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Zulu war song after Isandlwana
Paul Bryant-Quinn


Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 548
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I have just come across a note by F. W. Chesson in the ever-useful Notes and Queries for 25 October 1879; it transcribes a Zulu war song which was sent to him, presumably by Bishop Colenso:

The following is the war song with which the Zulu warriors returned to their king from Isandhlwana, and which is said to be very popular with our own natives:--

'Umlungu wahlab' inkosi
Uzingela inkonyana yesilo
Siyayitanda indhlovu
Bangepinde bayihlabe
Aingene
Wena, Nkonyana ka 'Ndaba
Uy' aliwa
Zintshwayintshwayi
Ningepinde nihlab' uCetshwayo!'

Literally,--

'The white man struck at the king
He hunts after the leopard's cub
But we are fond of the elephant
They won't strike at him again
Let it enter (the invading host)
Thou cub of Ndaba (a great ancestor)
Thou art disliked (by the white man)
Ye who swish along (with trousers)
You won't strike at Cetshwayo again!'


[This Note was reproduced in The Cornishman for 30 October '79, and doubtless in other places besides.]

Two caveats here: the scan of this page is quite poor, and I can't claim to have made out every letter. Also, the compositors of Q&A may not have recorded the Zulu words accurately. But I thought in might interest you nonetheless.

This text in N&Q reproduces more fully, and in slightly different form, the version given in Cetshwayo's Dutchman p. 98, which has 'siyayitanda inkosi' for 'siyayitanda indhlovu'; 'ntshwayintshwayi' for 'zintshwayintshwayi' (which it translates as "corduroy swishers"!); and 'nimhlab' for 'nihlab'. Maybe those of you who know some isiZulu can help?

Regards to all,

Paul


Last edited by Paul Bryant-Quinn on Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Alan
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1491
Location: Wales
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Paul, have consulted a Zulu for assistance in accuracy of the Zulu and translation?

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Paul Bryant-Quinn


Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 548
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Alan, according to Chesson in 1879, both the text and the translation he published in N&Q came from Bp. John W Colenso. I can't speak for its accuracy, but there is no doubt that Colenso was proficient in Zulu.
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Alan
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I was just wondering if it made complete sense to a Zulu today.

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Zulu war song after Isandlwana
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