When Jerusalema came out, it quickly became a favourite among South African radio stations, thanks to its swinging beat contrasting with its religious lyrics sung in Zulu.
Its title may not ring a bell, but its melody surely will. South African hit Jerusalema was first released last November but gained considerable popularity during the months of lockdown. The single has even recently become the most-searched-for song on Shazam worldwide.
This song by Master KG and Nomcebo drew the attention of Angolan dance troupe Fenomenos do Semba. They used it to launch a #JerusalemaDanceChallenge last February with a video that quickly went viral on YouTube. Many groups picked up the challenge on YouTube and TikTok, including frontline health workers in a Swedish hospital and even Italian monks and nuns.
While Jerusalema‘s official video counts close to 149 million views on YouTube, Master KG announced in August that the hit was number one in many iTunes charts, from France to South Africa, as well as Portugal and Romania. Even though BTS ousted Jerusalema with Dynamite in the meantime (as did Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B with WAP), Shazam recently revealed that Jerusalema was the most-searched-for song worldwide on its app, which can automatically identify the songs being played around you.
Currently Jerusalema ft nomcebo is No 1 In 10 Countries Including my own Country🇿🇦🇿🇦🇿🇦 On itunes …This is Amazing 🙏🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/L02S6IgefD
— Master KG Music (@MasterKGsa) August 17, 2020
South African national treasure
The gospel-inspired hit was so successful in its home country that the South African president himself, Cyril Ramaphosa, recently encouraged his fellow citizens to take part in #JerusalemaDanceChallenge ahead of the country’s National Heritage Day on September 24. Cyril Ramaphosa explained in an official COVID-19 update how much he loves this track and that dancing to it celebrates the South African identity.
A film about Master KG hit was even shot in Cape Town on September 17, in the lead up to the Heritage Day celebrations, according to Variety.
Making peace through music
This track is also helping ease tensions between Nigerian musician Burna Boy and South Africa. The Nigerian star referenced the South African government on Twitter regarding xenophobic attacks in the country last year. He had even pledged to never set foot in South Africa again.
Following his collaboration with Master KG in June on a Jerusalema remix, Burna Boy declared that he hoped that this track would unite African peoples. “My hope is that it unites us through our divisions and misunderstandings and dance together. We are not in competition, we are one Africa, we are united,” said the singer to South African daily The Sowetan.
This article is published via AFP Relaxnews.