10 years ago on June 7, if memory and Google serve me correct, Thandiswa Mazwai's debut solo album Zabalaza hit music store shelves. I'm surprised I haven't seen any media reminding us of this day, maybe no one bothered to remember. I've bought and lost the album three times since it's release and by pure co-incidence, about a week ago I downloaded a few tracks from it. Tracks that I just missed hearing. First it was that haunting Transkei Moon, next thing I knew I was on to Ndizakulibala, which is playing as I write this, and on to Nizalwa Ngobani!
I was in school and still possessed by the "consciousness" that I assume most black kids go through. You know, the ganja-smoking-and-dreadlock-wearing stage that, for some, continues right through to adulthood. Lol. It was a marvellous time and a time when I learnt to appreciate the fact that we have some major talent of our own right here at home.
Zabalaza served to reinforce this for me because it wasn't only an album that totally had me by the balls with a proverbial "vice grip" (beautiful production) but also because of the singer's lyrics about how meaningless uMzabalazo and it's gains had been for many of the masses of the poor in our country. I loved and still love the idea that one should never forget one's origins as Thandiswa sings when she asks Nizalwa Ngobani? "The world changes, revolutionaries die and the children forget. The ghetto is our first love and our dreams are drenched in gold..."
I could wax lyrical about this album all day. Hell, I don't even go to church but the gospel sound of Revelation got me hella excited! I have a feeling most of you reading this, if you were as manic about this classic work as I am, don't need a reminder of just how great an album it was. You just know it! It's ten years and a few days later and it still sounds as good as it did a few minutes after I bought it at a store located at the Sunnypark Shopping Centre in 'Scummyside', Pretoria, in July 2004, about a month after it was released. I'm convinced I have the date right, but please do correct me if I am wrong about it and, if I am mistaken by any chance, fuck! It is still an album worth being given an ear by those who were perhaps too young to understand and appreciate its significance.