Weddings. The joys!! These are a huge deal in Zimbabwe. This is where, aside from funerals, you get to catch up with long-lost family members over a plate of overcooked rice, tomato gravy, crispy chicken and coleslaw as you sip on your bottle of Fanta or Coke. To some it may seem basic, but to us, this is what weddings are made of. And we love it!!
The highlight of any wedding of course is when the bridal party does ‘ma-steps’ during the reception as the Mamas weave inbetween them, ululating till kingdom come after which the dance floor is opened up and the guests join in, breaking it down to the latest hits. Weddings are one of the few times you see young and old, Sekurus and vazukurus, dancing the night away together in celebration of a new addition into the family.
I decided to compile a list of songs that I grew up hearing at weddings – and boy did they make a wedding pop!!
1. Vulindlela – Brenda Fassie
The late, great Brenda Fassie gave us a wedding anthem that will last for decades to come. In this song, she is speaking about a traditional African wedding, telling guests to make room for the bride. The beat makes it a perfect song for wedding steps.
2. Come Duze – Zizi Kongo
This song is a call for a loved one to ‘come duze’ (come closer). Perfect for a wedding. It takes me way back to when I was a little kid watching my aunts and uncles two-step to this track at our family weddings. It warms the soul.
3. Loi – Koffi Olomide
South America has the salsa. The Caribbean Islands have the dutty whine. Africa has got the ‘Soukous/Lingala/Congo’ or as us Zimbabweans like to call it, the ‘Rumba’ made popular by this Congolese legend. Loi is one of his most popular tracks which makes for a great wedding jam.
4. Nkalakatha – Mandoza
I have no clue what this song is going on about. All I know is when that first beat drops, people lose their ‘unhu’ as they scramble to the dancefloor.
5. Tauya Naye – David Chifunyise
David Chifunyise released this song and it took Zimbabwe by storm. Similar to Brenda Fassie’s ‘Vulindlela’, this song speaks about the arrival of the muroora. He narrates how he first met his girl at school, realised there was chemistry between them, and the road that led to her becoming his bride. A great sing-along song at any Zim wedding!!
6. Roba Letheka – Ishmael
I remember doing ma-steps to this song for a cousin’s wedding. Again, I have no clue what he was saying, but this song definitely got the crowd going!!
7. Ndihamba Nawe – Mafikizolo
Mafikizolo is one of the greatest South African house groups of our time. They gave us one of the best house songs to ever grace a wedding reception stage. Ndihamba Nawe is a song you definitely want to hear at your wedding reception!!
8. Thathi Sgubhu
This is a track by South African kwaito group which included Jah Seed, a Zimbabwean native. Some of their music is in Shona as a result of his influence. This band has delivered a number of hits that helped make kwaito popular across the Limpopo River. This is a wedding favourite for many!
9. Destiny – Malaika
Another classic from a South African house band. This makes for a great sing-along at a wedding – you can catch young and old belting their lungs out to this simple yet soulful track!
10. Mamaland – Yvonne Chaka Chaka
A song celebrating the motherland! Yvonne Chaka Chaka is an African musical legend and this song is one of her greats!! Takes it way back and lights up any wedding dance floor!