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Review: Ndobatirira by Feli Nandi – A song that goes against the grain

Made by Kuda (MADE IN ZWE), a gift to Plot Mhako and the earGROUND vision.

Review: Ndobatirira by Feli Nandi – A song that goes against the grain

The latest song Ndobatirira released by Feli Nandi goes against the grain, in a healing way. The grain is leave, move, go, exit, run, avoid the work. This song says, stay, hold on, think value, appreciate, be the light, do the work. The story she tells is multidirectional. She does not say who wronged who – it could as well be the man speaking to the woman, and vice versa. Neither does she tell any detail of what issue(s) the subject of chopping onions may be. And that’s genius: all our multidimensional stories are catered for.

Review by Musa Kika

Verse 1

Vanhu vanenge iwewe, vanopa rudo sewe, vanoratidza mwenje, havauye kaviri kwete,

Zvichida tapesana, tatadza kuyanana,

Chimwe changu, ndeipi yanano yawakawona isinawo zvayo?

Rungaita rwendo rwedi here, pasina kumbokwengana, pasina kumbonetsana? 

Pane vaviri panotoita zvapo.

She starts by appreciating and recognising what’s in her hands: a cherished love that’s not commonplace. Though her story will tell the tango of love and strife in union, she elects to start from the high place of positive mindedness and recognition of value. Then realism: we will grapple and struggle; melee in our world. But tell me, which union doesn’t have its share of predicaments? A chasmic question: is it genuine love, a veritable journey when it’s one way, the fast lane, straight and narrow, absent skirmishes and the occasional misapprehension? Beware the soft life! 


Saka ini ndinobvira kushingirira, 

Wako mupendero wemoyo ndobatiria, 

Kuchengetedza zvacho zvishoma zvasarira, 

Uchinge wadzokedzana ndakakumirira. 

The punchline of the song comes in the chorus. Persevere and hold on; this is where she goes against the grain and strolls down the boulevard less patronised. She elects tenacity and perseverance over wallowing in despair and escaping to the tractable. Realism: sometimes love gets on the low, as if on sabbatical or leave of absence, but she deposes to be the one to preserve what remains until the morning sun breaks on the horizon again, as it is sure to. And another gem of instruction: time and patience. Time, the great magician. You will find me waiting once you get yourself together.

Verse 2

Mukumhanyisana nemhepo, ndimo mukupindurana nehasha,

Wareva kuti unondida, iniwo ndikati ndinokuda,

Chimwe changu zvichida tapoesana, tatadza kuyayanana, 

Ndeipi wanano yawakawona isinawo zvayo?

Chavanoti rudo, kusunungura moyo wako,

Kugara wagadzirira, kuchenesa chero zvauya.

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Calm, she summons. It’s not about out-screaming each other and escalating. She chooses instead to profess love in that moment: notice how she starts by speaking about the partner’s love for her (and not her’s for him first), and then vocalises her’s for him. Again, seeing good, value and holding fast a healthy dose of gratitude.

In this verse is what I consider the other most important line in the piece: Feli recites her definition of love. And isn’t it fervent? What is love? It’s opening and emancipating the heart and readying the self to sanctify and depollute the impure, in whatever strand it manifests, she says. So, this is not opening to receive perfection, wholeness and all that’s good and ends well, but opening up to service and creating the good and wholesomeness. I read somewhere the other week that when you look around and you perceive much darkness, gaze anew, you may just be the light. I got reminded of this, this time in song.  


Saka ini ndinobvira kushingirira, 

Wako mupendero wemoyo ndobatiria, 

Kuchengetedza zvacho zvishoma zvasaririra,

Uchinge wadzokedzana ndakakumirira. 

Five times, she repeats this in that last part of the song as if to drill the message home, the fifth time without the aid of instruments – just her bare voice, lest the Adventist acapella lover be left untouched with such a wholesome message! It’s a short song, 2 minutes 39 seconds, and doesn’t the message get delivered“ a whole sermon on the mount? That’s the beauty of art“ it needs no volumes. Couple that with a melody sweet to the ear and an angelic voice at that. Gold! 


I’ll catalogue this fresh work of art in the league of songs like Mebo by our guy Obert Chari, injecting life to affection and union in an age of hurt, broken hearts, and an unsettling readiness to relinquish love and an affinity to quit and abandon.

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Made by Kuda (MADE IN ZWE)
A gift to Plot Mhako and the earGROUND vision.
Truly, for the culture.

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