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Translated by: Sifiso Cele


Praise names are better understood in their original language, otherwise translation loses context and character.

  • Cele
  • Ndosi
  • Nombedu
  • Khumbuza
  • Nkomo kayivuswa. Nkom’isengwa ilele. Wayisenga imile iyakhahlela
  • Siqunga esihle esingahlalwa nyoni. Siqunga esizalela amasakabula
  • Mkhokheleli owakhokhela isizwe ekugqilazweni
  • Dubandlela
  • Vico obuye nensil’emfuleni ngoba ethi uzogeza ngobisi
  • Magaye
  • Magaye ongangolwadle

Praise names are derived from names of past Kings, including historic occasions and significant events that happened to the Kings or in their kingdoms just like saying “Nkomo esengwa ilele” which, in direct translation means “one who milks a cow whilest it lies on the ground”.

Narrators have different interpretations of this.

Others say:
If you want something from a Cele you must not demand or approach with aggressive attitude, but you should humble yourself and so that the Cele can also humble oneself. That way you will most likely get what you are looking for.

This attitude by the Cele is blamed on the Mthethwa who wanted to rule the Cele and be above them, which is what ended the relations between the two clans.

The second explanation:
It is said that King Shaka, with aggression, wanted to sleep with a certain maiden. The said maiden refused and King Shaka was told by a Cele that he must humble himself and that to enjoy the fruits of lovemaking, he must do it lying down.

Somewhere in the Cele clan praises, there is a portion which, in direct translation, says:
“The beautifull bird nest, which does not nest just any bird, but reserved for the birth of sacred royal birds”.

The Cele were once ruled by King Siqunga. King Siqunga was handsome and and light in complexion. He had beautifull maidens in his royal residence, seen only as suitable to be married off to other royals to beautify their royal residences with the Cele princesses.

It is also said that Cele maidens were so beautiful that one unnamed king was so impressed he took two Cele maidens at the same time.

The saying that Magaye ‘who is as big as the sea”, is because the generations of Magaye, over the years after his rule, ended up spreading all over along the coastlines.


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