Usizwe Namatshitshi

South Africa Usizwe Namatshitshi

Album’s Overview
#? usizwe-namatshitshi-noma-ungayaphi-bakhala-ngathi.jpg 1971 [11, 33:41] Usizwe Namatshitshi - Noma Ungayaphi Bakhala Ngathi (CBS LAB-4022) studio • new music 7.31 “Really good” Africana
#? usizwe-namatshitshi-yithi-sifikile.jpg 1971 [10, 29:23] Usizwe Namatshitshi - Yithi Sifikile (CBS LAB-4029) studio • new music 7.79 “Brilliant” Africana
date.png 17-Jan-2013
notes.png Unable to complete. As with many African artists, it seems impossible to be categoric about the full album discography of Usizwe Namatshitshi.


The mbaqanga-traditional group Usizwe Namatshitshi were one of the popular bands of the day and one of the groups at the forefront of producer Hamilton “Vala” Nzimande’s prolific production house Isibaya Esikhulu Music. The group were a combination of singer-groaner Sizwe Mazibuko and the five-strong female troupe Amatshitshi (The princesses), comprising Busi Dlamini, Nomusa Mathebula, Dudu Hlophe and others. Their sound was a pleasant and strong meld of traditional Zulu harmonies and rhythms with the melodic patterns of mbaqanga. Their stage outfits were strikingly custom, with beads, brassieres and battle shields, and their songs were of the appropriate material: “Mnikeleni Induku Yakhe” (“give them our fighting sticks”) is but one example. Much of their material was written by producer Nzimande, but several group members also contributed lyrics. The composer credits of their 1971 LP, "Noma Ungayaphi Bakhala Ngathi", rather interestingly reveal that both Meshack Mkhwanazi and Albert Motha had begun their musical careers in the backing band of Usizwe Namatshitshi – both Mkhwanazi (a rhythm guitarist, bassist and drummer) and Motha (a guitarist and vocalist) went on to become the founder members of the last successful band of mbaqanga’s heyday, Amaswazi Emvelo, in 1978. By that point, mbaqanga was faltering in popularity - but it is a testament to both members that Amaswazi was a group that was consistently popular and highly productive until the late 1980s.

Nick Lotay
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