1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Mdlwembe – Zola

Mdlwembe – Zola

Umdlwembe - Zola

Umdlwembe – Zola

If you’ve ever seen the movie Tsotsi, you will recognise this tune from the opening credits. The lead character and his mates are in a shack. The mates are playing dice, while Tsotsi, his back to the camera stares out the window. The mates ask, ‘what are we doing tonight,’ and Tsotsi turns, an intense, mean look on his face. At the same time that you are introduced to this venom, you are hit with the first pounding beat of the heavy kwaito track ‘Mdlwembe’ by Zola. The harshness of the song compliments that of the surroundings as the film takes one into the tough underbelly of a township.

As the opening credits run, you get a glimpse of Zola himself, who plays one of the movies bad “baddies” (as opposed to the protagonist who is a baddie who comes good). His real name is Bonginkosi Dlamini, and has had a successful life as actor and kwaito singer as well as having his own TV show and clothing range.

If, like me, your first introduction to the song was through the movie, you may wonder whether it can hold its own when listened to without the movie. The synergy between the visuals of the film and music are powerful, but listening to the song on its own, you realise that it’s just as powerful and loses none of its pounding clout.

Where to find it:
Umdlwembe – Zola, Ghetto Ruff, (2000), CDGRUF019

Video:

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