Why South Africa’s “Jerusalema” has global dance favorite and Africa’s pan-African anthem.‬

Johannesburg – Recorded by producer Master KG and featuring vocals by Nomcebo, this latest achievement is a continuation of the acclaim that the track has garnered since it was released in December 2019.

‘#JerusalemaDanceChallenge’ across the continent and soon beyond from nuns and monks in France, to a bridal party in Zimbabwe, and a flash mob in Germany, spurring countless tutorials on YouTube and TikTok.

With its haunting chorus line referencing the holy city, the song does have religious lyrics in Zulu, but its upbeat tempo means its greatest reach has been outside the walls of any church or synagogue.

While there have been many variations of the song, such as an acoustic duet by an Italian band, an African remix collaboration with award-winning Nigerian Afrobeats star, Burna Boy in June catapulted “Jerusalema” even higher. Leveraging Burna Boy’s fast-growing international acclaim as he promoted his Twice as Tall album, the collaboration helped enter the song into global charts and reach number 1 in 10 countries.

On Spotify, “Jerusalema” has been streamed more than 66 million times, while on YouTube it has topped 200 million views. That doesn’t include the scores of #JerusalemaDanceChallenge YouTube clips. It also reached No. 11 on iTunes worldwide charts.

(Compiled by Quartz Africa)