Marking Heritage Day, this year’s National Heritage event pays tribute to the 60th anniversary of the death of singer-songwriter Solomon Popoli Linda.

He is best known as the composer of the song “Mbube”, which later became the popular musical success “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and gave its name to the Mbube style of isicathamiya a capella music.

Heritage Month in 2022 will focus on the music of the indigenous peoples of South Africa, with a focus on Isikatami music and its immense contribution.

Solomon Lind is credited with influencing what is now known as Ischatomia.

According to a fellow musician, Babsi Mlangeni, Iskatomi was once named after Linda’s song, Mbube, also known as A Lion Sleeps Tonight.

The song became famous in 1939, introducing a special kind of a cappella music to the world.

By 1949, over 100,000 copies were reportedly sold in South Africa.

Mlangeni believes Linda has made a huge contribution to the African music scene.

“In later years it was called ‘Ngoma Busuku’ because it was performed late at night. It later became chothoza mfana until it was called schathamiya, as far as I am concerned, I think Solomon Linda invented the trend,” says musician Babsi Mlangeni.

Solomon Linda was born Solomon Ntsele in 1909 near Pomeroy, Msinga, Ladysmith. He later dropped the surname and used his clan name Linda.

The composer of the world-famous song allegedly sold the rights to a record company for 10 shillings (35 rand).

Mlangeni says this was common at the time because of the lack of information.

“Many musicians all over the world have taken to this song. Unfortunately, this is one of those African songs that, when you pick it up, you don’t think you can give it credit anywhere. You, the writer, are unknown and you can do whatever you want with that and that is what happened to Mkhulu Linda,” says musician Blondie Makhene.

Music icon Sipho Hotstix Mabuse says Linda wrote the most popular song in the world.

“Solomon Linda’s legacy is creating one of the most iconic songs to ensure the music survives beyond the shores of South Africa. I think it’s really important to celebrate him and say thank you for supporting our music.”

Mabuse says groups like Ladysmith Black Mambazo have been a catalyst in keeping Linda’s music alive.

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