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Did Ladysmith Black Mambazo Do Justice To Neria?

Zimbabwean superstar, Oliver Mtukudzi’s roping in of Grammy Award winners and South African male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo on the remix of his timeless hit song Neria has rekindled and re-awakened people’s love for the touching song, composed and named after the all-time favorite Zimbabwe movie.

The original song composed in the 90s has since its release charmed and touched many people all over the world, the reason why the South African group could have opted for it.

With the remix receiving rave reviews from Tuku fans, unanswered questions still remain on the suitability of Black Mambazo to feature on a song that has won international recognition and awards for the Zimbabwe legend.


Listening to the original version of Neria, one is unconsciously divorced to the beat which usually excites people into tapping their feet. The version converses more with the heart, leaving listeners in deep thoughts and somber state while feeling inspired at the same time. Its words carry more weight than anything else. All that the beat does is accompany words to one’s heart.

Now, with this rendition which carries more dance moves and show of little connection to the background story, it fails to paint a picture in one’s mind of the struggling widowed Neria. In short the song is pitched on a fun note that is disconnected with the depressing background of Neria.

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Mambazo’s backing could be too heavy (especially the first part where they come in) on a song that is known to be sweet, slow, smooth flowing and mellow.

A comparison of Tuku’s Neria rendition with award winning Joss Stone and this latest one would further suggest that the South African outfit was not the right voice on this song.

Romance between Stone’s well articulated vocals and Samanyanga’s husky voice relegates the South African’s collaboration with a wave of emotion and shivers down one’s spine.


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