Music hits us on a deeper level than we think. Music speaks to the soul. Music is melody (vibrations) and word. When fused they make a very influential instrument, and Tsonga musicians are the most modern powerful tool in the Shangaanisation of Vatsonga. It is through music this confusion that leads to our identity crisis is spread.
We will focus mainly on South Africa and Mozambique because Tsonga artists who have major impact in Zimbabwe are few.
In South Africa, Xitsonga music is called “Xigaza/Xichangani”, but in Mozambique it is not called Xigaza na Xichangani. So where do Vatsonga in South Africa pick up the spirit of labeling Xitsonga music as Xichangani/Xigaza?
There are different sub-genres of Xitsonga music and Xitsonga dance, but “wa Xigaza/Xichangani” is used as an umbrella tag for our music and dance. Are we implying that before the Gaza tribe of Nxumalo, Vatsonga did not have music and dance? For example, labels like Shangaan Disco are used to label music which has no link to a specific family. The Ndwandwe did not invent it. Who in the family of Soshangani invented Disco music? Kumbe Nghunghunyani hi yena a nga tumbuluxa makhwaya while he was drunk? If indeed Tsonga music is to be called by names of some people’s ancestors, then Benny Mayengani’s music should be Xigulukhulu, Dr. Chauke’s music should be Xihlengwe/Xinyori music, George Maluleke’s should be Xin’wanati music and so on.
The Shangaanisation of Xitsonga music and dance is not accidental, it is a designed project.
“Shangaanism is a systematic campaign in the present Tsonga context that aims to legitimize the idea that Vatsonga as a people, are either all descendants of Soshangani or are subjects of his fallen kingdom. Therefore, reducing the existence of Vatsonga to beginning of Mfecane and at the same time, denying the existence of Vatsonga prior Soshangani’s birth. This is a lie that, unfortunately, most Vatsonga believe because they were born and were raised hearing it.”
We acknowledge that artists are human beings just like everyone else and are not exempt to being confused. Kambe tsundzuka ku, it is through music that Vatsonga are fed the Shangaanistaion doctrine. YES, many are under the impression that they are “bombising” (promoting) the cultural richness of “Gazankulu”. But do they know that the name Gaza was imposed on Vatsonga through scheming? The National Party and the Nxumalo had everything to gain in naming our homeland Gazankulu, but eka Vatsonga it was a loss. Gazankulu is nothing to celebrate, it was a concentration camp designed by valungu to control us.
When we look into Mozambique, where the name Gaza is still in use to refer to a certain province, there is no usage of the term Xigaza/Xichangani to refer to Tsonga music. Even though we may find that a significant number of Tsonga artists in Mozambique may identify as Machangani, their music is not Xigaza or Xichangani. Remember that;
- What Mario Ntimani plays in Mozambique is similar to what MD Shirindza plays, maar music wa MD is said to be Xigaza.
- What H. W. Makhuvele plays is similar to what Mahekwani (another Makhuvele) used to play in Mozambique, but music wa Makhuvele loyi wa le SA wu vuriwa Xigaza.
- What Mr Bow plays is similar to what is played by General Muzka, but swa General Muzka is labeled Shangaan Disco.
In all music recorded by Mozambican artists in 1965-1990, there is not even a single song that mentions the word Xichangani/Machangani, the first song pops up after 1990. To label Mozambican Tsonga music as Xigaza in Mozambique is derogatory. The same applies when you refer to a Mutsonga in Mozambique as Mugaza, it is very derogatory. But the same people who offended by “Magaza”, agree to be labeled Machangani, why yi vona identity crisis?
Ku na mhaka la…
This shows that these terms are a contradiction to Vatsonga.
When Tsonga music plays on MLFM, a South African Xitsonga radio station, it is referred to as Xigaza/Xichangani. Kambe when the same song plays ka TV, it is referred to as a Xitsonga song. MLFM hosts the Xitsonga Music Awards each year, but what is ironic is that when it comes to awards that recognize and celebrate music wa Xigaza/Xichangani, MLFM pulls out “Xitsonga” awards and not Xigaza/Xichangani awards. Then on national level, we have SAMA and SATMA; they have a Xitsonga music category, and an artist like Nozinja will not decline an award for Xitsonga Album of The Year even though he makes “Shangaan Electro”.
It is either Tsonga artists in South Africa are of the belief that Xitsonga i Xichangani or va tiendlisa. See, Tsonga artists in South Africa dispute that they are not all Shangaan, kambe they don’t protest when nominated for an award as Tsonga artist. So called Shangaan artists don’t protests when categorized as Tsonga by the government, music industry, and in official documents etc – kambe ku na protest when Mutsongakuloni tells them that they are not Shangaan.
Swona hi swihi?
Maybe Vatsonga are haunted by the spirit of Soshangani, and its making us label our music and dance after him and his grandfather, Gasa (Gaza). Come weekend, every Tsonga MC will be shouting “hi bombisa xigaza hi bombisa xichangani, hina swihluke swa Nghunghunyani”…