Monday, 26 August 2019

Mourning Songs of the Ngoni Plus Grammar Lessons

Ngoni Mourning Songs: Nangu Umthakathi (Here is a witch)

There are no real mourning songs of the Ngoni as singing and dancing were not part of the burial rites except at the death of a chief, though at subsequent funeral rites, some months later, it is customary to dance ingoma.
The one below I heard a woman sing at the burial of her grandmother, and she said her grandmother had taught it to her. - Margaret Read, 

Namuhla ngiyakuloya. Today, I shall bewitch
Nangu umthakathi. Here is the witch.
Wena wafa njani? You, how did you die?
Niyangihleka, hlekani, ngingodingayo mina. You are laughing at me, laugh. I am poor, I.
Ngithuma ubani? Whom do I send.
Lina niyathuma abantwana. You, you are sending children.
Ngindinda nginje ngithuma endlini. I wander about myself. I send to the house.
Ngiyandinda ngelidolo ngihamba ematsheni. I wander about on/with (my) knees. I go on the stones.
Ngingedwa ngithatha izigodo ngingedwa. I am alone, I carry branches, I alone.
Ha ! ngiyakhalela umntwana komama (umntakomama). Ha! I am crying for your child, mother.
Waza wangishiya phalubalala. She has gone and has left me in a lonely place.
Ngihlalela yena. Ngizothini? I stayed for her. What shall I say?

Ngoni Grammar Note:

Ngiyakuloya: I shall bewitch. This is made up of the following parts.

Nangu: Here is. For more on this ngoni demonstrative pronoun please visit and search for pronouns.

Umthakathi : a witch.

Ngi-: Pronoun, I.
-yaku-: Ngoni future tense marker. Other future tense markers are -zaku-, zo, yo, etc.
-loya: bewitch, hypnotise etc.

ngingodingayo: I am poor/needy. Made up of the following parts:

Ngi- I
ngu+o> Ngo: Identifiying prefix, am. when u in ngu meets the o in odingayo (who needs) it becomes ngo.

(o)dingayo: who needs. -dinga is a verb stem that means, need, require.

Lina: you (plural). Ngoni and Ndebele say lina where the Zulu say nina.

Ngindinda: I wander. It is made of Ngi- for pronoun, I, and verb -ndinda, wander about, rove about aimlessly.

Ngingedwa: I am alone. Comprising of ngi- I and -ngedwa, adverb for alone, only, solely, by msyelf, on my own.

Ngithatha: I take. Comprises of Ngi- (I), thatha, verb for take, lay hold of, keep.

endlini: in/at/from the house. Locative of the noun indlu, house, hut.

ngelidolo: with knees. Comprises of nga + ilidolo. ilidolo is ngoni for knee. For use of nga- and na- please visit.

izigodo: short log of wood, tree stump. It can also mean strong hardy person, son in law (umkhwenyana).

Phalubalala: Not sure if this is a Nguni word. It could be a borrowed word.

NOTE FROM MODERATOR: I am not a grammarian by any stretch of the imagination so please let me know of any errors in this article or future articles. I just do this to feel the gap that will be filled in future by able-bodied individuals. In the meantime while waiting let's share what we can and learn our beautiful language. A culture without its own language is a dead culture. We need to reclaim our language to reclaim our culture.

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