From: Songs of The Ngoni People by Margaret Read 1937.


When describing their songs and dances the Ngoni say ” We bad many beautiful dances but the best of all were those of inqwala.” This took place in February at the time of the first ripening of certain crops, and seems to have a first fruit and fertility ceremony, as well as a general gathering of the tribe. These inqwala songs could be sung only at the time of the ceremony which lasted about one month. Before the inqwala was announced, and after it had been declared closed, no one could sing inqwala songs on pain of death. The ceremony was abandoned so long ago that most of the songs are forgotten, and the meanings of the fragments which are remembered are not at all clear. In this selection the third song refers to the invasion by the Ngoni of the Bemba country, and the fourth to the village of the father of Zwangendaba where the inqwala was danced.

(1) Ngoni :

Nang’  ozonda inkosi



Zi Zi.

English :

He comes the one who hates the chief. 

Did you not see him ?

You have seen him. 

(2) Ngoni :

O ho ho

O ho ho

Wen’ abakwalayo

O zi ya




Untamo lukhuni.

English :

You who are rejected

They are carrying him lightly 

To thrash him 

He, the stiff necked one.

(3) Ngoni : 

Oho ho ho

Sadabula sathini?
Oho ho ho

Ilizwe kuMangwe 

O ho ho

Sadabula sathini? 

O ho ho

UZwangendaba inkosi.

English :

How did we break away ?

The country of the Mangwe.

How did we break away ? 

Zwangendaba the chief.

(4) Ngoni :

Kangitshel’ uWadana na? 

Henyi, henyi, henyi, i. 

Inkosi ikithi eLangeni

Henyi, henyi, i.

Mayi baba.

Namuhla udanile


Elangeni kithi kwamkhulu

Zenyi, zenyi, i.

English : 

Let me tell Wadana

Hey, hey, Wadana

The chief is at our home at eLangeni.
Alas ! my father

Today you are bereaved

At eLangeni our great home
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