The Bird Sings Oral Tradition Song Library


A traditional South African song of prayer and celebration.

Composer & Copyright

Traditional from South Africa in the public domain. Arrangement adapted from Ysaye Barnwell and featured in her teaching guide Singing in the African American Tradition, Volume I.


Teaching Track

From Lisa’s 2014 Song-a-Day Challenge:

Lyrics & Translation

Babethandaza  – They were praying

Sin nje nje nje ngemi thandazo (x2) – We are like this, like this, like this because of prayer (x2)

Ngemi thandazo, Ngemi thandazo (x2) – Because of prayer, because of prayer (x2)

Oo mama babudale, Babethandaza (x2) – Our ancestors would pray (x2)

Babethandaza, Babethandaza (x2) – They were praying, they were praying.


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