A poem praising the bravery of a Swazi king, Mavuso, who fought unsuccessfully against the Afrikaaners. The land of the Ngwane kingdom was taken over by Afrikaners, who then had renamed the land the Transvaal and used it for commercial farming in the 1840s.
Mavuso of Ngwane, (1)
Dangazela of Ngwane of Sobhusa. (2)
News of war eats the child still in the womb.
If a person can walk he would have run away.
Flee ye by all the paths,
Go and tell the news to Mpande of the Zulu: (3)
Say one elephant ate another,
And covered it with dress material and quantities of beads.
Those who ran away swore by Lurwarwa,
Saying, ‘Mswazi will not return, he is killing’ (4)
He fights in the darkness, when will the dawn come?
O chief that fights with the light of burning grass until the dawn comes.
They were saying that Mswazi was a boy herding calves;
We shall never be ruled by the hoe stood in the door of Majosi-kazi.
He will rule Mkuku and Msukusuku.
O one who comes in and goes out of sandy places,
O bird of Mabizwa-sabele
You are called by Shila of Mlambo,
For him you asked cattle from Mhlangala,
You are asked by Mawewe to ask cattle from Mzila of Soshan-gane.
Dutchmen of Piet Retief, we do not approve of you, (5)
We blame you
By stabbing the chief who was helping you.
You cry at the grave of Piet Retief,
You cry at the grave of John.
O one alone without an advocate
Although Ntungwa had one:
Our chief who can stab,
I never saw a man who could stab like him.
He stabs with an assegai until he tires.
Mngqimila who bears a headdress of feathers,
Mababala who arms on a bad day,
Lomashiya impi, (7)
from ‘History and izibongo of the Swazi chiefs’
Bantu Studies 5, (1931)
by P.A.W Cook
- Ngwane: Ngwane was a chief of the Swazi people from 1400 to 1435.
- Sobhusa: Sobhusa was king of Swaziland, from 1815 to 1836
- Mpande of the Zulu: Mpande was monarch of the Zulu Kingdom from 1840 to 1872.
- Mswazi will not return, he is killing: Refers to an early king and prototype.
- Dutchmen of Piet Retief: Refers to the Afrikaan’s .
- Lomashakizela: Meaning ‘one who goes quickly’.
- Lomashiya impi: Meaning ‘one who leaves his army behind’.