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Geoffrey Oryema Lyrics

Ngibathe Ngicelu Xolo
Ngatholi nzondo
Ngibathe Ngecelu thando ma, ah oh
Yiningathi yini ngomhlaba
Yini Singa Funu Zwano? ah oh
Ngibathe Ngicelu Xolo
Ngatholi nzondo, ah oh

Washu mathambo espoki wathi
Africa, Umhlaba ubolile
Abantu bane nkohla kalo
Umhlaba ubolile
Umhlaba unengozi
Sudan, Rwanda, Angola, Malawi, Liberia, Zaire
Stop the killing
Phansingo dlame
South Africa: war is never good
Phansingo dlame

So why?
So why?
So why?
Africa, Africa will sing - so why?
The sun in your heart is your smile - so why?
Wozani bizanu tula - So why?

Contributed by Charlotte Y. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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This West African-American Life

Here's a rough translation I found in case anyone besides me was looking:

I've been asking for Peace
But all I got was war
I've been looking for love
But I didn't find togetherness
What is wrong with the world?
What is wrong with the people?
Why don't we want peace? ...


The two languages don't translate well, but that was fairly close.

The most common translation i know is along the lines of..

With problems

With problems
Me with problems
My people stop fighting
Problems of the heart

It's pretty much a plea for the fighting to stop and asks for togetherness. So I think you got it right too.


I believe this is a rough translation of Geoffrey's song, written as he escaped war in Uganda:

"I've been asking for Peace
But all I got was war
I've been looking for love
But I didn't find togetherness
What is wrong with the world?
What is wrong with the people?
Why don't we want peace?"

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Србски Максимус

Tonight I accidentally found this song, it's late and everybody is sleeping. It's just me and the moon enjoying this moment which will pass and forever fade away, since it can't be never again repeated in the same way. Greetings from Serbia

Agasthian P

Tears brimming after reading how you felt. same bumped into this song and it does something to my core! So good!

belgarath 77

La découverte est toujours bienvenue!

Jeannie Craver

Yes..your words are poetic...beautifully written. This is what music is all about. The universal appeal.


Auuu baki moj kako si me potrefio sa komentarom. Nadam se da si dobar ziv i zdrav :D

Brian Scott

I did the same thing in a Rooney Mara movie. I accidentally had the cc option on. They gave the origin in the script. Instant fan.

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Revue Revolution, a polymath review of Poetry

Makambo is taken from lingala, a language spoken in Congo-Brazza and Kinshasa by Bantu people and that has strange common resonance with Zulu sometimes. Lingala is very emotional, a very poetic language where few words say it all and this is exactly what Geoffrey Oryema does, here. Hardly translatable. That said, the song is a lament from someone who is sad because people are gossiping about him and badmouthing him (a common human, destructive exercize). He feels heaviness in his heart: he has a lot of problems (makambo), he is all his problems. So for the lingala part, here are the lyrics:

Oh ngai na makambo eh → Oh, I am deep in trouble
Ngai na makambo eh → I am deep in trouble
Likambo na motema → There's a problem in my heart
Songui-Songui bandeko → People keep badmouthing me, my friends

RIP Geoffrey Oryema and thank you for this beautiful piece. Kende malamu.

shay shay

@Joe- K it is about that and losing his home..not about being bad mouthed lol

Elia Navarro

You are so kind. Thanks for the info thanks!

Uitite da Silva Procel

Just found him ... To know this beautiful bird won't be creating no more...

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