in the groove:with Fred Zindi
On my way to the supermarket last weekend, I met this drunkard who was singing aloud: Jerusalema Ikhaya Lami.
It seems those were the only three words he knew from the song as he kept repeating them. I wanted to help him with the rest of the lyrics, but I thought that he was too drunk to learn anything new.
It also looks like this song has become the most popular in the world today as every Tom, Dick and Harry is singing it. Just like the Covid-19 pandemic, it has touched every part of the world.
The song offers a slick melody that builds momentum. It scores major points for several simple reasons. First, it maintains its energy all the way through, never dipping into some half-time breakdown like many pop tunes do. Second, it goes big as it is stuffed to the brim with aggressive rhythm that matches explosive energy. Third, the tune itself in not only catchy, but it also crystallises a particularly maddening (and lazy) trend that has plagued global pop music with easy listening. (This is why even drunkards can easily imitate it.)
By July 23, 2020, there were
6 004 010 views on YouTube and as of September 12, according to YouTube, the views worldwide had exceeded 132 million. To sweeten the song and to put it into perspective, Master KG came out with a competition which is now popularly known as the Jerusalema Best Dance Challenge where acts such as Galaxy African Kids, 2020 and Tik-Tok’s Burble Entertainment have entered the fray. Any nation, throughout the world, would love this tune. The meaning behind the song is simple.
Translated into English, it goes something like this: “Jerusalem is my home Save me/Guide me. Take me with you. Do not leave me here.”
In its original form, the lyrics are:
Jerusalema ikhaya lami
Jerusalema ikhaya lami
Ndawo yami ayikho lana
Mbuso wami awukho lana
Ndawo yami ayikho lana
Mbuso wami awukho lana
Tik-Tok’s Burble Entertainment came out with the top five Jerusalema dances and these are being shown globally through their international platform.
There has been multitudes of people all over the world trying out the Jerusalema dance moves and appreciating the song. Here are a few testimonies:
Jacob Kennedy from Texas in the United States of America simply wrote: “Awesome!”
Janet Musgrove from Guyana declares: “Boy, that song and those dances are something else. They really drive me crazy.”
Karishma Woods in Jamaica says: “The rhythms just have you dance even if you don’t want to.”
Moses Kimuthia from Kenya comments: “This song, Jerusalema, is giving us Africans hope in this Covid-19 pandemic year. Despite the hardships, Africa will soon prevail.”
Claire Nikki from Madrid, Spain says: “Only this kind of vibe coming from Africa will make us Europeans realise that there are good things from that continent. Those dance moves and that song makes me want to emigrate to South Africa right now.”
Raymond Zivanayi Dangarembizi, a Zimbabwean based in the United Kingdom, sees this song as one which unites the whole world. As he puts it: “This tuuuune has gone global. It has a good melody line and is quite catchy! My sincere hope is that the song is properly registered so that copyrights to the songwriter can be administered fairly. This is a BIG money spinner for the owners of such rights! It will also bring together the whole world. We are just waiting for Covid-19 to disappear and no doubt, we will invite this youngster to come over and perform for us. We in the United Kingdom have now adopted it as our theme song at every gathering be it a wedding or a party even though we are at the moment limited to gatherings of 50 or less. When things open up, there will be thousands dancing to it. Right now, I hear it being played in the pubs near me. It’s massive!”
Not to be left behind, Zimbabwe has also taken the Jerusalema Best Dance challenge. First to be seen on local television were staff from SPAR supermarkets followed by ZBC employees.
However, nothing could beat the challenge taken by the group of lawyers from Mtetwa and Nyambirai Legal Firm. All 20 of them gave scintillating dance moves which were being filmed by Bustop TV. The video starts with Doug Coltart eating his sadza before being called to join the dance. This is followed by Beatrice Mtetwa, who was busy concentrating on a legal matter. She puts her books down, stops everything and joins the group. They all groove to the beats of Jerusalema. They changed costumes which ranged from men donning their suits, wearing prison garb and everyone wearing black robes which represented lawyers’ court gowns. It was spectacular. The moves were on point. One of the lawyers, Coltart, proved to be Zimbabwe’s answer to the late Michael Jackson as he swung and gyrated from corner to corner of the limited space at Mtetwa and Nyambirai premises. This video has made him an overnight star and a dance sensation.
After six weeks in which the firm had a tumultuous time with Harare magistrate Ngoni Nduna, who barred Mtetwa from representing Hopewell Chin’ono in court, the Jerusalema dance challenge became poignant as it soon turned those blues into a celebratory grin. The past few weeks’ blues quickly disappeared and were replaced by a happy mood. It was significant because Chin’ono had been released from Chikurubi on the same day.
For human rights lawyers, there was therefore the need for a feeling or expression of joy. The Jerusalema dance video did it. This video has gone viral. It was shown on SABC television. Many people on WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook platforms have made comments about it. I wonder if ZBC are ever going to show it?
Last Wednesday as I was passing through NSSA offices during lunchtime, I saw a group of more than 50 mostly female workers (who chose to defy the Covid-19 regulation which states that public gatherings should not exceed 50 people) doing the Jerusalema challenge dance. Master KG’s Jerusalema has definitely gone viral.
If Kgaogelo Moagi, known professionally as Master KG, fails to get rich this year, he will have missed a great opportunity to become so. Many people are asking what this young man, only aged 24, is worth now after the release of Jerusalema. He was born in Limpopo on January 31, 1996. He is a South African musician and record producer. In the past he churned out other hits such as Tshinada and Skeleton Move (2018), but they did not reach the dizzy heights Jerusalema has done. His album Skeleton Move achieved acclaim, including an Afrimma Award for Best Artiste/Group in the African Electro category. He is also known as the pioneer of Balobedu dance.
Master KG, who features Nomcebo on Jerusalema, is definitely a winner. I hope that those who are behind him, such as his manager, will assist him in dealing with this big enterprise ahead of him. The music business is one of the trickiest enterprises for anyone to get into as there are no definite rules applicable for each step taken by an individual. It has often been described as a cut-throat business. The artiste has got to know his rights and ethics in the business.
He needs to study the involvement of record companies, music rights associations, songwriters associations, intellectual property organisations, licensing, copyright, publishing rights, performance rights, the role of the manager, management contracts, recording contracts, piracy, royalties from YouTube and many other intricate things. Master KG needs to spend time studying and understanding these things otherwise he might end up dying like a pauper like many other musicians have if he is not careful. We wish him the best of luck!
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