The first single "Jikijela" is a song first written by Caiphus Semenya and sung by Letta Mbulu on her 1970 album, Letta. Mazwai adds archival audio from the Fees Must Fall Movement to the song which makes for a chilling effect.
"Jikijela" is about throwing stones and the lyrics clearly state "we will hit them with stones". Stones were a weapon for black protestors against police during apartheid and today they are still the only defence students can reach for when teargas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and water canons are fired their way.
The words of the Fallists linger above the melodies and rhythms of pianist Nduduzo Makhathini, drummer Ayanda Sikade and bassist Herbie Tsoaeli.
"From who must I run? From who must I run?"
"Why are you brutalising me?"
"The police brutality you've been seeing must come to an end."
"Fees Must Fall Movement."
"We understand clearly who the enemy is."
"Our futures and the futures of our children and our children's children are at stake."
"Perhaps they want us to be rowdy and violent to show them that we are serious about this."
These are the cries heard on the song which then ends on an apt note with protest song, "Asinamali" (we don't have money).
Mazwai said on Twitter that the song is dedicated to the students who continue to fight for free education in South Africa.
The song Jikijela is done in honour of the #FeesMustFall movement and the brave students who continue to fight✊🏾 album out soon— #Belede Out25Nov (@thandiswamazwai) November 2, 2016
An alumnus of Wits University, Mazwai has been supportive of the movement. She has shown solidarity via social media and was part of a line-up of musicians who were to perform at a failed Fees Must Fall concert.
Govt thinks they'll get tired but they won't! They have an advantage called YOUTH✊🏾 viva the students!— #Belede Out25Nov (@thandiswamazwai) October 19, 2016
When the students re invigorated the blk feminist agenda✊🏾 viva the students viva the feminists.— #Belede Out25Nov (@thandiswamazwai) October 19, 2016
Belede is inclusive of nine songs by artists who rebelled by singing songs of protest from South Africa and the rest of the world during a time when the government clamped down on freedom of expression. In addition to covering Mbulu and Semenya, Mazwai included songs by Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Busi Mhlongo, Dorothy Masuka and her own song "Ndiyahamba".
As these artists are rebels, so was Mazwai mother which is why she named the album after her.
The second single release, "Wakrazulwa" by the late Mhlongo, is her favourite track on the album. When the legend died Mazwai was overcome with such grief, she lost her own voice and didn't want to sing anymore. Mazwai said she needed this particular album to help her trust herself again.
It's not the first time Mazwai uses her music to express her mother's influence in the political sphere. In her debut album Zabalaza, Mazwai pays homage to the stalwarts who gave birth to the liberation of African democracies in "Nizalwa Ngobani?".
"The world changes, revolutionaries die and the children forget," she sings. Asking if we have forgotten who our parents are she calls out the names of Belede, Madikizela, Biko, Sobukwe, Sisulu, Mandela and Nkumrah.
The Makeba song Malaika is a tribute to the singing legend and a dedication to Mazwai's 16-year-old daughter who has the same name as the song title.
Mazwai will be performing live at her launch concert at the Soweto Theatre on Thursday. Having grown up in the township, she could not imagine hosting this event anywhere else, she has said. "Jikijela" and "Wakrazulwa" are available on iTunes.
Belede will officially be released this Friday, 25 November.