Bra Masekela says this: "We first recorded this song in 1968 on the 'Promise of A Future' album. People from Johannesburg always thought of themselves as being much more advanced, civilised and hipper than anybody that did not grow up there, especially people from the outlying provinces like Nothern Transvaal, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Malawi, Swaziland. I was also thinking about how the whites used to ill-treat us and call us 'Kaffirs' and all kinds of dirty names. The song is a call to those who are denigrated and vilified by these attitudes to stand up proudly and not allow themselves to be called derogatory names like 'Mighirighamba', 'Makirimane', 'Makwankwies', 'Makhafula', etc. With the influx today of peoples from all over the African diaspora into South Africa, the level of xenophobia has risen to disgusting heights. Most paradoxically, the song is even more popular amongst black South Africans today and is deeply loved by the new immigrants which helped the 'Black To The Future' album to platinum heights."
I say this: Whatever! Oblivious to all that, from the first notes, Chileshe (and before it Mama, in the "Greatest Hits" album) made my soul shrink and my mind stop... it was a direct call to the heart... It told me, from the very beginning, things that I new all about a long time before... just in different words... Abantu just said it all! Abantu... that's all we are!
Anyways, it's just funny that tha bra would refer to Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana (! even after all he went through there!), Malawi and Swaziland as "outlying provinces"... Interestingly enough, Angola has escaped the downgrading, perhaps not surprisingly, given the comparatively fewer numbers of Angolan migrant workers in the South African mines along the decades... or maybe just because it doesn't have a border with SA? But, then, Malawi doesn't have one either... Was he just joking, or did someone else seriously write it for him? ... But it doesn't really matter, does it?