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The history of the amaHlubi tribe in the izibongo of its kings.

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Histories of many non-literate societies in Africa have been reconstructed by analysing their oral traditions. This thesis attempts to show that the forgotten history of the amaHlubi Tribe can be re-constructed by analysing imizekeliso (legends), izaga (proverbs), amahubo (songs), izithakazelo (clan-praises) and izibongo (praises). This is discussed in Chapters Two and Three. The historical background of the amaHlubi tribe given in Chapter One is based on the izibongo of the two amaHlubi kings - Bhungane and Langalibalele. The izibongo are the most important genre. This is highlighted in Chapter Four. The izibongo are not only a record of the past of the society and its kings, but they also have social, religious and political significance. In Chapter Four, historicity of the izibongo is discussed. Orality-literacy contrasts are pointed out. The imbongi in the oral culture is compared to a historian in the literate culture. Whilst the imbongi and the historian perform the same function by preserving history, they use different methods when collecting and recording historical data. Finally, Chapter Four attempts to give a critical analysis of the nature and functions of the izibonqo.


Thesis (M.A.) - University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 1992.


Hlubi (African People), Langalibalele, Hlubi chief, d. 1889., Laudatory poetry, Zulu--History and criticism., Theses--Orality-literacy studies., Zululand--History.