Peace Songbook

Sala Ngoana (Be At Peace My Child)

Music and lyrics by Sharon Katz

©1992 Sharon Katz

This is a peace ballad with verses in English and chorus in Sesotho (one of 11 southern South African languages).  I wrote this song during a time of violence in South Africa in the early nineties. When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 there were many political groups vying for power and scores of people were being killed on a daily basis, and many of those killings were covertly arranged by the ruling National Party which was still in power.  It suited them for people abroad to think that in South Africa Black South Africans were killing one another because that would make the world believe that Black South Africans could not govern the country.  In Durban in 1993, after joining with my colleague and friend, singer and teacher, Nonhlanhla Wanda, we staged a concert featuring 500 singers from the 4 separated areas which the Apartheid government had created around Durban: Black, White, Indian and Coloured (a government term used until 1991 to describe those of mixed White/Asian &/or Black African descent). That concert was called "When Voices Meet" and was attended by thousands of South Africans of all cultures. And at the end of that year we created "The Peace Train" to travel across the country with 150 of the singers, our band and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.  We lived together on a train for 2 weeks performing concerts all around our country just 4 months before our first Democratic elections when Nelson Mandela was elected President. "Sala Ngoana" was performed during the entire tour and is now featured on the award-winning documentary "When Voices Meet" about The Peace Train Project, released in 2015 worldwide, and on "Sharon Katz & The Peace Train IMBIZO" (Appleseed Recordings). For more information please visit


Sala Ngoana (Be At Peace My Child) by Sharon Katz 

Lyrics and Guitar Chords.  Choral Score is attached.


A                                  E     D        E                     A

Where are the children,     where do the children cry?

                                   E      D                            E                          A

Now that their mothers,     they sit by and wonder, who's gonna die?

                           E .        D        E                     A

Where are the children, where do the children run?

                        E                   D                       E                           A

Now that the bombs fall,      and playtime is over, sound of the gun.

E -D-E

         A           E                               D               E

Sala Ngoana               Sala Ngoana     Sala Sala   REPEAT

      D                                    E

Sala Ngoana               Sala Sala             REPEAT

                   A - E - D - E 

Sala Ngoana

Verse 2

Where are the women, where do the women hide?

Now that the children, left all alone now, drown in the tide


Sala Ngoana (as above)

Verse 3

And who is the master, the master of war rides high

Look in the mirror, anger the ruler, when will it die?

Sala Ngoana (as above)


The primary focus of the song is the chorus for which I have provided the sheet music.  I can also provide a lead sheet with the chords.  I think the best way to sing this song is for 3 singers to be chosen to learn and sing the verses in English and for the choir or the rest of the students in the classroom to sing the chorus.  The whole choir or class could also sing all of the verses in unison and then sing the chorus in voice parts.  It could also be fun if those students who play guitar wanted to play the chords which are simple.  I would also suggest ordering the DVD "When Voices Meet" and seeing the performance of the song as well as the students learning about The Peace Train movement as it was in South Africa and what we are doing now with children around the world.

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