Nina beLembe eleqa amanye amalembe ngokukhalipha!
Sekwaba yinsakavulela umchilo wesidwaba ukuthi abantu abampisholo ubezwe bevitiza ngesilungu noma kuhlangene amaZulu wodwa. Ngikhuluma nje kweminye imizi ulimu lukaMageba selwafana nomzondo, kuthi noma abazukulu bevakashele oninakhulu kuhambe isilungu phambili wena owabona umchamo wasekuseni, zivele ziyime emthumeni ke kwintombi endala kube sengathi icala ukuthi ayisazi isilungu. Okungimangazayo ukuthi nalaba engangifunda nabo le emakhaya kwelakithi elingafelwa nkonyane namhlanje abasakwazi ngisho nokubhala amanye amagama esiZulu ngoba bekubona kuyichilo ukuba wumZulu ophelele nozigqajayo. Kanti ukube ngangingemZulu ngangiyoba yini?
Nina bakaNogwaza Eguqile Okwethole LikaNdaba!
Nina BakaHlamvana Bhul’umlilo Endulinde!
Nina BakaLanga Lisehlule Sesingamavikithi
Nina BeNkayishana KaMenzi Eyaphuz’umlaza Ngameva
Nina BakaBhejane Phum’esiqiwini
Ake sikusukumele ukuqhakambisa ulimu lwethu ngoba uma sizithela ngabandayo amanye amagama anothisa lolulimu ayogcina eshabalele. Lolulimu salunikwa okhokho, olubalwa kubo uNodumehlezi kaMenzi owaba neqhaza nokuqamba amagama alinganiselwa ezinkulungwaneni ezilushumi nesishiyagalolunye (19000), washoda nje ngamagama alinganiswa ezinkulungwaneni ezimbili (2000) ukuze inani lawakhe lilingane nalawo aqanjwa umbhali uWilliam Shakespeare kwamahlophe abelungu.
Namhlanje ake sibheke amagama amqondo fanana, noma achaza into eyodwa. Amanye alamagama asabaluleke kakhulu kwaZulu ngenxa yokuthi ayeyindlela yokuhlonipha.
isibonelo: uma igama likababezala kamakoti kuwuManzi, wayengeke alisebenzise kodwa uma ekhuluma ngamanzi wayezothi amandambi noma amacubane.
Angingabe ngisaphlisa maseko, angihlale amagqozo kulawa engiwakhumbulayo ngezansi;
- Indlela / Inyathuko = path
- Gibela / Khwela = to hop on
- Umiyane / umndozolwane = mosquito
- Uvalo / ingebhe / itwetwe / ukungenwa amanzi emadolweni = fear
- Umangobe / ikati = cat
- Inja / Ingcanga = dog
- Inkukhu / impandane / isiphandamazala = chicken
- Unyoko / umama waloyo okukhuluma naye / mother of the person you are talking to
- Unina / umama wakhe = his/her mother
- Impakama / ilanga / intshida = sun
- Ukukhophoza / ukubheka phansi ngokushaywa amahloni = to stir on the ground shyly
- Amabhodwe / izimbiza / amakhanzi = pots
- Umhluzi / isobho = gravy / soup
- Ingonyuluka / iqiniso elimsulwa = honest truth
- Isihluthulelo / isikhiye = key / lock
- Iseqamgwaqo / unondindwa / umuntu wesifazane ongaziphethe kahle = a promiscuous woman
- Isipatsha / isipawupete / intombi enhle kakhulu = a beautiful young woman
- Umalokazana / umakoti = dauther-in-law
- Ingodosi (ingoduso) / umuntu wesifazane oselotsholwe / wife-to-be / fiancée
- Indle / itshe lentaba = a polite word for “shit”
- Umbungu = featus
- Inani / intengo = price
- Ikhala / impumulo = nose
- Amehlo / amaqaphelo = eyes
- Imali / inkece / uphacane = money
- Amafutha / amathambiso / amagcobo = oil
- Amaqanda / amachoboka = eggs
- Umfana / umkhapheyana = boy
- Utshwala / amanzi amponjwana = alcohol
- igwala / ivaka = coward
- Umthondo / ipipi / iphobane = penis
- Ukuzigqaja / ukuziqhenya = to be proud
- Ugqozi / ufuqufuku / ilukuluku / umqhanagu = enthusiasm / oomph / having great energy
- Ikhehla / ixhegu = a very old man
- Iziqabeko = sanitary pads
- Indoda / injeza = man
- Inkinga / ingwadla = problem
- Indlu / inkathelo = house
- Phuza / natha = drink
- Isinkwa / isiphoco = bread
- Ukweshela / ukuqomisa / ukukhuzela (shouting of love vocatives) = to woo a girl/woman
- inyama / incoso = meat
Ngiyethemba nawe unawo awakho ongasicobelela ngawo kumaComments;
Nime njalo! Nina Besilo!
It was the new dawn as the day opened in its truest form in KwaBulawayo, King Shaka’s Great Umuzi. The roosters uttered their last raucous crow, jumping from the trees to get on with the business of the day, whatever that might be. Attempting to set the sky on fire, the sun was scorching hot that morning, seeming to say, “I told you I would rise again.” Birds were chirping, but the Zulu maidens were not to be outdone. They sang beautifully that very morning, on their way to fetch water from the river. Mbuzikazi led the singing, as expected, for her voice was silky and clear, as though she had umtshingo (flute) between her teeth.
Standing adjacent to the cattle kraal with Mbopha, Shaka remarked, “Lihle izwe lobabamkhulu, Mbopha kaSithayi!” (Oh! how stunning is the land of our ancestors, Mbopha ̶ son of Sithayi.)
(Mbompha was Shaka’s Chief Advisor.)
“Bayede! Are you talking about the cattle, valleys, the mountains, and the rivers?” Mbopha enquired, rather curiously.
“Cha Mbopha, ngisho lendoni yamanzi kaCele, mfoka KaSithayi” (No, I’m only talking about Cele’s entrancing daughter … she is as beautifully dark-skinned as the water berries.)
Mbuzikazi was stunningly beautiful; the kind of beauty that would have easily launched her modelling career had times been different. Her skin was flawless. Her matchless smile was as wide as dreams. Her lustrous lips were beautifully shaped, as though about to break into a song. Her teeth were milk white as the snow on the Drakensberg and equally alluring. Mbuzikazi had a stomach as flat as a soccer field, a ‘killer’ body that young men could only look at and admire, for marriage and sexual engagement were privileges reserved for much older men. On the whole, Mbuzikazi was captivating beyond any style or combination of beadwork.
The day went by, and, as the Zulu saying goes, “Ayilali ikhonjiwe” (No beast shall see the sun rise, once destined for slaughter.”) Little did Mbopha know that the King was to pursue Mbuzikazi that very evening.
“Abayilethe impi abafokazane sibahlasele,” (Let the commoners bring war to us so we can finish them off) said Shaka.
“Bayede, besaba wena Lembe eleqa amanye amalembe ngokukhalipha,” (They are afraid of you, Great One) Mbopha replied.
Shaka continued, “Uma kunjalo ke MfokaSithayi kuzomele sichithe isizungu ngokweq’iziko.” (In that case, we shall find something to pass the time…like indulging in sexual pleasures.)
He had barely uttered those words when Mbopha smiled, as if to say, ‘I didn’t know you were into such delicacies, Your Highness!’
“What could possibly stop Your Highness when you have such beautiful ‘flowers’ waiting to pleasure your desires?” enquired Mbopha.
This time Shaka had his eyes fixed upon Mbuzikazi, who was playing umagenda – a stone-throwing game ̶ with other Buthelezi maidens outside his Great Hut.
“Buka isinqe sakhe ngathi amabedlane izintaba zasoNdini, mfokaSithayi” (Take a look at her buttocks, son of Sithayi; they are as beautifully shaped as the Mabedlane twin-mountains of Ulundi.”)
Lost for words, Mbopha did not bother to nod, for it had never occurred to him that there were similarities between buttocks and mountains.
“If she ends up being married, it would be a great pity to cover such beauty,” joked Shaka. They giggled as they indulged in a pot of umqombothi (sorghum beer) and barbequed liver.
Mbopha saw where this was going and decided to take a ‘pee-break’ in order to tip off Mbuzikazi that the King wished to discuss something with her by sunset.
“Be sure to look like the shiny water-berries that you are,” said Mbopha to Mbuzikazi.
“Who am I for him to know my name, let alone call for me? I’m petrified ̶ absolutely petrified to be summoned by Ndabezitha, the Great One,” Mbuzikazi cried, in a state of panic which Mbopha would not indulge.
Nonetheless, the hapless maiden bathed rather hurriedly, rubbing animal fat on her body. Gleaming brightly as the water berries, and glowing like a flower in spring, Mbuzikazi walked to the Great Hut, swaying from side to side, seemingly putting on a show for the King, however, this was no show. Mbuzikazi knelt down and crawled, chanting Ndabezitha! Ndabezitha! (Your Highness! Your Highness!) as she approached the Great Hut.
Shaka’s face lit up when he saw the radiant Mbuzikazi. His right hand stretched out in welcome as he extolled her virtues that evening. Compliments flowed from him like mountain streams… after all, he was credited with composing over 19000 Zulu words, augmenting the Zulu vocabulary without a single borrowing. The King was charming; he was different; and this terrified the trembling maiden.
Why was he being so nice? Thoughts lingered in her mind. Finding no trace of anger in his face when their eyes accidentally met, she smiled, perhaps out politeness, or perhaps worse, out of fear.
“Do you have a boyfriend?” came the peremptory enquiry.
“No, Your Highness!”
Needless to say, this was the answer the King was expecting, for Mbuzikazi, along with the other Buthelezi maidens, were under the careful eye of Nandi, and all maidens would go through regular virginity testing.
King Shaka told Mbuzikazi that she was the most beautiful woman in the kingdom, besides his mother, Nandi, of course. This time he was holding the young girl close, caressing and kissing her. Out of fear she totally surrendered herself. One thing led to another ̶ Mbuzikazi found herself falling for her King, as he for her. A very awkward moment for both of them, I might add. Days went by, with Mbuzikazi finding herself sneaking in to the Great Hut time and time again. There was no doubt that she was in love, however, there remained guilt and the fear of not knowing what might come next!
It took only three months for Mbuzikazi to feel something moving inside her belly. Terrified by this development she confided in one of the maidens.
“Ngizwa sengathi ngizithwele.” (I think I’m pregnant.)
‘’Hayibo, by whom? Beyede the warrior King himself? I knew you were sneaking in and out to him but I did not suspect that it had gone this far,” said Nomagugu.
Awe mah! Are you carrying the restless one’s child? If he fights like that, imagine how he does ‘other things’?” joked Nomalizwe. Louder and louder they laughed, except for Mbuzikazi. This was terrifying, more than anything. Little did they know that Mbopha’s wife was eavesdropping, and had overheard the entire conversation.
Afraid of being direct, Mbopha’s wife went to the hut, pulled out her Umakhweyana bow, and started playing and singing the same song repeatedly.
“Ingane inyakaza esinyeni, ingane.” (The child moves in its mother’s belly.)
“Ingane inyakaza esinyeni, ingane.” (The child moves in its mother’s belly.)
Mbopha, anxious and puzzled by her persistence in singing this song, was becoming curious, for he knew her child-bearing age had long passed.
“It’s rather who made whom pregnant that I find fascinating, my husband,”
Mbopha’s eyes grew ever wider.
“Mbuzikazi, the daughter of Cele, is carrying the child of whom-I’m-afraid-to-even-say-his-name. I heard the girls talking.”
Knowing what the King might do to him had he found out that he also knew, Mbopha kaSithayi wasted no time. He went straight to Shaka to give him the news, in an effort to prove his loyalty.
Racing up and down the Great Hut, Shaka’s face became as dark as the rafters of the beer-brewing hut. He was sweating. His heart hardened, and certainly he was overcome with anger.
“Mbopha, you know what I do to liars? Is this rumour true, son of Sithayi?”
“Have I ever been false to you, Great One? I bring you news. Yingakho bengibiza umazulazayithole.” (That is why they call me the wanderer who only rests upon getting to the bottom of things.) The King’s childhood, as an heir of Senzangakhona had been bitter ̶ there was no way that the King wanted an heir. The King was angry. He wanted no similar life for his heir-in-waiting.
“Mbopha, son of Sithayi, I don’t give life – I take lives: that is my duty, which is my mission on this earth. The girl must die. Bring her here tomorrow morning. Mbopha kaSithayi.’’
Mkabayi KaJama (Shaka’s aunt) heard about this development in the Kingdom and tipped off Nandi to help the pregnant Mbuzikazi escape.
Nandi had always wanted a grandchild, and she was excited upon hearing the news. Before Shaka could carry out his plan, Nandi was one step ahead. She single-handedly masterminded Mbuzikazi’s escape to live with Nomcoba ̶ Shaka’s sister, who was now presiding over Nandi’s old Emkhindini Homestead. A wet-nurse, Nomagwebu, was chosen to look after the child.
When Shaka found out about the escape he was livid; he could not even look his mother in the face. He felt betrayed by his own blood. Eventually, he let his mother decide what to do with the child once born, but there was one condition…he never wanted to see either the child or its mother ever again. A baby boy was born at Emkhindini Kraal who brought much joy to Nandi. The news was spreading like wildfire, so much so that Nandi decided to move both Mbuzikazi, Nomagwebu, and little Shaka to safety; this time to Thembuland, or what is today known as Swaziland. She feared that Shaka’s brother, Dingane, would kill the child, or worse, Shaka himself.
To this day it remains a mystery as to what happened to Mbuzikazi and little Shaka.
By: Soka Mthembu
Photo Credit: Shaka Zulu, the movie
NB: Fiction blended with non-fiction, and a bit of fun:-)
When I think of proverbs and idioms, and how they serve as a mirror to the events of yesteryear there’s terrible event which comes to mind—the Bambatha rebellion, known to the Zulus as “impi kaBhambatha or impi yamakhanda.”
Background: The story of Bhambatha and his rebellion began in 1905 when colonial rulers in Natal decided to impose a poll tax of £1 on all adult men in order to boost coffers emptied by the recently-ended Anglo-Boer War. In reality, the tax was meant to keep poor black labourers in white-owned farms and mines, because they needed the work to pay the tax. This tax led to a great deal of opposition by black people, and Inkosi Bambatha kaMancinza was the biggest challenger of such tax. Bambatha along with many Zulus couldn’t comprehend why they suddenly had to pay tax. Subsequently, a new proverb was born.
1. Insumansumane imali yamakhanda. (It (this matter) is incomprehensible like the poll-tax.
With that lets move on to some more Zulu proverbs…
2. Kayihlabi Ngakumisa – It (bull) does not fight according to the shape of its horns.
A bull that looks like a champion fighter may be defeated by an unimpressive looking one.
3. Usenga nezimithiyo – He milks even those in calf.
He is a liar.
4. Elisina muva liyabukwa – It (regiment) which dances last is admired.
This saying cautions one not to rush in doing something, for even later, he may do it with great success.
5. Ohlab’ eyakhe akaphikiswa.
He who slaughters his own beast is not stopped.
6. Lithath’ osemsamo limbeke emnyango. It (lightning) takes the one at the back of the hut and throws him at the door.
This saying is an expression that one needs not make fun of other people’s shortcomings as he may also find himself in the same predicament in the future.
7. Ukhasela eziko. He crawls to the fire.
When a child has reached a crawling stage he/she will inevitably crawl everywhere, even to a dangerous place like the fire-place
In short: Someone who acts in a blind and dangerous way which may bring danger upon him
8. Zawadl’ ebhekile. They (birds) ate corn in the watchman’s presence
Expression used to describe someone who is easily fooled
9. Injobo enhle ithungelwa ebandla. A good loin-skin is sewn in the company of others
Two heads are better than one, or some tasks may be accomplished more easily by two (or more) people working together than by one working alone.
10. Ulind’ amathons’ abanzi (He is waiting for the larger rain drops)
When rain begins to fall, the first few drops are generally small, but they increase in size as the rain becomes heavier. Therefore one is advised to take shelter while only the light small drops fall and not wait for larger ones.
Get out of trouble while you still can.
For further reading: Zulu Proverbs by CLS Nyembezi
The Zulu Nation is very rich when it comes to Proverbs and Idioms. Proverbs and Idioms are some of the language features that help us glean insights and wisdom about our heritage and life during pre-colonial times, they often carry deeper meanings about events of the past, serve as warnings to help us avoid (bad) history from repeating itself.
I often use Zulu proverbs to substantiate my argument or to emphasize my point, and often times I have to explain the meanings, which shouldn’t be the case when I’m speaking to a grown up Zulu whose mother tongue is IsiZulu.
In order to avoid these distinctive language features from totally diminishing, it is my plea that we use forums such as this to keep all that is our culture and heritage alive and burning!
A collection of a few Zulu proverbs and meanings;
1. Uthanda ukubukwa njengesiyephu – He likes to be looked at like a long-hairy goat
Meaning: He likes all the attention unto himself
(My assumption is that hairy goats were very rare and special at the time)
2. Ikhiwane elihle ligcwala izibungu – The nice fig is often full of worms.
Meaning / English equivalent: All that glitters is not gold
3. Enethunga ayisengeli phansi – He who has a milking-pail should not be obliged to milk on the
Meaning: He who has own resources should not have to suffer because he has lent his resources to another
4. Isitsha esihle asidleli – A nice plate is not long eaten off from.
Proverb used to lament the damage done to any nice thing or death of a dear child. A fitting phrase when referring to death of a good person could be “Gone too soon”
5. Akukho qili lazikhotha emhlane – there is no cunning person whoever licked himself on the back.
Said of someone who has tried some trickery beyond his cunning and been caught
Meaning / English equivalent: There is no paragon of excellence
6. Uphakathi komhlane nembeleko – he is between the back and the sack (that carries a child on the back)
Meaning: He/she is between the comfortable circumstances
7. Akulahlwa mbeleko ngakufelwa – The child’s sack is not thrown away after the death of one child (Because there might be another child forth-coming and sack required carrying him/her)
Meaning: Never despair in adversities
8. Kuhlonishwa kabili – Respect is two way
Meaning: if you want respect, you’ve got to give it
9. Libunjwa liseva. The day is worked while it is still fresh
Meaning / English equivalent: Make hay while the sun shines
10. Ikhotha eyikhothayo engayikhothi iyayikhahlela – The cow licks one that licks her
Meaning: People help those who return the favour
11. Iso liwela umfula ugcwele – The eye crosses the full river
Meaning: A desire goes beyond the possible
12. Iqaqa alizizwa ukunuka – no polecat ever smells its own stink.
Meaning: Nobody recognizes his own fault
13. Akukho mango ongenaliba – There is no hillside without a grave
Meaning: Death is unavoidable, and therefore will find you where ever you go
14. Isikhuni sibuya nomkhwezeli – the lit fire-brand has returned with one tending fire
Meaning: If you play with fire, you could get (your fingers) burnt / He (trouble-maker) got what deserves
15. Ukhuni luzal’umlotha – the fire-log brings about ashes
Meaning: He brings forth a worthless thing or child
16. Amaqili kathengani – The cunning men do not deal with each other
Meaning: People that know each other’s cunning practices / shrewdness avoid each other
17. Uchakide uhlolile imamba yalukile – the weasel is at ease because the mamba has gone out
Meaning: When the cat’s away the mice will play
18. Ukubona kanye ukubona kabili – Once beaten twice shy
19. Amanxiwa Kamili Mbuya
Meaning: A rolling stone gathers no moss
Could be used to refer to / warn someone who changes jobs a lot
20. Uphembela emoyeni – He lights fire in the wind
Meaning: He favours strangers (whom he might never see) than his own people
21. Udla indlu yakho njengentwala – You eat your hut (hair) like a lice
One who destroys the same thing he benefits from just as the lice eats the hair it accommodates
Meaning: One who bites the hand that feeds him
22. Akukho nkwali yaphendela enye – There is no partridge that scratches for another
Meaning: Each one must look out for himself / do things for himself
23. Ingwe Idla Ngamabala – A leopard eats by means of its spots
Meaning: Each person survives off his/her talent
24. Inkunzi isematholeni (the bull is among the calves)
Meaning: Leaders of tomorrow come from the youth
I would be very interested to hear about those special characters (phrases, sayings, proverbs, idioms etc.) that make your language more interesting and distinctive.