Does Anyone Know the Origin and Meaning of Zimbole?

Maria wrote asking for info about the song, "Zimbole".  Here’s her email:

I have been trying in vain to find the meaning of the African folk song “Zimbole”.  I believe it’s an Zulu word for peace but I’m not sure and I can’t find any information anywhere!   There are videos on youtube of kids singing this song, but no info.  Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated!  I love your website.  I have consulted it many times.  Thank you so much!

Here’s a video of the song…

If anyone can help us identify where this song is from, what language it’s in and/or what it means, please let us know in the comments below.  We’d appreciate any info about this song!

Thanks in advance!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 at 4:24 pm and is filed under African Children's Songs, African Games, African Music, Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Music, Questions, Readers Questions, Senegal, South Africa, YouTube. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Does Anyone Know the Origin and Meaning of Zimbole?”

  1. Sophia Says:

    Zimbole is a family with great history. I’ve read about Zimbole in a book and luckily I found some details on this page https://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=zimbole

  2. Azizi Powell Says:

    Hello, Mama Lisa.

    I just published a blog post about the song “Zimbole”. http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2018/05/zimbole-may-not-really-be-african.html
    title: “Zimbole” May Not REALLY Be An African Children’s Song (But It Still Could Be Used To Teach REAL African Cultures)

    As the title to that post suggests, I believe that “Zimbole” isn’t a traditional African song but was newly composed (or perhaps adapted from an African song). The producer/composer of this song in 2009 is Johnny Lamprecht, who is German. The song was marketed in an album of African songs with the title “Zimbolé (Fußballtanzlied). Google translate gives the English translation “Soccer dance song” for Fußballtanzlied. (Of course, most people throughout the world refer to that sport as “football” instead of soccer”.

    I think this song is neo-African. I really like the song for children, but hope that people don’t mislead children (or themselves) into thinking that this is a traditional song. I also hope that children aren’t taught that a song or custom or person is African without asking where in the HUGE continent of Africa that song or custom or person comes from.

    Best wishes! One Love!

  3. Lisa Says:

    Hi Azizi,

    Thanks for the info! Your article is interesting. I asked Frances who grew up in South Africa, about the song and the word “Zimbole”. Here’s her response:

    “‘Zimbole’ is definitely not Zulu for peace, am asking my fellow music teachers though. (Peace is ukuthula, where the root, thula, means quiet/calm.) Also, Zulu uses punctuation to denote contraction, no accented letters – even tongue clicks are written as c or x. I’ll get back to you!”

    I’ll let you know what Frances finds!

    xo Mama Lisa

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