I was about 5 years old, and Mom was very busy with my sickly newborn sister, and apparently I was not impressed. For quite a few years I was the only focus of my parents and extended family. A precocious little girl with to much imagination I am told.
My darling granddad, Oupa Faan, told me many stories, about Thokoloshe and a bogeyman called Sakaboela. He also told me about the New Jerusalem, our forever home. One of the things I remember well is a brown cardboard bookcase he gave me. He told me to pack my most precious possessions in it. I remember asking what we would do once I have packed. He told me that we will walk to Jerusalem.
One morning, I packed my case and informed my mother I was leaving for Jerusalem. She was distracted and busy feeding the baby, and greeted me, thinking it was one of my games and I would go out to the garden and come back, as I often did. That was a mistake. We lived in Millsite close to Piggs’ Peak in Swaziland. The settlement consisted of sawmill employee homes built in a meander on a hilly slope around the mill and compound.
The community knew me, the sawmill managers daughter. I loved going to work with him. To this day the smell of freshly cut pine and sawdust warm the cockles of my heart. Our housekeeper Lilian lived in the compound. A worker found me wandering in the compound and took me to Lilian’s house and ran to go and call my father, who, with the rest of the community where already looking for me.
All I can report is that my father walked me back from my Jerusalem pilgrimage to the rhythm of his hand hitting my backside. No dancing was done! It was a long walk. My going to Jerusalem days done for.
Sound mix wizard, Master KG composed the song with seven lines and Jerusalema featuring Nomcebo hit the airwaves late 2019 and became an instant hit. It sparked a global dance challenge which he reckons began in Angola after a group of friends
recorded a video of the dance leading to the international #JerusalemaChallenge
The song is a plaintive prayer. Where we find ourselves is not our home, there is a better place, a Jerusalem for us all. I think it is what inspired the young people who made the first video, and every person since.
Although it is sung in isiZulu, once one discovers the meaning of the words, the reason why the song currently resonates the world-over is that we all long for a Jerusalem, a better place, a new world. A life past Covid-19 and something new and not so scary. It does for me, and my faith that a better tomorrow awaits us all.
In the words of Joynews.co.za
“South African dance worship song “Jerusalema” has hit 46 Million views and numerous international copy dance videos around the world. Understanding the lyrics can help you can worship God with the song as well as enjoying the tune and dance. In context, the singer speaks of ‘Jerusalem’ as the heavenly city, which is her true home she is looking forward to. She asks God to walk with her and protect her until he takes her home to heaven. Covid19 reminds us of the fragility of our lives, which can end at any time. Those who believe in Jesus have the confidence of an eternal home in heaven, because he died in our place as punishment for our sins against God. We thus have hope in heaven, which we don’t deserve instead of eternal fire, which we do deserve. Don’t think there has been any worship dance song as popular with the unbelieving public since ‘Shackles’ by Mary Mary, which came out about 20 years ago. Hopefully this song can be a bridge to share the good news about Jesus with some of them. But that won’t happen unless we share the meaning of the words.”
Come sing and dance along and share the meaning of the song.
Jerusalema ikhaya lami(Jerusalem is my home/Jerusalem is my woning)
Ngilondoloze(Guard me/ Waak oor my)
Uhambe nami(Walk with me/Loop saam met my)
Zungangishiyi lana(Do not leave me here/ Moet my nie hier los nie)
Ndawo yami ayikho lana(My place is not here/My plek is nie hier nie)
Mbuso wami awukho lana(My kingdom is not here/My koningkryk is nie hier nie)
Ngilondoloze(Guard me/Waak oor my)
Songwriters: Nomcebo Nkwanyana / Kaugelo Moagi
Jerusalema lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group