Thursday, 7 November 2019

Mthimba (Wedding Ceremony) Songs of The Ngoni and Grammar Explanations

UKUCONGA UMNTWANA - MTHIMBA (MARRIAGE CEREMONY) SONG - FROM SONGS OF THE NGONI PEOPLE - MARGARET READ (I HAVE EDITED AND ADDED THE GRAMMAR BIT)


The mthimba or marriage ceremony of the Ngoni was a lengthy series of rites of which had its appropriate songs. There were also some general mthimba songs which were interspersed with the special songs for each rite. Many of these general mthimba songs were sung at other times, and often as solos to the igubu. As in the umsindo songs some are historical and seem to bear no reference to marriage.

The first five songs refer to some event in the sequence of marriage rites. The general tone is that of sadness at giving up the girl to another family village, and the next two songs (6 and 7), sung by the bride herself, reflect the same feeling of exile from her family and friends. These songs can be sung to the igubu.

(1)Ngoni: "Ukuconga umntwana" (means childcare but here used in the sense of preparing of the girl before she goes to her husband)

Ngiwunzulane unzulane (I am a stray, a stray)

Yobaba ungidelile ( Yo my father has abandoned me/given me up)

Ngiyakundinda kusebaleni (I shall wander to the wild country)

Yobaba ungidelile (Yo my father has abandoned me/given me up)

This song is sung by the girl herself with her companions joining in. She is still in her own village waiting to go with the gift to give her husband-to-be.

GRAMMAR NOTES FOR THOSE LEARNING NGONI LANGUAGE.


Yobaba: pronounced yoŵaŵa to mean my father though in some cases it can stand for "of the fathers" i.e. ya + obaba (fathers). The Ngoni usually pronounce the "b" as "ŵ". You can still hear the b in words like bheka, see.

Ungidelile: You have abandoned me. Broken down as follows:

U- : Subject concord - you, he/she it. Here it refers to the father (baba).

-ngi-: Object concord me,

-del-: Stem of the verb -dela, abandon; give up; sacrifice

-ile: suffix representing the long form of the present perfect tense

To learn more about the Ngoni past tense visit  How to Express the past in Ngoni.

Ngiyakundinda: I shall wander. Broken down as follows:

Ngi-: Subject concord, I. In real life "ni" has replaced the "ngi" but old Ngoni has "ngi" so I stay with "ngi".

-yaku-: The long form of Ngoni future identifier. The Ngoni language also uses the short forms -zo- and -yo- to signify the future but the long one is more common.

-ndinda: wander about, rove about aimlessly

For more visit the Ngoni future tense.

kusebaleni: in the wilderness. broken down as follows:

ku - : in; at; on; to; from depending on context.

-s-: used as a connecting link between "ku" and ebaleni

ebaleni: in/at/on/to/from (a/the) wilderness. Locative case of ibala, open space. The Ngoni were not a homogeneous group so there are variations in the use of some words. Other Ngoni would say elubaleni instead of ebaleni. Elubaleni being the locative case of ulubala, open country, empty of trees, etc unoccupied by people.

Thus Mark 1:3 is translated as shown below:

3 Izwi lomunye likhala elubaleni, lungisani indlela yeNkosi yenzani izindlela zakhe ziqondile.
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

Below is a picture of the mother of Zulu Prince Gatsha Buthelezi, Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu playing the Zulu isigubhu (a stringed bow and a calabash instrument)


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