely provide information about what those songs mean. Furthermore, I've not found any lyrics to these songs in these videos' discussion threads or online.  

South Africans, help raise awareness of amagwijo and help increase worldwide appreciation for these songs by sharing information (and lyrics) for these songs in YouTube video discussion threads and in other online formats such as this pancocojams posts.


Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

1 comment:

  1. I just noticed that my profile doesn't include my email address. If you are interested in sharing information/lyrics about gwijos or any other information about subjects that are presented in this pancocojams blog, you may contact me at azizip17 at yahoo dot com.

    Thanks again!