Daar kom die Alibama (in English: There comes the Alibama) is a popular traditional Afrikaans song[1] and Cape jazz song.[2] According to some sources, the song's history dates back to about 1863, and it originally referred to the warship, the CSS Alabama.[3][4] The English name, Alabama, was respelt in the Cape Dutch vernacular to, Alibama.

Origin

CSS Alabama

In the American Civil War, the CSS Alabama sailed under the flag of the Confederate States of America and was assigned the role of raiding Union commercial shipping. The ship was extremely successful with this and gained international fame. During the CSS Alabama's South African Expeditionary Raid in 1863 the ship docked at Cape Town to take on supplies and sell cargo and ships looted during its mission.[5] The Alabama visited Cape Town again in 1864. The song is thought to have originated during these visits.[6]

River boat

The South African journalist and author Lawrence G. Green states that the lyrics reference to a "reed bed" possibly points to the song having a more humble origin.[7] Green states that in the 1800s there was a river boat based on the Berg River, also named the Alabama (Alibama), that once a year used to deliver reeds to the harbour a Cape Town. The reeds were used by weavers to braid bridal beds for Cape Malay brides; at Cape Town harbour they sang: "There comes the Alibama… the Alibama that comes across the sea ..."[7]

Lyrics

The lyrics in Afrikaans are:

Daar kom die Alibama, die Alibama kom oor die see

Daar kom die Alibama, die Alibama kom oor die see

Nooi, nooi, die rietkooi, nooi, die rietkooi is gemaak
Die rietkooi is vir jou gemaak om daarop te slaap
Nooi, nooi, die rietkooi, nooi, die rietkooi is gemaak,
Die rietkooi is vir jou gemaak om daarop te slaap

Die Alibama, die Alibama, die Alibama kom oor die see
Die Alibama, die Alibama, die Alibama kom oor die see

Daar kom die Alibama, die Alibama die kom oor die see
Daar kom die Alibama, die Alibama die kom oor die see

Die Alibama, die Alibama, die Alibama kom oor die see

Die Alibama, die Alibama, die Alibama kom oor die see

Translated into English the lyrics are:

Here comes the Alibama, the Alibama comes across the sea

Here comes the Alibama, the Alibama comes across the sea

Invite, girl, the reed bed, girl, the reed bed is made-up,
the reed bed is made-up for you to sleep on
Invite, girl, the reed bed, girl, the reed bed is made-up,
the reed bed is made-up for you to sleep on

The Alibama, the Alibama, the Alibama comes across the sea
The Alibama, the Alibama, the Alibama comes across the sea

Here comes the Alibama, the Alibama that comes across the sea
Here comes the Alibama, the Alibama that comes across the sea

The Alibama, the Alibama, the Alibama comes across the sea

The Alibama, the Alibama, the Alibama comes across the sea

References

  1. ^ Burden Matilda (2014-11-01). "Waar kom die Alibama vandaan? Teorieë oor die oorsprong van die volkslied "Daar kom die Alibama"". South African Journal of Cultural History. 28 (2): 24–42. hdl:10520/EJC168478.
  2. ^ Duby, Marc (2014-01-02). "Alweer "die Alibama"? Reclaiming indigenous knowledge through a Cape Jazz lens". Muziki. 11 (1): 99–117. doi:10.1080/18125980.2014.893101. ISSN 1812-5980. S2CID 153555180.
  3. ^ Sons of Confederate Veterans
  4. ^ Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial
  5. ^ militaryhistory.about.com
  6. ^ van Niekerk JJ (2007-01-01). "The story of the CSS ("Daar kom die...") Alabama: some legal aspects of her visit to the Cape of Good Hope, and her influence on the historical development of the law of war and neutrality, international arbitration, salvage and maritime prize". Fundamina: A Journal of Legal History. 13 (2): 175–250. hdl:10.10520/EJC-72bece40b.
  7. ^ a b On Wings of Fire by Lawrence Green, 1967, passasie op bl. 201/202.