This is a protest song and it is traditionally sung at funerals. It was important during the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Senzenina means "What have we done" with the implication "what did we do to deserve this?" (Also spelled "senzeni na".)


*or fault

We found that this song is considered to be in both the Zulu and Xhosa languages. Trying to figure out which language it was in, I looked up the words to this song, and found some of them in a Zulu dictionary and some in a Xhosa dictionary. On further research I found in the Encyclopedia Britannica: "The Zulu and Xhosa languages are similar enough to be considered dialects of one language, but speakers of Zulu and Xhosa consider them to be separate languages." (FYI They are both Southeastern Bantu languages.)



Thanks to Élodie Chebat for the wonderful recording!

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Élodie Chebat for contributing and singing this song.

Ngiyabonga ka khulu!