It’s a new day in Africa, and I love it!
What makes me say that?
I say that because we now have the likes of award-winning Nigerian recording artist Yemi Alade remaking her songs in Swahili for African fans on the other side of the continent (she specifically mentions Kenya).
Why does that matter?
It matters to me because finally, I am seeing the fruit of much-spoken-about Pan-African ideals not only in the usual rhetoric of our political leaders (sorry I don’t have much faith in that) but also in the everyday lives of regular Africans and in pop culture, which usually reflects the zeitgeist of the times.
I find this exciting!
Have you heard Yemi Alade ‘Na Gode’ Swahili Version yet?
Let me take a step back and tell you a little more.
First and foremost, who is Yemi Alade?
If you haven’t heard the song before, check out the video below—chances are, you’ll recognize it.
Not only did ‘Johnny’ do very well in Ms. Alade’s home country Nigeria, but it was also well received in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Liberia, Uganda (that’s where I first heard it), Zimbabwe, and the U.K.
In an unexpected move, Ms. Alade also released a French version of ‘Johnny’ for her Francophone fans.
Mid-last year, Yemi Alade released the first single off her second album, Mama Africa, set to be in stores in March 2016.
The single, ‘Na Gode’ (which means ‘thank you’ in Hausa), is a beautiful song about thanking God no matter what your circumstances in life are.
Here’s the GORGEOUS video she released for the song.
The success of her music in East Africa was not lost on Ms. Alade and right before the end of the year, she mentioned on social media that she had a special Christmas present for her East African fans: a Swahili Version of ‘Na Gode’.
Yemi Alade – ‘Na Gode’ Swahili Version
I first heard it when a friend shared it with me on Whatsapp (can you tell I am on Whatsapp a lot? ;-)), and my first thought was that a Tanzanian singer had jumped on the bandwagon of Nigerian music being popular and decided to release a song in the same style.
Boy, was I wrong!…But that tells you somewhat how good of a job Ms. Alade did of singing in Swahili.
Unlike the French remake of ‘Johnny’, for which Ms. Alade did not release a video, she has gone all out with the Swahili version of ‘Na Gode’ and released a video earlier this year.
Watch ‘Yemi Alade – Na Gode (Swahili Version Official Video)’ below.
Where else other than Kenya is Swahili spoken?
Swahili is spoken in 8 countries in Eastern and Central Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo though very similar languages are also spoken in Comoro Islands and Mayotte.
As a native Swahili speaker, I am absolutely pleased by Yemi Alade’s hat tip to her fans in the Swahili-speaking world.
As an African, it delights me even more because of what it means in terms of cross-cultural collaboration and sharing between vastly different African countries and regions.
What do you think about Yemi Alade ‘Na Gode’ Swahili version ? Let me know in the comment section below.
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Photo Credits: Yemi Alade’s Facebook page