Albert Nyathi’s ‘Senzeni Na’ 20th Anniversary At Book Cafe

The year 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the hit song ‘Senzeni Na?’ by Albert Nyathi, which received wide airplay in Zimbabwe over a long period after its release in 1994 and became a beautiful, poignant melody on everyone’s lips – “What have we done?”

 Albert Nyathi at a SADC meeting

Albert Nyathi at a SADC meeting

The poem and song was written by Albert Nyathi in 1993 after the brutal assassination of South African freedom fighter Chris Hani, to whom the song was dedicated.

It was finally recorded and released in 1994, featuring various artists including Prudence Katomeni (lead vocals) along with singers Mathew ‘Mateo’ Kaunda, Muzi Mangena, Albert Nyathi himself, the late Douglas Domingo (bass), Thomas Domingo (rhythm), and David Domingo (lead guitar); with Moses Bhekizulu Kabubi (keyb), David Moyo (drums); engineered by the late Steve Roskily and produced by Ibrahim Cader.

Some original SenzeniNa singers

Some original SenzeniNa singers

The song is still fondly remembered and sung today.

 The 20th Anniversary

The main purpose of the 20th anniversary launch of “Senzeni Na?” is to celebrate its longevity, and at the same time create national landmark events around the anniversary that result in dialogue and awareness around issues of cultural fragmentation, cultural diversity and the need to re-link our Zimbabwean communities, in this case through a cultural platform, culture being the most effective medium of social cohesion and integration.

This also falls in line with the UNESCO Declaration Cultural Diversity (2005) of which Zimbabwe is signatory, and of the Constitution of Zimbabwe that enshrines rights of cultural diversity and expression.

The project is specifically designed to bring people together and create a platform for appreciation of our cultural, social and linguistic diversity. The 90-minute musical production features artists from different cultures, languages and dialects spoken in the country – Kalanga, Tonga, Venda, Xhosa, Shona, Sotho, Nambia, Ndebele and English among others.

The production is intended to tour the country’s different provinces over the next few years, with the launch and first performance at the Book Cafe, home of the arts for artists young and old, experienced and emerging, and where original members have been invited to perform on Friday 12 September. The second launch takes place (on a date to be announced) in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo – the ‘City of Kings’.

The production by Albert Nyathi & Imbongi Arts is supported by Pamberi Trust in Harare and Nhimbe Trust in Bulawayo through their mutual partner Africalia, and by the European Union.

Imbongi Arts is a cultural institution established in 1997 which has conducted numerous training programmes among aspiring artists, many of whom have risen to success.