Thoko ea tlhōlo (Anthem of victory)

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Manzini Adult Choir, cond. not specified.
SABC digital recording 1991, recorded live during the Old Mutual Festival, Standard Bank Arena, Johannesburg, 8 Dec, 1991, stored in 1992 on SABC CDT9, Trk. 12. At 122 bars with several changes of key and time signature, this song raised the benchmark for African choral music in 1947. It begins in four voices, ends in six, and is peppered with dynamic markings that work it up into a frenzy. Mohapeloa translated the title, ‘In praise of man’s victory over ignorance’, and although the victory is clearly a spiritual one some of the allusions in the text might also be seen as political, bearing in mind the song’s publication date, just after World War II.

Look, look, the strong ones have fallen! Look, they have been dispersed! Glory, praise, and a person’s pride have been trampled. This is a finger that points at big things. The power of Jehovah is above all. Shout, shout, let us praise the brave ones! Shout, shout; let us applaud them! Give praise to the Creator, the God who fought for us. Our praises of thanks are lifted to Jehovah, to the God of Gods, The Lord of Lords. Among those praises we are unable to forget Africa. The small [young] nations trust You, the rock; You the natural stronghold, the fortress of those who are troubled. Hasten the day of our freedom. Amongst all the small nations of colour this happiness is in pieces. Next to us are the clouds and fog of all that shames us. There we just say, please, look at the land of Africa. The shame should change to rain that brings life. You our stronghold and fortress of the troubled ones, have compassion for the generation of Kama. (MM-S)

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