Baxabene Oxamu (Miriam Makeba)

South African Lyrics

Baxabene Oxamu
Miriam Makeba

Baxabene oxam’
Bexabene ngengxoxo
Bexakwe ingxuba ‘xaka

Hayi-ke-le-gqi! iQheya
Laxing’ eqhingeni
Beliqhatha ngeqhotho leqhude

[English Translation]:

The monitor lizards in an argument
They are in a heated debate
They are puzzled by a dilemma

Then (all of a sudden) a Khoi person
Got caught in the middle (of the matter)
Each was bribing him
With a piece of kudu meat

[Editor’s Note: My original intention was to transcribe and translate Busi Mhlongo’s version of the song from her UrbanZulu. In trying to find lyrics online, I stumbled across Miriam Makeba’s (the earlier) version, which I had never heard. There are a few interesting things to note about the different versions: 1) There is a difference in the pronunciation of certain phrases. It is quite certain that Mhlongo’s pronunciation is a deviation from the original, as it changes (and sometimes completely removes) the meaning and coherence of some of the lines. 2) For me, this…

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