You can Register Here ,   OR



Listen to Malaika as sung by Amani Kitali, Jill Haberkern, and Kemunto Mokaya.

Singers: Amani Kitali, Jill Haberkern, and Kemunto Mokaya

Mama Africa: The Very Best of Miriam Makeba contains a beautiful version of Malaika - purchase it through this link and a percentage of the sale will benefit the Kamusi Project.

Malaika, nakupenda Malaika.             Angel, I love you Angel.
Malaika, nakupenda Malaika.
Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio,         What should I do, your lover?
Nashindwa na mali sina, we,             I don't have any money
                                        (LITERALLY:  I'm defeated by
                                         wealth, I don't have any.)
Ningekuoa Malaika.                      I would marry you, Angel.
Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
Ningekuoa Malaika.

Pesa zasumbua roho yangu                Money is troubling my soul
Pesa zasumbua roho yangu
Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio,
Ningekuoa Malaika.
Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
Ningekuoa Malaika.

Kidege, hukuwaza kidege.                Little bird, I always
                                        dream of you, little bird,
Kidege, hukuwaza kidege.
Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio,
Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
Ningekuoa kidege.
Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
Ningekuoa kidege.

Thanks to Douglas Paterson of Seattle for providing this transcription and the following history of Malaika.

Authorship of Malaika is disputed. A Kenyan named Fadhili William recorded it a couple of times in the late 50s and early 60s. He says he wrote it and he is generally recognized as the owner. Miriam Makeba made it famous with her recording of it in 1964(?). Angelique Kidjo copied Makeba's version sound for sound as best she could but between the two of them, they really mangled the words in Swahili. You can hear Makeba singing the song to her husband Stokely Carmichael and Angelique put all that stuff in her song not knowing what she was saying. It appears the song was written in the 40s by a Tanzanian but two different people are credited. So no one really knows (except for Fadhili and the Tanzanians).

Malaika was transcribed in Joan Maw's Twende! A Practical Swahili Course and also in Magdalena Hauner's Nyimbo za Kiswahili. The early Fadhili William recording (1959) has only two verses and so do these two transcriptions. However, Mariam Makeba's recording has a third verse (the Pesa... verse) and a later record by Fadhili also has the Pesa verse. It is likely that Fadhili did not write the original two verses but may have authored the "pesa" verse. It appears from Kwame Bandele's internet posting that Grant Charo gets credit for the song in the Hauner book. Other East Africans claiming to have written the song are Lucas Tututu from Mombasa and Adam Salim from Tanzania. Researcher Flemming Harrev says that Salim claims to have written the song while living in Nairobi in 1945-46. He recorded the song for Columbia Records in 1950. Fadhili is now generally recognized as the composer for royalty purposes.

These song lyrics are Copyright Somebody Else. The Kamusi Project makes this page available as a courtesy to individuals seeking lyrics to popular Swahili songs. If you have any information about this song that you think should be posted here, or have other song lyrics you would like us to post through this WWW site, please let us know. /content/malaika

Kamusi GOLD

These are the languages for which we have datasets that we are actively working toward putting online. Languages that are Active for you to search are marked with "A" in the list below.


•A = Active language, aligned and searchable
•c = Data 🔢 elicited through the Comparative African Word List
•d = Data from independent sources that Kamusi participants align playing 🐥📊 DUCKS
•e = Data from the 🎮 games you can play on 😂🌎🤖 EmojiWorldBot
•P = Pending language, data in queue for alignment
•w = Data from 🔠🕸 WordNet teams

Software and Systems

We are actively creating new software for you to make use of and contribute to the 🎓 knowledge we are bringing together. Learn about software that is ready for you to download or in development, and the unique data systems we are putting in place for advanced language learning and technology:

Articles and Information

Kamusi has many elements. With these articles, you can read the details that interest you:

Videos and Slideshows

Some of what you need to know about Kamusi can best be understood visually. Our 📽 videos are not professional, but we hope you find them useful:


Our partners - past, present, and future - include:

Hack Kamusi

Here are some of the work elements on our task list that you can help do or fund:

Theory of Kamusi

Select a link below to learn about the principles that guide the project's unique approach to lexicography and public service.

Contact Us

We welcome your comments and questions, and will try to respond quickly. To get in touch, please visit our contact page. You must use a real email address if you want to get a real reply!

© Copyright ©

The Kamusi Project dictionaries and the Kamusi Project databases are intellectual property protected by international copyright law, ©2007 through ©2018, under the joint ownership of Kamusi Project International and Kamusi Project USA. Further explanation may be found on our © Copyright page.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.


Discussion items about language, technology, and society, from the Kamusi editor and others. This box is growing. To help develop or fund the project, please contact us!

Our biggest struggle is keeping Kamusi online and keeping it free. We cannot charge money for our services because that would block access to the very people we most want to benefit, the students and speakers of languages around the world that are almost always excluded from information technology. So, we ask, request, beseech, beg you, to please support our work by donating as generously as you can to help build and maintain this unique public resource.


Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to general questions you might have about Kamusi services.

We are building this page around real questions from members of the Kamusi community. Send us a question that you think will help other visitors to the site, and frequently we will place the answer here.

Try it : Ask a "FAQ"!

Press Coverage

Kamusi in the news: Reports by journalists and bloggers about our work in newspapers, television, radio, and online.

Sponsor Search:
Who Do You Know?

To keep Kamusi growing as a "free" knowledge resource for the world's languages, we need major contributions from philanthropists and organizations. Do you have any connections with a generous person, corporation, foundation, or family office that might wish to make a long term impact on educational outcomes and economic opportunity for speakers of excluded languages around the world? If you can help us reach out to a potential 💛😇 GOLD Angel, please contact us!