"Shosholoza" originally comes from Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia). It was brought to South Africa by Rhodesian migrants who worked in the South African mines and who traveled back and forth between Zimbabwe and South Africa. It's well-known in South Africa too. The song mixes Ndebele and Zulu words.

"Shosholoza" is a Ndebele word that means go forward or forge ahead. It's a onomatopoeic, playing on the sounds a steam train makes, "sho-sho".

Notes

The line, "Stimela siphume eZimbabwe" is sometimes sung as, "stimela si phume Rhodesia" (the train from Rhodesia).

"Some people argue that the song describes the journey to the mines in South Africa, while others say it describes the return to Zimbabwe." -The World Public Library

Note: Northern Ndebele which is spoken in Zimbabwe is basically a dialect of Zulu.

Shosholoza (Ndebele) = go forward
Kulezo ntaba = on those mountains
Stimela (Zulu) = steam/coal train
Wen' uya baleka = You are running away

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