Two war songs relating to King Mphande, Zulu king (1840-72), (see Praises of King Mphande). Half-brother to both Shaka (1816-28) and Dingane (1828-40), Mphande was regarded as too weak to be a threat when Dingane assassinated Shaka in 1828 and seized the throne. Mphande eventually takes revenge on Dambuza by refusing to join him in arms against the Boers at the battle of Maqongqo in 1840, which eventually leads to Mphande becoming installed as king.

Wayiwa nguNdhlela
wayiwa-ye
Wayiwa nguNdhlela
wayiwa-ye
Imbuzi ka Dambuza beno Ndhlela.

He was rejected by Ndhlela (1)
He was rejected
He was rejected by Ndhlela
He was rejected
The goat of Dambuza and Ndhlela. (2)

Inyoni yaphezulu
Umlindazwe, zinyane lengwe
Omswazi kabasakwazi ukwethuka
Yek’ izimpiso zakho Nkosi.

Bird of the air,
Watcher over the land, cub of the leopard.
Nawazi and Company start no longer.(3)
Abandon your beer pots, O King. (4)

Recorded & translated by James Stewart,
late 19C Zululand, & held in the James Stewart Archive
at the Killie Campbell Africana Library, Durban.
The poet’s name is unknown.


Footnotes

  1. Mphande was treated by Dingane and his followers as too weak to be worth assassinating. Ndhlela was Dingane’s prime minister.
  2. Dambuza is another name for Nzobo, Dingane’s chief induna (commander).
  3. They were defeated by Dingane’s Dhlambhedhlu regiment.
  4. Even a war song can contain criticism of the king.