SONGS OF IZANUSI (DIVINERS)

From: Songs of the Ngoni People by Margaret Read 1937

When trouble or sickness attacked the Ngoni their first act was go to the isanusi and ask him to divine for them the cause of the trouble. There were several grades of izanusi, from those in ” private practice ” to those consulted by the chiefs in big state affairs and in time of war.
The first of these songs is an initiation song of an isanusi. The second refers to a very old prophecy among the Ngoni that their final downfall would ” by way of the sea,” and which they interpreted as the coming of the Europeans. The next two songs (3 and 4) are those of a famous isanusi called Manyonkolo Camango, and the second one reflects the general despair at his death. The last two (5 and 6) I took from an old isanusi who still practises his art.
(1) Ngoni :
O uthwasile
He he
O ngomso nguwe 
Hoya yi hoya.
English :
You are initiated 
Tomorrow it is you.
(2) Ngoni :
Mhany’ unamandla, Mhanya, O! 
Mhany’ unamandla
Mhany’ unamandla, Mhanya, O!
Luzay’ olwandle Mhanya, O! 
Uza ngolwandle
Uza ngolwandle Mhanya O!
English :
Mhanya thou art the strong one 
It comes, it of the sea
He comes by the sea.
(3) Ngoni :
Sibingelelwa ngubani? 
Sambon’ UManyonkolo.
Sibingelelwa ngubani? 
Elele ! Camango.
English :
We are saluted by whom ?
Behold we see Manyonkolo. 
We are saluted by whom ?
Alas ? Camango.
(4) Ngoni : 
Hoya yi yawoyo 
Hoya yi hoya 
Siyekele sindinde sihambe
Ilizwe liphelile kuManyonkolo
Siyekele sindinde sihambe
Siyekel’ amabel’ adliw’ izindlovu
Siyekele sindinde sihambe
Ilizwe liphelile kuManyonkolo
Siyekele sindinde sihambe.
English :
Let us alone that we may wander, let us go,
The land is finished with Manyonkolo. 
Let us alone that we may wander, let us go,
Let us alone, the grain is eaten by elephants.
Let us alone that we may wander, let us go,
The land is finished with Manyonkolo. 
Let us alone that we may wander, let us go.
(5) Ngoni :
Ubaba uyangibiza
Hamba ekhaya
Hamba ekhaya 
Indaba zikuyandele.
English :
My father is calling me
Go home 
Go home
Things have turned against you.
(6) Ngoni :
Uyezwa ‘mihlolo ?
O ha o. 
Uyezwa ‘mihlolo ?
O ha o.
English :
Do you understand the omens ?
Another version :
Ngoni:
Uyezwa ‘mihlolo? 
Eya e
Uyezwa ‘mihlolo?
Eya e
Inkanyezi eye hoya woyo
Ipuma e
Impumayanga
English :

Do you understand the omens ? 
The star
Comes out
In the East.
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