‘Senzenina’ is a call and response community song passed down and shared through
oral tradition and so every version you hear will be slightly different.
Traditionally sung at funerals, demonstrations and in churches, Senzenina was
widely used during the South African struggle to overcome apartheid. By way of
honouring the principals of freedom and equality that underpin the history of this
powerful chant Survivors Voices felt it was an appropriate song to use to call for the
end of all forms of abuse and to raise awareness of how it affects us spiritually.
What Do The Words Mean?
‘Senzenina’ means ‘What have we done?’ in the Zulu language. The song is asking
‘What have we done to deserve this treatment?’; ‘What have we done to deserve
this abuse’? The answer of course is “Nothing”.
You did nothing to deserve the mistreatment that you have endured. You are
innocent; you are blameless and you always have been, regardless of what others
have tried to tell you.
Add Your Voice
You are invited to add your voice to this collective Senzenina Project and join us in
raising public awareness and understanding of abuse in the hope of bringing about a
fairer, kinder, more compassionate, more just society. Download details of how to join in here.
Our demo for you to sing along with is here:
If you want to hear a brilliant South African choir sing it, check out the Cape Town Youth Choir on Youtube