Above: The traditional Zulu girls usually
wear this type of attire
Zulu Clan Praises by Douglas Mzolo in Argyle,
J & Preston Whyte, E - Social System and Tradition in South Africa.
(pp. 206-221) Oxford University Press, 1978.
Pinnock (1988:15) notes that the clan name is:
considered to be more important than a surname. The clan name is the strongest way of identifying someone, even stronger than a fathers or grandfathers surname because it identifies a persons whole family group and forebears.
So what about Mageba?
The Address Name (isithakazelo)
Every clan name has its isithakazelo. People are usually addressed by the isithakazelo. For example someone from the Zulu clan would be addressed Mageba! and someone from the Mzolo clan would be addressed Dlangamandla!.
Sometimes these address names are used as surnames. Thus the clan name Qwabe has the address name Gumede, which is now the surname of some members of the Qwabe clan.
Everyone will know the isithakazelo of the clans in the neighbourhood. Two people known to each other will greet each other using the isithakazelo, eg. Sanibonani Gatsheni! (when addressing someone of the Ndlovu clan) and Sanibonani Mageba! (when addressing someone from the Zulu clan).
When a stranger calls at someones kraal, he or she will always shout out the isithakazelo of that kraal, for example Eh! Gatsheni! (referring to the Ndlovu clan).
Each clan may have more than one address name, for example the Xulu clan has the address names: Donda, Gxabhashe and Makhathini.
Using address names shows politeness and respect. A Zulu person will always appreciate your use of their clan name. Married women never address their husbands by name or clan name, but always use the address name.
Izithakazelo are used when someone is extremely grateful. For example, when someone with the surname "Khuzwayo" does a very big favor for you, instead of saying "Thank you very much", you could say "Mnguni, Gumede, Khondlo, Qwabe". This is another way of acknowledging that the Qwabe people (from whom the Khuzwayo people come) have brough forth a very helpful descendent. Mnguni, Gumede and Khondlo are famous ancestors in the Khuzwayo lineage.
More information on the Zulu nation
How does this affect women after marriage?
Once married, a woman will take on her husbands surname but will keep her clan name using the prefix
Ma-. Thus, for example, a Mrs Mhlabeni
(who is the daughter of Mr Tsuluka
whose clan name is Dlamini
) will be known as MaDlamini
Not much is known of Zulu's life, nor of the reigns
of his successors, Punga, Mageba, Ndaba and
Jama. Find out more!!!
Above: Another example of a