Usizi is a Zulu word that means **sadness**, **sorrow**, **grief**, or **distress**. It is also the title of a song by the late South African reggae legend Lucky Dube, who sang about the hardships and injustices that people face in the world. The song was released in 1995 as part of his album Usizi, which was his last album before he switched to singing in English.
The lyrics of Usizi express Lucky Dube’s compassion and empathy for the suffering of others, as well as his hope for a better future. He sings:
Usizi emhlabeni (Misery in the world)
Izingane zilala zingadlile (Kids go to bed hungry)
Umama nobaba (Mom and dad)
Emsebenzini badiliziwe (Laid off at work)
Ubusuku bud’ezele (The night is long)
Kodwa kusasa lizayo (But tomorrow will come)
Lizokhanyisa ilanga (The sun will shine)
The song also criticizes the greed and corruption of those who exploit and oppress the poor, and calls for justice and accountability. He sings:
Abanye bethu sebeqhubeka nokudla (Some of our people are still eating)
Benza izinto ezimbi (Doing bad things)
Babangele usizi, isifo, nokufa (They’ve delivered misery, disease, and even death)
Bazoyibona nje imali yabo (They will see their money)
Iyobaleka kubo (It will run away from them)
Bazohlala bengenanto (They will be left with nothing)
Usizi is a powerful and moving song that reflects the reality of many people who struggle to survive in a world full of pain and injustice. It also offers a message of hope and resilience, reminding us that we are not alone in our suffering, and that there is always a new day ahead.
Lucky Dube was one of the most popular and influential reggae artists in Africa and beyond. He was born in 1964 in Ermelo, South Africa, and grew up in poverty and apartheid. He started his musical career as a mbaqanga singer, but later switched to reggae after being inspired by Peter Tosh and Bob Marley. He used his music as a tool to spread awareness and resistance against the oppression and discrimination that he and his people faced. He also sang about universal themes such as love, peace, unity, and spirituality.
Lucky Dube recorded 22 albums in Zulu, English, and Afrikaans, and sold over 25 million copies worldwide. He won numerous awards and accolades, and performed in many countries across the globe. He was admired and respected by his fans and fellow musicians for his talent, charisma, and integrity. He was also a devoted family man and a humanitarian who supported various causes. He was tragically killed in 2007 by carjackers in Johannesburg, leaving behind a legacy of music and inspiration that lives on.
One of the most distinctive features of Lucky Dube’s music was his use of African instruments and rhythms, such as the pennywhistle, the marimba, and the mbaqanga beat. He blended these elements with the reggae sound and style, creating a unique and original fusion that appealed to a wide and diverse audience. He also sang in different languages, including Zulu, English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, and Sotho, demonstrating his respect and appreciation for the cultural diversity of his country and continent.
Lucky Dube’s music was not only entertaining, but also educational and empowering. He addressed various social and political issues that affected his people and the world, such as apartheid, racism, poverty, violence, human rights, religion, and HIV/AIDS. He also expressed his hopes and dreams for a better future, where people could live in harmony and freedom. He encouraged his listeners to stand up for their rights and dignity, and to resist any form of oppression or injustice. He also inspired them to love themselves and each other, and to seek spiritual guidance and wisdom.