Osiyeza (The Crossing)

The Bird Sings Oral Tradition Song Library

Osiyeza (The Crossing)

I arranged this song for three part chorus, based upon the version performed by Overtone on the Invictus movies soundtrack. It is in Zulu, the language of South Africa.

Composer & Copyright

Original song by Johnny Clegg.



Note: these lyrics are written phonetically for easier learning.

O siye-za, o siye-za, sizo figa way baba noma
O siye-za, o siye-za, siya goo-dla lom laba

Siya wela
lap eshaya
lulay zontaba zim ya-ma

Lapa sobeka fansi
konke ukhul feka

Actual Written Language with Translation

O Siyeza, o siyeza , sizofika webaba noma
(we are coming, we are coming, we will arrive soon)

O siyeza, o siyeza, siyagudle lomhlaba
(we are coming, we are coming, we are moving across this earth)

Siyawela lapheshaya lulezontaba ezimnyama
(we are crossing over those dark mountains)

Lapha sobheka phansi konke ukhulupheka
(where we will lay down our troubles)

Inspiration Track

Teaching Notes

This song is too complex lyrically to teach in one session, but great for a chorus. It is steady and simple rhythmically and works well with or without drums. In this three-part arrangement all three part ranges are stretched with fairly high sections for the high part and the low part bottoms at a low E.

Recording is in the key of D.


Level of teaching speed/ difficulty (1 = very easy, 10 = very challenging)


  • michael lojkovic
    Posted at 00:09h, 07 September Reply

    i love singing this song! i love Jaluka & Johnny Clegg ! We are scatterings of Africa, yutan bota!!!

  • JRVeale
    Posted at 16:54h, 04 May Reply

    In case you’re interested, Zulu is only one of around 35 languages in South Africa! You can read about them here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_South_Africa

  • Christopher Barnett
    Posted at 16:05h, 25 May Reply

    Thanks to JR Veale – South Africa is a complex place, and the range of languages spoken is just one example. I’ve always wondered whether this song is in Zulu or Xhosa.

  • Amanda M
    Posted at 05:17h, 27 May Reply

    Xhosa has a lot of clicks in it. They speak Xhosa in Black Panther. This is how you would identify Xhosa being spoken.

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