Thula Baba is traditional Zulu lullaby. It's also a popular song for choruses.

Thula Baba - South African Children's Songs - South Africa - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

"Thula Baba" is sometimes called "Thula Thul". It's sometimes sung about the "father" or "little man" (using "baba" and "ubaba"), sometimes "mama"(using "mama" or "umama"). In some versions, you'll hear "thula ntwana", which means, "hush little child" ("prince" or "princess").

Comments

I received the following note about this song from Wynand Serfontein:

"When I was in school (in the 70's) I learned the English version (only one verse) below:

Choir
There's a burning star to lead your daddy home
He'll come from afar, no matter where you'll roam
Rest your angry heart, my baby, don't you cry
Soon you'll see him come across the bended sky.

Although this does not seem to be a good literal translation, it has rhythm and rime, and (as far as I can remember) fits the melody correctly. I am not sure if you have seen this version before. I cannot remember the Zulu parts, though. Only enough that this verse stuck with me for many years, since I think it is heartbreakingly beautiful and honest in the context of a child whose father works far from home."

*****

Loes wrote, "Thula tu or Thula baba. Lyrics and translation are found at the site of the Soweto gospel choir [the translation here is different than theirs. You can hear this song there too]. From South-Africa I understood. You'll find a lot of examples on YouTube, it is very popular amongst choirs around the world. According to some it is a lullaby, but I also understood it is sung on very different occasions."

*****

We worked hard finding the correct spelling for this song in order to translate it. We welcome help fine-tuning the spelling and translation. Other versions of this song exist. We welcome other versions too. Please email me if you'd like to help in any way. -Mama Lisa

Listen

Download

Many thanks to Frances Turnbull, Independent music educator at Musicaliti, for singing this song for us!

We decided to include the recording below because it's so pretty, even though the words are different from those given here.

Download

Many thanks to Kerry Andrews for sharing her recording! Kerry is a composer and performer. Thanks to Issy Anderson (adult) and Aida Arrindell from Burdett Coutts School in London, England for singing this song!

Watch
You can hear part of Thula Baba at 15 seconds in the video below. After they sing, there's some talking - so you don't need to listen to the rest of the video. Here's what they're singing:

Thula thul, thula mama, thula sana,
Thul'umam uzobuya, ekuseni.
Thula thul, thula mama, thula sana,
Thul'umam uzobuya, ekuseni.

English Translation:

Hush, hush, hush-a-bye mama, be quiet baby
Be quiet, Mommy will be back in the morning.
Hush, hush, hush-a-bye mama, be quiet baby
Be quiet, Mommy will be back in the morning.
Please let us know if you think this video has been taken down by YouTube.
Thanks!

Sheet Music

Sheet Music - Thula Baba

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Thanks to Loes Vaessen for contributing this song.

Translation by Lisa Yannucci.

Many thanks to Gracie Gralike for the illustration!

Ngiyabonga ka khulu!

Let us know what you think!

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