This song is probably my favorite song in this world. It is a mix of salsa and mutwashi, the traditional rhythm of Kasayi, Congo. As I explained in a previous post, this song is a good example of “lisanga” or dedications, ”shout outs”. All along the song, Tshala Muana lists several people’s names. I put those parts between parenthesis…

This transcript is here only thanks to my mum who spent some of her free time on this… If you use this translation, please mention this blog to encourage us translating even more songs… It will be appreciated!^^

N.B.: Apparently this song is known in Latin America as “Kabuya” by Africando. TOTALLY FALSE!!! Give back to the Queen what belongs to the Queen. Africando is a Senegalese salsa band who often invited Congolese artists on their albums such as Papa Wemba, Nyboma or Madilu System but, correct me if I’m wrong, as far as I know, they never invited Tshala Muana and I don’t think they speak Ciluba. However, ‘Lekela Mwadi’ was featured on Putumayo compilation entitled ‘Congo To Cuba’.

Title: Lekela Mwadi (Stop Crying)
Artist: Tshala Muana
Album: Mutuashi
Year: 1996
Label: Sterns

Wikala dikemena wa kwata kumu kusu

(Kabuya Pitch Lux Pitch Lualua Mama ya bongo)

Yelele yelele…
Nganji kubikila Maamù eh
Mamiani mwà Mbuya kasasu eh
Mambi wa Tumba ne Tshala eh
Mwâna mudikaya yampongo eh
Moyi munda nganyì wà ngakwile eh
Ngipata mukunda muya mukanka mwâna we lekela we

(Ya Esther Ngalula Kulola!)

Ya ye lele ya ye lele
Nganji kubikila Maamù eh
Mamyanyi mwa Mbuya kasasu eh
Mambi wa Tumba ne Tshala eh
Mwana mudikaya yampongo eh
Moyi munda nganyi wa ngakwile eh
Ngipata mukunda muya mukanka mwana we lekela we

Mwâna we lekela kudila mwadi e
Mwâna we lekela kudila mwadi e
Bakulumpa bakudima kwěpì ?
Bakudima kuyaya dîba
Kuyaya kumpengelela kwadi
Bilumbu ni bya salala bya ya
Ngondu wa kubanda mulundingu
Mukàjì mufwà bintu bibombe

(Maman Ndimi Ngoyi Maman Colonel)

Yaye lele yaye lele…
Ngimba ne Mulume Mutombo ee
Ngimba ne Ange Kayembe ee
Ngimba ne Ngalula Waba Milolo ee
Ngimba ne Yaya Sangye e
Ngimba ne Mputu wa ba Ntumba ee
Tangila Kabeya Ndombie
Twayi lona, lekelayi mwadi
Balongeshi bakalukanyia
Simon Kabila lekela we

Mwâna we lekela kudila mwadi ee
Mwâna we lekela kudila mwadi ee
Bakulumpa bakadima kwěpì
Bakadima kuyaya dîba
Kuyaya kumpengelela kwànyì
Bulumbu ni byà salala bya ya
Ngondu wa kubanda mulundingu
Mukàjì mufwa bintu bibombe

Twayi lona ee
(Byà kulwa disànka) Twayi lona we
(Byà kulwa disànka) Twayi lona ee
(Byà kulwa disànka) Twayi lona we
(Byà kulwa disànka) Maestro!

(Super Mwika Ya Marie eh Maman coup de foudre…)

(Byà kulwa disànka) Twayi lona ee
(Byà kulwa disànka) Twayi lona we
(Byà kulwa disànka) Twayi lona ee
(Byà kulwa disànka) Twayi lona we
(Byà kulwa disànka) Twayi lona ee
(Byà kulwa disànka) Twayi lona we
(Byà kulwa disànka) Twayi lona ee
(Byà kulwa disànka) Twayi lona we

Bya kulwa disànka x4

(Bya kulwa disànka) Twayi lona ee
(Bya kulwa disànka) Twayi lona we
(Bya kulwa disànka) Twayi lona ee
(Bya kulwa disànka) Twayi lona we …



Wikala dikemena wa kwata kumu kusu
Si tu es une fourmi rouge, accroche-toi au chiffon
If you are a red ant, hang on to the cloth

Nganji kubikila mamu
Que j’appelle maman
May I call mommy

Mamiani mwà Mbuya kasasu
Mon homonyme, la maman de Mbuya
My homonym, the mother of Mbuya

Mambia wa Tumba na Tshala
La maman de Tumba et de Tshala
The mother of Tumba and Tshala

Mwana mudikaya ya mpongo
L’enfant sur l’épaule du grand frère
The child on his older brother’s shoulder

Moyi munda ngani wa ngakwile
Mon cœur s’attriste, que tu intercèdes pour moi
My heart saddens, please intercede for me

Wipata mukunda muya mukanka
Je lance un cri strident qui va et fait trembler
I cry out loud and that sound’s loud and make people shake

Mwana we lekela
Toi mon petit, arrête-toi
Please, kid, stop

Mwana we lekela kudila mwadi
Toi mon petit arrête de pleurer
You, kid, stop crying

Bakulumpa bakadima kwepi ?
Les ainées, où cultivaient-ils ?
The elders where did they cultivate?

Bakadima kuyaya diba
Ils cultivaient là où le soleil se couche
They cultivated where the sun sets

Kuyaya kumpengelela kwadi
Là où la perdrix va pour se cacher
Where the partridge goes into hiding

Bilumbu ni bia salala bia ya
Les problèmes s’aggravent et s’estompent d’eux-mêmes
Problems come and go on their own

Ngondu wa kubanda mulundingu
La lune monte dans le firmament
The moon is rising in the sky

Mukàjì mufwà bintu bibombe
Une mère qui meurt
A mother is dying

Bya kulwa disànka
Cela devient une grande joie
This becomes a great joy

Twayi lona
Dansons ensemble
Let’s danse together

Ngimba ne Mulume Mutombo
Je chante avec Mulume Mutombo
i sing with Mulume Mutombo

Tangila Kabeya Ndombie
Regarde Kabeya Ndombie
Look Kabeya Ndombie

Twayi lona, lekelayi mwadi
Dansez de joie, arrêtez donc de pleurer
Danse with joy, stop crying

Balongeshi bakalukanyia Simon Kabila lekelayi
Les professeurs du lycée Simon Kabila, arrêtez (de pleurer)
Teachers of Simon Kabila High School, please stop

19 thoughts on “[Lyrics Translation] “Lekela Mwadi” by Tshala Muana

  1. After several years hearing this song I finally found the tranalation… This song was huge success inn Colombia by 2009 and still is broadcast in the radio… it is a classic now. Unfortunately is known as “Kabuya” and it is presented as interpreted by AFRICANDO. Thank you for the translation and I hopefully expect to see Tshala Mwana live in America. I live in Miami but I’m Colombia. I Love this song!!!
    Ricardo P


  2. I’d have to agree that this is one of my favourite songs, ever. I can’t help but want to get up and move to its rhythm. And thanks for the translation – I was looking for lyrics and through a sheer miracle found your site.


  3. Hi halfcrazy girl
    hope you are fine and fortunately you are only half crazy. I write to you regarding the lyrics of ” Lekela Muadi”.
    Somewhere you write: “Bakulumpa ba kadima kwepi”. I believe it should be ” Ba nyokoka”, that means the older women…more or less. The other worry is your translation of ” Mukaji mufua bintu bibombe”. In Tshiluba it means that when a woman’s die, all things fall apart. This comes from the way the traditional society was organized around the woman. once such a strong woman was leaving this world, those who were left with the heavy task of taking over would not be up to the task.
    I have checked the meaning of this expression with my parents that are native Kasai and speak fluently tshiluba though I do not. I understand it though!
    But thanks for trying to make our culture known to all out there on the internet, it is a very nice initiative.
    We may discuss this further if you want.
    By the way, my name is Alain Kaninda and leave in Pretoria, South Africa.



    1. M. Alain Kaninda, thank you very much for your comment. It’s exactly what I’m expecting from people around the world. My translations are definitely open to corrections and other interpretations, especially with a language as subtle as Ciluba. Don’t hesitate to comment even further. I’m not in front of my computer right now but I’ll make sure to look into that as soon as I can. Thanks again! Kasayi Munene!!! ^___^


  4. Thank you for translating this song. I love tshala mwana’s music though do not understand lingala, I feel so happy to learn Lingala through her songs. Please send me more translations.


    1. Hello, James! I’m glad that you fancy this blog. However, I want to stress that, as the name of the blog indicates, the language used here is not Lingala but Ciluba. A large majority of Tshala Muana songs are sung in Ciluba.
      Lingala and Ciluba are two very distinct languages. When Ciluba is mainly spoken by people living in Kasayi, in the center of Congo, Lingala is a language spoken in the West of Congo (Equateur – Mobutu’s region -, Kinshasa and Bandundu provinces) along the boarders with Republic of Congo and Central Africa. Note that although it is a national language (mainly spread for decades by Mobutu’s army and congolese music), LINGALA IS NOT THE PRIMARY LANGUAGE FOR A LARGE MAJORITY OF DRCONGO PEOPLE. Most of the time, it’s their second language even their third language sometimes.
      And yes, more translations are coming!!! Right now, I’m finalizing one and have two more in preparation.
      Enjoy this blog and visit often. Thank you for support! 😀


  5. Thank you sister for this wonderful project. Tshiluba is my mother tongue so I thought I could try to improve your commendable work. So here we go:
    “Wikala dinkenena wa kwata ku mukusu!”
    French Translation: Si tu etais un termite-soldat tu t’accrocherais au pan!
    English Translation: If you were a soldier-termite, you could have grabbed the dress tail.
    “Kabuya! Bitshiluxe, Bitshilualua mama ya mbongo!”
    F: Kabuya, Bitshiluxe, Bitshilualua la riche dame!
    E: Kabuya, Bitshiluxe, Bitshilualua the rich woman!
    Yayelele yelele…
    “Nganji kubikila mamu eh!”
    F: Je commencerai par faire l’éloge de ma mère!
    E: Let me start by praising my mother!
    “Bambi’anyi mwa Mbuyi ‘a Kasasu eh”
    F: Ma mère, mère des jumeaux et fille de Kasasu
    E: My mother, mother of twins and daughter of Kasasu
    “Bambi wa Ntumba ne Tshiala eh”
    F: La mère de Ntumba et Tshiala
    E: The mother to Ntumba and Tshiala
    “Mwena kwa Muidikayi wa Mpongo”
    F: La femme de Mwidikayi fils de Mpongo
    E: The wife to Muidikayi son of Mpongo
    “Moyi wa munda! Nganyi wa ngakwila eh?”
    F: Oh mon coeur! Qui parlera a ma place?
    E: Oh my heart! Who will speak on my behalf?
    “Muipata mukunda uya mukanka, mwana weh! Lekela weh!”
    F: Chassée, huée elle est partie traumatisée, oh toi bébé arrêtes!
    E: Chased away, booed, she is gone traumatised, oh baby stop!
    “Ya Esther Ngalula! ku loola!”
    F: Ma soeur Esther Ngalula! Au ciel!
    E: My sis Esther Ngalula! In heaven!
    “Mwana lekela kudila mwadi eh” 2x
    F: Bébé arrêtes de pleurer
    E: Baby stop crying
    “Banyoko kab’a kadima pepi”
    F: Nos mères ne sont pas allées cultiver tout près d’ici
    E: Our mothers didn’t go farming nearby
    “Bakaya kudima kuyaya diiba”
    F: Elles sont parties cultiver la ou le soleil part (se coucher)
    E: They went to farm where the sun goes (to sleep)
    “Kuyaya kupengelela kwadi”
    F: Là où les perdrix vont se cacher
    E: Where partridges go to hide
    “Bilunyunyi bia salala bia ‘ya”
    F: dispersant les vautours dans tous les sens
    E: dispersing the vultures in all directions
    “Ngondu wa kubanda mu lundimbu”
    F: sous la levée d’une lune encore à moitié couverte
    E: under the rising of a still half covered moon
    “Mukaji mufue, mbintu bibombe!”
    F: Une femme morte, emporte tout
    E: A dead wife, takes everything
    “Mama Jibi Ngoy! Mama Colonel!”
    F: Madame Jibi Ngoyi! Madame Colonel!
    E: Mrs Jibi Ngoyi! Mrs Colonel
    Yaye lele yaye lele….
    “Ngimba ne Mulume Mutombo”
    F: Je chante en compagnie de Mulume Mutombo
    E: I sing with Mulume Mutombo
    “Ngimba ne Andele Kayembe”
    F: Je chante en compagnie de Andre Kayembe
    E: I sing with Andrew Kayembe
    “Ngimba Ngalamulume wa ba Milolo”
    F: Je chante Ngalamulume, frere a Milolo
    E: I praise Ngalamulume, brother to Milolo
    “Ngimba ne yay’anyi Ngalula Sangi eh”
    F: Je chante en compagnie de ma grande soeur Ngalula Sangi
    E: I sing with my big sister Ngalula Sangi
    “Ngimba ne Mputu wa ba Ntumba”
    F: Je chante en compagnie de Mputu, frère de Ntumba
    E: I sing with Mputu, brother to Ntumba
    “Tangila Kabeya Mundele Ndombe eh”
    F: Regardes Kabeya au teint clair
    E: Look at Kabeya the light skinned
    “Tuayi muadi, kanunyangi muadi”
    F: Pleurer tous, mais faite-le en unisson
    E: Cry all at once, but do it in harmony
    “Balongesha ba Kalukanya, Simon Kaluila lekela weh!”
    F: Les enseignants de Kalukanya, Simon Kaluila arrête!
    E: The teachers from Kalukanya, Simon Kaluila stop!
    “Twayi lona, byakulwa disanka” 3x
    F: Dansez avec moi, ceci est devenu amusant
    E: Dance with me, this has become fun
    Super Muika, Ya Marie!
    Maman Coup de Foudre!
    “Twayi lona, byakulwa disanka” 3x
    F: Dansons, ceci est devenu amusant
    E: Lets dance, this is now fun


    1. twasakidila wa bunyi!!! mema mpindiewu ndi nlonga Ciluba. Mfwila lusa bitùpidila byanyi, nengenze mwanyi mwonsu.


    2. this is very good, I am Zambian but really enjoy ciluba songs and these translations really help me understand the meaning of ciluba songs and I learn ciluba through this


  6. Merci beaucoup! Mon épouse et moi nous aimons cette chanson, on a pu la connaître bien mieux avec ce blog. Un abrazo desde Ecuador.


  7. Hello! I’m from Cali, Colombia. This song is extremely popular and well-known here, even when nobody knows what lyrics means!, it’s because of its rhythm.
    Known here as “Cabuya”, but few days ago I’ve discovered the real truth!
    I’m happy because I finally found the original translation/meaning of this beautiful african song.

    The lyrics are already found in Musixmatch (, I’ve applied there both of your english translations and soon I’ll translate it into Spanish (my mother tongue).

    Thank you so much. This song encourages me to find another rhythms and pretty unknown


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