Sithi Haleluya


Sithi Haleluya is a well-known Ndebele church song from Zimbabwe, often sung in Shona, as well. It was popular during the anti-Apartheid movement where it was also part of a wide-ranging repertoire of South African protest/freedom songs.

The song was first shared with the MMC community by Canadian song leader Hilary Seraph Donaldson, who learned it from Maria Minnaar-Bailey. Maria grew up in rural Zimbabwe where she played in local marimba bands and learned and taught indigenous styles of music. She now brings those first-hand experiences of African music making to communities in the United States.

You can learn more about the context of the song and find teaching strategies through Break into Song, a series of instructional videos created by Hilary.

Ndebele:
Singaba hambayo thina kulumhlaba
Siy’ekhaya ezulwini.
(Sithi) Haleluya.

Literal English translation (Maria Minnaar-Bailey):
We are walking along in this world of woe,
but onward home to Heaven we go.
Hallelujah.

English singing translation (Andrew Donaldson and Hilary Seraph Donaldson):
Together we walk along in this world of woe,
for heaven calls us on and home we go.
Hallelujah!


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  • Rachel Kroh
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