Friday, July 29, 2011


Traditional Zulu God Names

  • Friday, July 29, 2011
  • Samuel Kadyakale
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  • The Zulu Notion of God according to the Traditional Zulu God-Names
    Author(s): Rev. W. Wanger
    Source: Anthropos, Bd. 18/19, H. 4./6. (Jul. - Dec., 1923/1924), pp. 656-687
    Published by: Anthropos Institute

    The readers of "Anthropos" need scarcely be told that the Zulus form the extreme South East of the Ntu field. By Zulu, in this treatise, we mean not only the pure Zulu in, or out of, Zulu-land, but all the Zulu-speaking tribes of southern South Africa, such as the La1as, Bacas, Swazis, &c. We might include as well the Tebe1es, that is, the inhabitants of Matabeleland (recte 'Matebeleland' or rather 'Tebeland'), as far, as they are descendants of those pure Zulus or Zulu-speaking Ntus who, under the leadership of a pure Zulu of the Kumalo tribe, seceded from the Zulu king Tshaka, and became the nucleus of the former Tebele kingdom. However we shall not refer to them expressly, nor to the Ngonis (Wangoni, Angoni) W. and E. of the Nyasa, who also are descendants of pure Zulus and Zulu-speaking Ntus as shown by their very name (w)aNgoni, the Zulu abaNguni which is but another, and older name for amaZulu.

    The question I wish to discuss is this: Have the Zulus any notion of the true God? And if they have, what kind of notion have they? The answer to this question I intend basing (as can be seen by the heading), in the main, upon their traditional God-names and the traditions clustering round them; but there is nothing to prevent us from drawing for additional proofs on any available source, within or without the Ntu circle.

    It is truly remarkable what a vexed problem this question has been from the very beginning, that is, the time of the first missionaries (non-Catholic) down to our own days. And yet, it seems to me, the facts were obvious enough. Therefore, beïore settling down to our subject, it may be as well to point out at least some of the reasons that contributed to obscuring those facts.

    One was, I believe, the great difference between Ntu paganism and the types of paganism with which the missionaries (all of them Europeans) were familiar, that is, chiefly Greek, Roman, Teutonic, and Celtic paganism.

    All these were polytheistic forms of paganism, while Ntu paganism, whereever unmixed with foreign importations, is monotheistic, paradox as it may seem. The Ntus are pagans, but not because they have no knowledge whatever of the true God. They are pagans because they pay divine worship to the spirits of their dead blood-relations (this is usually, though wrongly, called 'ancestor-worship'), but they never identified them with God, with the Creator, the Maker. They are pagans by adhering to innumerable forms of superstitious beliefs, culminating in fetish-worship, as practised by part of the Ntu peoples, but they never identified any of the superstitious powers in which they believe, with the Creator.

    Again, the forms of paganism with which those missionaries were familiar, were surrounded with all the externals and paraphernalia of religious worship. There was a priesthood set aside for it, there were temples, idols, altars, sacrifices, oblations, and so on. To the newcomer nothing of all this is apparent in the South East of Ntuland: seemingly no priesthood, no temples, not even idols or fetishes of any kind, no altars, no sacrifices. The natural conclusion is: here is a people without any religion whatsoever, and a fortiori without any knowledge of God. And yet, in reality, all these things do exist among the Zulu-speaking peoples as well as in the whole Ntu S. E., although in forms unfamiliar to the European. The place of the temple is taken by the sacred circle of the isi-baya or 'cattlekraal', the only place where the solemn sacrifice may be performed. The um-samo (back part) of the principal hut or else the u-hoho (pantry hut) belonging to it, is the altar. The um-numzana or 'kraalhead', and he alone, is the sacrificing priest, while the other part of priesthood is exercised by the aba-ngoma or 'diviners' or rather 'prophets'. And all these forms of 'divine' cult or worship, if they were but directed to the true God, would be substantially as Mosaic as those of the Old Law .

    The missionaries being confronted by monotheistic heathens of whose monotheism they knew nothing, and by an apparent absence of any religion, could scarcely help being biassed: that such a people should have any notion of the true God, was preposterous. And this bias continued to make itself felt generations after the first missionaries.

    Another of these obscuring causes was science. The science of those days, whether materialistic or rationalistic, had but one thing to prove, viz. that there is no such thing as the God of the Bible or of Christianity. Science was in quest of 'primitive' peoples who knew nothing of that God. And travellers of those early days, with scant or no equipment for truly scientific, much less for theological research, with practically no knowledge of the respective native languages, those travellers whom I styled elsewhere 1 "scientists of the journalistic reporter type", told the world that in the S. E. of Africa they had found peoples who had no religion whatsoever. And the missionaries who came after them, concurred. No wonder that "science" was triumphant. I remember the time, as recent as the eighties of the last century, when our professor oï religion told us youngsters of this "triumph of science". And this science did not fail to impress most, if not all, of those early missionaries. If one reads Moffat, Dohne, Callaway, &c, one cannot help being struck by the deeply rooted, ever and ever recurring "scientific" bias holding that it was out of question to find a knowledge of God among the primitive peoples of South Africa. 

    As a third of these obscuring reasons I mention the 'colour-bar', taking it in its widest sense. It could not possibly be allowed that these blacks, these niggers, these barbarous savages, these heathens, knew of the true God. It was simply impossible that these heathens knew already of the One Whom they, the missionaries, the representatives of a superior race, had come to announce to them. Of course, this attitude of their mentality was not put down by them in black and white as bluntly as I have stated it, in fact, very likely they were not even personally conscious of it. But anyone who knows how to read between the lines, will find that the fact is not overstated. There have been exceptions, one of them being Colenso who wrote in 1855 2, "The amount of unnecessary hindrance to the reception of the Gospel, which must be caused by forcing upon them an entirely new name for the Supreme Being, without distinctly connecting it with their own two names (he alludes to uNkulunkulu and umVelingqangi), will be obvious to any thoughtful mind. It must make a kind of chasm between their old life and the new one to which they are invited; and it must be long before they can become able, as it were, to bridge over the gulf, and make out for themselves, that this strange name, which is preached to them, is only the white man's name for the same Great Being, of whom they have heard their fathers and mothers speak in their childhood."

    A fourth of those obscuring causes may be found in human "weaknesses"

    A goodly number of missionaries of the one or other Methodistic denominations impugn the Zulu God-name uNkulunkulu for the only reason lhat their "forefathers" had given to the Zulus the God-name (?) uTixo, which, figuring, as it does, in all their Bibles and religious writings, is "hallowed by a venerable age". Practically, I believe, there is no longer any missionary in S.Africa who doubts uNkulunkulu to be a traditional Zulu God-name, and, at that, the one most in use among the Zulus themselves. But to cease opposing it, would be tantamount to publicly avowing the mistake made by their fore- fathers.

    Another human weakness is instanced by Callaway. We are far from wishing to belittle his person or to judge of his motives; but we have to reckon with the historical fact that Callaway showed a pronounced antagonism against Colenso, in other matters as well as in linguistic and ethnological, and especially in the uNkulunkulu-qnestion in which Colenso and Callaway were the exponents of pro and contra. His research work for, and the writing of, his "Religious System of the amaZulu" 3 was biased by a foregone conclusion, viz. that UNKULUNKULU could not, or perhaps even must not, be that which Colenso had proclaimed and defended it to be, namely a traditional genuine Zulu God-name. And this leads us on to the next point.

    A fifth of these obscuring causes consists in the fact that it is a very difficult art to draw genuine information from the natives. 

    The chief obstacle by which the European inquirer is confronted, is - who would have thought that of the African savage? - the politeness of his would-be native informant. From earliest childhood he has been trained to be polite towards his superiors, polite even at the expense of truth: if he knows that a 'yes' is expected, 'yes' it will be; and if he supposes a 'no' to please his superior, it will be 'no'. And why not, if it please so the master? But this is hypocrisy ! No, says the native, this is politeness, this is etiquette. Of course, casual information of quite an incidental or occasional nature, is not exposed to this danger of native politeness. But if engaged in systematic research work, one cannot depend of casual information alone. The only remedy is to train one's native informants. To achieve that, the first step will be to gain their confidence. This, then, will be the stepping stone from which to lead them on to the firm belief that the master will be gravely displeased if he finds that they have been impolite towards truth. The writer speaks from personal experience of long years. And he is convinced that, if once the barrier of politeness towards the superior has been broken down (in the above sense), the Ntu informant can be trusted as much as that of any other nation.

    But this is not all. The European inquirer will have to train himself as well. To what? To not letting out his personal views or convictions beforehand. An untrained inquirer will do so unawares, and in this case, his native informant, especially the untrained, will but reproduce the views of his inquirer: hypnotizer and hypnotized. Unfortunately Callaway's tendency, his antagonism against Colenso, was not the best of dispositions for an impartial inquirer. This is why I wrote as early as in 1913 4 "The absolute value of statements may have been impaired by this very tendency, which necessarily revealed itself in his questions, in the strain of his inquiries, and in conversations he must have held with his several informants previous to writing down their statements".

    Besides the foregoing, there are some other things which render the art of inquiring from a native by a European difficult, and this brings us to-

    The sixth of those obscuring causes:- insufficient linguistic and philological training.

    There are three words with which we shall be much concerned in the sequel. If written without any capital and signs to indicate dynamic accents and the pitch of voice (tone), they present themselves as only two, viz.-

         i                           If we write the same with distinguishing signs
    (1) unkulunkulu         in order to indicate their actual native pronunciation,
    (2) ukulukulu.           we have-
    (1) 'únkulunkúlü       And if, finally, we distinguish the word we are
    (2 a) ukúlàkulà        going to prove to be a God-name, with a capital, we have-
    (3 a) unkúlunkúlu.

    iii                                        The two words under i, appear as three under ii
    (1) *úÑkulünkúlu                and iii, because unkúlunkúlu figures twice in ii and iii.
    (2 a) ukúlukúlu                    Once, if we consider the dynamic accents alone, it
    (2b) unkúlunkúlu.               figures as únkulunkúlu or úNkulunkúlu, and the other time as únkulunkúlu- it should not have proved so very difficult to perceive at least this difference. And if we consider now the musical tones, once it figures as 'únkulànkúlà or 'úNkulunkúlu, and the other time as iinkúlünkúlii. For such marked differences there must be a reason.

    The reason, in our opinion, is that iii(l) presents itself as uNjkulu- n-kulu, i. e., uN + doubled kulu 'great', meaning therefore 'the greatest uN', whilst the genesis of iii(2b) is as follows. Its simple and primary form is u/kulu-kulu, and here kulu means 'great', no longer in the sense of 'high, exalted', but in that of 'old', as it is the case in terms of relationship throughout. Thus, proceeding from u-baba 'father' and u-ma(me) 'mother', we find u/bába- m-kúlu, u/má(me)-kúlu lit. 'the old father, mother', actually 'grandfather, grandmother'. And both, especially the latter, are addressed in short as u- kulu lit. 'the old one'. And u/kúlu-kúlu is, of course, nothing but doubled u-kulu, signifying, as it does, an u-kulu of a superlative degree : 'the oldest father or mother', i. e., 'the protoparent, male or female', be it with regard to mankind in general, or to a given people. We find also the diminutive u/kúlu-kulw-áne of u/kálu-kúlu: one less old than ukúlukúlu.

    In the ascending line, one uses the following terms-
    1st degree u-baba father, u-ma(me) mother
    2nd „  u/baba-m-kulu or u-kulu grandfather, u/ma(me)-kulu or u-kulu   grandmother 3rd „ u-koko great-grandfather, great-grándmother (in a wider sense 'ancestor' in general)
    4th „ u-koko ka-koko great-great-grandfather, great-great-grandmother
    5th „ u-koko wao-koko great-great-great-grandfather, great-great-great- grandmother (in a wider sense: any ancestor beyond the 4th degree), one with - u/kúlu-kulw-áne - un/kúlu-n-kulw-áne (in a wider sense : any more or less immediate descendant of the ukúlukúlu = únkulu- nkúlu). The only difference between ukoko waokoko and u(n)kúlu(n)kulwáne is one of thought, the former being the result of ascending, the latter that of descending reckoning,

    ultimate u/kúlu-kúlu = un/kúlu-n-kúlu protoparent, first man, first woman, degree originator (of mankind, of a people, &c).

    As to the actual use of language, there is not the least doubt that ukúlukúlu and unkúlunkúlu, and their dim. ukúlukulwáne and unkúlunkulwáne are identical. Nor is there any doubt that ukúlukúlu is the primary, and unkúlunkúlu the secondary form. But how can we explain the origin of this secondary form? One answer would be: it is the nunnated form of ujkulu-kulu. And whence the nunnation? Philologically it is a case of u-m(u)/kulu~m(u)-kulu> u-n/kulu-n- kulu. The change of class-prefix (cl. 1 and 4) and preposition mu to n is well instanced in Zulu (though it has so far escaped the notice of other Zuluists), as m(u) of ama-aba-class: -
    u-m(u)/kulu-kundhl-eni > u-n/kulii-kundhlení
    u-mu/ or rather u-ma/gaxa'butweni> u-n/gaxa-butweni
    u-m(u)/tembazane> u-n/tembazane
    u-m(u)/Hlabati (Earth-man, Adam) > u-n/Hlabati.
    m(u) of umu-imi-class: -
     u-m(u)/gazi > u-n/gazi.

    preposition mu:-

    mu-tambama > ma-tambama in the early afternoon
    mu-tambama > n-tambama in the later afternoon
    mu-sundu> n-sundu (in the state of being black) black
    mu-zima > n-zima (in the state of being heavy) heavy.

    But why does original u-mu/kula-ma-kala change to u-n/kala-n-kulu, and not to u-mkulu-m-kulu, especially in view of such forms as m-kulu 'he, she, it, is tall, u-m'kula 'the superior', u/baba-m-kula? The answer is that we cannot account for the genius of a language- why, e. g., should original ma- tambama change, in the one case, to ma-tambama, and in the other, to n- tambama, and why should the former mean 'in the early afternoon', and the latter 'in the later afternoon', while etymologically both are one and the same? However, in the case of unkulunkulu, the change may be due to a certain influence from úNkulunkulu, to a false analogy.

    If the "phonetic" writing of Zulu had not been, and were not, as imperfect as it is, in other words, if the dynamic accents and the musical tones had been represented in writing, if, further, the God-name had been distinguished by a capital, or else, if at least the ear of the Colensos and Callaways, &c, had been trained enought to perceive the accents and tones as they came forth from the mouth of the natives, and if the organs of speech of the European inquirers had been moulded just so much as to be able to distinguish somehow between 'únkulunkúlu and unkulunkúlu, in all likelihood there would have never arisen sucha perplexing question as the unkulunkulu- question has been, especially since the time of Callaway, down to our own days.

    What an inextricable chaos must have been caused in the ears and minds of the natives by the deficient or wrong pronunciation of unkulunkula and ukulakulu from the part of the European inquirers?! As a further illustration, I give the three words ibélè fern, breast, ibêle sorghum or 'kafircorn', and ibëlè small skin.

    As a seventh of those obscuring reasons, I mention the fact of religious tradition having not been preserved with the same exactitude in every tribe, nor in every family, much less by every individual native. On the contrary, there are reasons for believing that also among the Ntus in olden times only certain families (in whom a kind of priesthood was hereditary?) were the official keepers of those traditions. On the other hand, it is quite remarkable with what tenacity and uniformity the Zulus have preserved certain single words, standing out in strong relief like monoliths, and a few phrases, as short and precise as answers in a catechism.

    An eighth of those obscuring causes lies in the difficulty to find the limit where the genuine rendering of the old traditions, as handed down from time immemorial, ends, and personal speculation of the individual native acting as informant, begins. Add to this what has been said above (fifth reason) on such an informant having been directly or indirectly influenced by the views and preconceived theories of the European inquirer. A glaring instance is Mpengula Mbanda, Callaway's chief informant. Mpengula, whom, as it happens, I have known for many years, is certainly an intelligent native. To call him a "Zulu philosopher" (Die Religion der afrikanischen Naturvölker, W. Schneider, Münster 1891, p. 66), is to do him too much honour.

    A ninth of those obscuring causes lies in expecting too much from the natives: were they able to explain all their traditions, represented sometimes in a single word, they would never have become what they actually are, namely pagans, nor would those traditions be referred to by themselves, as they oc- casionally will be, as izinganekwane, that is, stories no longer understood. What we can expect from them, is to state the ukutsho kwabadala, i. e., that which they were told by the old people. Pressed beyond that, they will turn into "philosophers". And if then that "philosophy" of theirs is further deve- loped and construed into what is apt to serve as confirmation of a tendency like Callaway's, it is easy to gauge the absolute value of such a "philosophy" and the European comments on it.

    Some of my readers have, perhaps, grown impatient at the prolixity of these many "obscuring reasons"- my defence must be that it takes rather a time to get off all the dust accumulated on our subject in the course of nearly three quarters of a century. Others may have come to think that I am deter- mined on tearing to rags any and all 'evidence' collected in previous times on our subject- my answer will be that the only object I have had in view, is to prepare the ground for sifting true evidence from false.


    None of the scientists whose respective publications have come under my notice, has quoted, or referred to, what Colenso put down in writing as early as 1855 (two years before Dohne published his Zulu-Kafir Dictionary, in which he laid down his view of the meaning of unkulunkulu; and many years before Callaway wrote his "Religious System of the amaZulu") in his "Ten Weeks in Natal". When collecting the material published therein, the learned Cambridge man was fresh from home, just appointed to the (Anglican) See of Natal, quite new to Natal and Zululand, with no party feeling, with no bias, on the uNkulunkulu-problem, for the simple reason that, at that time, there was no such problem, except in quite another sense, wanting, as he did, to oust the non-Zulu uTixo, and give the Zulus, if possible, one of their own God-names. At the time of his first inquiries, Colenso did not yet know Zulu, but he could entirely rely on Sir Theophilus Shepstone, the uSomseu of the Zulus, who was a perfect "Zulu with a white skin" as far as language is concerned.

    As to his scientific, and especially theological tenets, Colenso was a child of his time. I need but remind my readers that it is this same Colenso who is the author of the famous commentaries on the Pentateuch and the Book of Josuah which caused so much stir within and withouth the Anglican Church. As theologian, therefore, he was the exponent of the extreme left of the 'radicals'. Since Colenso has been sincere enough to admit the existence of the amount of original tradition that he actually found among the Zulus, instead of joining the chorus of contemporary scientists who were practically unanimous in making of the Zulus complete atheists, his testimony must be accepted as being beyond exception.

    If the extracts I am giving below from the above book, are lengthier than I could wish myself, it must be put down to the importance of the subject, and also to the fact of "Ten Weeks in Natal" being long out of print, so that mere references would be useless to the average reader. The passages are presented in the same geographical and historical order as I found them in Colenso's book.

    At Edendale Mission. Our next scene was a private interview with the twelve chief men of the station ... I found, as I had been led to expect by Mr. Allison, that his people were unanimous in their disapproval of the word for God, now commonly in use among the Missionaries- uTixo- which, they said, "had no meaning whatever for the Kafirs. They used it because they found it in their Bibles; but it was not a word of their language at all". "The proper word for God was iTongo, which meant with them a Power of Universal Influence- a Being under whom all around was placed." "For instance, said one, if we were going on an expedtiion, we should, in ordinary circum- stances, have trusted to our household gods, which we call amaHlose (in later publications Colenso spelled it rightly amaDhlozi); but if some unusual danger of the desert threatened us, or if a violent storm terrified us, we sjiould throw these away, and trust in iTongo. All the Kafir tribes, whether on the frontier or to the north, would understand iTongo; but the latter would have no idea whatever of what was meant by uTixo, though the former are now used to it through the Missionaries."

    I may here mention, before I pass on, that, having received this important information, I resolved to direct my inquiries especially to this point, when- ever opportunity should be afforded me, in my intercourse with the Kafirs of the district. The conclusion to which I have come (and for which the Journal, as it proceeds, will sufficiently supply the reasons), is, that these Kafirs were undoubtedly right in condemning the word uTixo, as one utterly without meaning in the Kafir tongue, . . . The origin of this word is very uncertain; but it is said to be the name of a species of mantis, which is called the "Hotten- tots' god". At all events, it would seem that Dr. Vanderkemp, who first laboured among the Hottentots some sixty years ago, adopted this word in. his teaching as the name of God; and the Wesleyan and other Missionaries have carried it from west to east, first among the British Kafirs, and now among the tribes of Natal. Meanwhile, they have not noticed at all two names, which the Kafirs have of their own for the Deity, and which in their language have most expressive meanings. Here, however, as my further inquiries convinced me, Mr. Allison's Kafirs were in error. It is true that all the Kafirs of the Natal district believe in iTongo (plural, amaTongo) and amaDhlozi; and it is very likely that the former may be regarded as having the universal tribal in- fluence they spoke of, in distinction from the limited family influence of the latter. (It did not occur to me to press this inquiry.- There is no such distinction between amaTongo and amaDhlozi.- The Author.) But these words are certainly used by them only with reference to the spirits of the dea d- not to the Great Being, whom they regard as their Creator; . . . The true words for the Deity in the Kafir language- at least in all this part of Africa- are umKulunkulu (he corrected it later on into uNkulunkulu- The Author), literally, The Great-Great One = The Almighty (wrong, the literal meaning being 'the all-great uN' = the all-great God in heaven- The Author), and umVelinqange (recite, umVelingqangi)- The First Comer-Out = The First Essence, or, rather, Existence (the last is the nearest - The Au- thor). It will be seen, as my narrative proceeds, that in e v e r y instance, whether in the heathen kraal, amidst the wildest of savages, or in the Missionary station, in the presence of the teacher, w.ho was surprised him- self at the result, my inquiries led me invariably to the same point - namely, that these words have been familiartothem from their childhood, as names for Him 'who created them and all things,' and as traces of a religious knowledge, which, however originally derived, their ancestors possessed long be- fore the arrival of Missionaries, and have handed down to the present generation. The amount of unnecessary hindrance . . . (already quoted p. 658). This evil (sc. of forcing upon the Zulus a non-Zulu God-name), it will be seen, has been felt by both the American and Norwegian Missionaries. Mr. Allison objects to the name uTixo, and adopts iNehova, the Hebrew name for God. I cannot account for his people not even naming to me the two other names, uNkulunkula and umVelingqangi, which, in every other instance (all the foregoing whitenings, except this, are mine - The Author), were given to me at once by the natives. They might have done so, if I had asked for them ; but, at the time of my visit to them, I was not alive to the importance of the question.

    At Pakade's. Ngoza was asked, "Did he know the Prayer, beginning, Baba wetu, &c, Our Father, &c?" "Yes!" "Did he know Who it was that was there spoken of?" "We did not know, until the white people told us." "Did he know anything about uNkulunkulu before?" "Yes; they all knew that everything came from Hi m." "Say (this to Sir TH. Shepstone) that I am sent to tell them more about Him."

    They said that "amaTongo and amaDhlozi were certainly not the same as uNkulunkulu: for they could not be till man was created; in short, they were departed spirits, but uNkulunkulu made all things."

    "We've missed the truth by very little, after all: for we pray to unseen spirits, and you to one unseen Being."

    They told me of the old Kafir tradition, that "uNkulunkulu sent the word of life by the chameleon, and then he sent the word of death by a lizard; but the lizard outran the chameleon".

    One thing, however, we ascertained from them- and a very important fact it was to be gathered from such a set of complete heathens- namely, that they did know of uNkulunkulu by their own tradition s- that He was the same as umVelingqangi, the First Out-Comer- and that they had heard lately of uTixo, and supposed that he must be somehow the same. "But, the chief said, there was a complete separation in these matters between the black and the white - we could not at all understand each other." Mr. Shepstone ex- plained, that "I thought there was not so great a separation as he supposed"- that "we believed in uNkulunkulu (the Great-Great-One), as well as they"- and that "I was sent to tell them more about Him, what He had done, and what He was doing, for them". It is incalculable what mischief must be done by the adoptions of this barbarous, unmeaning Hottentot name (uTixo), for one which is connected in the mind of the Kafir with such grand associations, as Almight- iness and Original Existence- however much they may have lost sight of the full meaning of their own expressive words for the Deity. They are the very ideas contained in the Hebrew words Elohim and Jehova...

    After we had recovered (the following morning) our seats, Mr. Shepstone began by asking the chief, "What he thought of that?" He said "We quite beat him last night, with talking of the uNkulunkulu, and saying that we prayed toHim inEngland; for he saw there was not so great a separation after all." We were perfectly taken by surprise with this answer; for we had fancied that he had scarcely noticed this observation of ours overnight. But it seems he had, and, though he had said nothing at the time, had been pondering since upon it.

    At Langalibalele's. Mr. Shepstone has just put into the chief's hand a spoonful of brown sugar, which he eats with great zest, and stuffs a portion into the mouth of his right-hand neighbour, and then licks his hand when he has finished it. He has just asked Mr. Shepstone, "How is sugar made?" "It's made by boiling." "Ah! then you are taught that by the umVelingqangi" It should be observed, that we had not said a word to him or his people on the subject of religion; so that here we had this heathen Kafir, oí his own accord, refering the wisdom, which he saw we possessed, so superior to his own, to the Great Source of all Wisdom. We caught, of course, at this word. "Whom do "you mean by umVelingqangi?" "He made men- he made the mountains- he gave them names. Do you know," he asked, "who gave the Tukela (a river) its name?" "No." "Then it must be umVelingqangi: for we do not know who did." We asked, "Who was the uNkulunkulu?" He said, "He was the same." "Did they know anything about the creation? Had they any tradition about it?" "No (such a negation has often, as also here, not the sense of a flat negation, but is used idiomatically as conjunction; s. my "Konversations-Grammatik der Zulusprache", Mariannhill 1917, p. 10 and 603- The Author); they only knew that He had made them; they did not know b y what word He had made them. Their old men had died by wars, and they had forgotten everything." He said, "They only knew of uTixo, since white men had come into the country; but they knew the other names from time i m m e m o r i a 1." I begged Mr. Shepstone to tell him, that uTixo was meant by the Missionaries for the same Being; but the teachers did not know they had such good names themselves for God, - that we prayed to uNkulunkulu.

    A discussion now arose between themselves, as to whether the amaDhlozi and amaTongo were the same as uNkulunkulu. One said, "He thought they were." But he was overruled by the others, who said: "that could not be; for t h e y were the spirits oï dead people, who came into snakes sometimes; but uNkulunkulu made men and ail things."

    At Pu tine's. They told us, as before, that, "long before the white men came, they had heard of uNkulunkulu" - that "he made the land, and men, and all things." "Tell them, I said, that He is our Father, and we are all His children, and, therefore, brethren; and we ought to be kin3 to one another." "That was very good- to know that they had heard of Him so long ago, and now, when they had become subjects of white people, to find that they were all brethren..." "Did they know of any other name?" "No." "Had they never heard of umVelingqangi?" "Yes: that was the same."

    At Emmaus, Berlin Mission. "Before the Missionaries came, one said, we heard that there was a great inKos' (Lord - The Author), who took care of us; but what He was, we did not know." Another (a British Kafir, from the frontier of the Cape Colony) here observed that "He manifested Himself by means of dreams or spirits - amaPupo or amaTongo" Then a third informed me, that "his people called Him uNkulunkulu and umVelingqangi" This was uNceni or Karl, who had been a servant formerly of Capt. Gardiner for three years. He said, "The Zulus first heard of uTixo from Capt. Gardiner: but, before he came, they thought the origin of all things was uNkulunkulu." Dingaan (Zulu king 1828-1840- The Author) said of Capt. Gardiner's teaching, uuNkulunkulu must be the same as uTixo, only we have no one to tell us." Capt. Gardiner, it appears, could not himself speak the Zulu lan- guage, but always addressed the people by means of an interpreter; and the chief, though he never heard him, was curious to know what he said to his subjects, and made the above remark upon it.

    At Zikhali's. We asked, "If a Great Being above did not make all things?" "They knew nothing of this, till the Missionaries came." "Had he (the chief) ever heard the names of uNkulunkulu and umVelingqangi?" "No! perhaps, some of his old men had." A grizzled grey-beard here got up upon his hams, from the circle of the old men - Zikali's amaPakati (counselors) - who sat at a very respectful distance behind him, and, I should have thought, quite out of hearing of our questions and their chief's answers. In a serious slow tone, he said, that "when a child, he had heard from old women, stooping with age, that there was a Great Being, phe-Zulu (up in heaven), who had those names: but, more than that, he knew nothing." At Lad y smith. (The following I insert chiefly for the purpose of showing how Colenso did not allow himself to be carried away by any pre- dilection or monomania for the word uNkulunkulu - The Author.) We have the greatest difficulty in fixing on a proper Name for God. I cannot bear the mean and meaningless name uTixo . . . uNkulunkulu and umVelingqangi are both too long for common use; and so would be uLungileyo, "The Good One." We have thought of adopting umPezulu, "He above, or in Heaven"; and by this name, in fact, Kafirs are often sworn in courts of justice. Standing up, and lifting the first and second fingers of the left hand in Dutch fashion, he will repeat the words Ngibona, 'nKos' iPezulu (recte, nKosi epezulu), "Behold me, Lord above"; or, Ngisize, 'nKos' iPezulu, "Help me, Lord above". But there are objections to this word also. I am not sure that it would not be best to employ the word uDio. It is a new word, it is true, like uTixo; but it is easy of utterance, is directly connected with the Greek and Latin names for God, and is not very far removed in sound from the word which it displaces. No one, who has not tried, can conceive how hard, and almost impossible, it is, to give correct representations in another, and that a barbarous tongue, of the refined and expres- sive language of some parts of the Bible and the Prayer Book (I feel sure that the later Zulu scholar Colenso would not have subscribed to what here the newcomer Colenso says- The Author).

    At Durban. Mr. Oftebro Norwegian Missionary entireley and most effectively confirms all the results of my past experience about the words uTixo and uNkulunkulu, and the mode of treating with the natives the subject of religion. "They all know uNkulunkulu, but know nothing of uTixo; and he and his brethren never use the latter word - only the former - even in the Creed." "He has heard Zulus say that, in their own country, when they are going to sit down to a meal, they will send their children out, and tell them to go and pray to uNkulunkulu to give them all sorts of good things; and they go out and say, "O uNkulunkulu (recte Nkulunkulu), give us bread - give us cows- give us corn". (This 'praying' to uNkulunkulu has been ridiculed by Dohne and Calla way, as being, upon native evidence, a mere trick to keep the children out of the way when fheir elders sat down to a dainty meal. But neither has even as much as tried to prove that originally, and perhaps with other Zulu , speaking tribes, it was not a religious practice- The Author.) "He has heard others (sc. natives), when he has been preaching about uNkulunkulu, whisper to one another, 'What! does he know anything about uNkulunkulu?' and seem greatly interested with the fact thad he did." [As to the last remark, one of great psychological importance, the author is in a position to state from many per- sonal experiences, that whereever, in teaching catechism or preaching to the natives, allusion is made to the one or other of their own traditions, they will show, by their surprise or eager interest or beaming faces, that they are greatly pleased; and should it happen that the ukutsho kwabadala, i. e. what the old people said, be not rendered faithfully, they will take the liberty (the necessary degree of confidence into the individual missionary presupposed) to correct him, in catechetical instruction at once, and if such mention was made in a sermon, after the sermon.] "The other word, umVelingqangi, he said, was equally familiar to them; but, of course, they do not attach to either of them the deep significance we can." 

    At Inanda. Mr. Lindley told me that he knew they had the name uNkulunkulu, which they use to express the Creator of all things: but he felt sure that, if I asked turther, I should find they meant by it a little worm in the reeds, a sort of caddis-worm whose cylindrically shaped houses, constructed of little strips of bark, may be found on the willow- tree in great numbers (in Zululand proper, called un-kulukundhleni and uma- hambanendhlwana 'the one who goes about with his own little house', in Natal, besides, also ànkúlunkúlu-lht Author). This was quite new to me; but I felt already so sure of the ground on which I stood, that it would not have staggered me with regard to my general conclusion, formed from so many replies, obtained from so many different tribes, if I had found that those now before me had, previous to their conversion, been sunk in yet lower degradation and lost yet more of the truth of their original traditions, than others of their brethren.

    With this preparatory talk, we proceeded to our inquiries. The subjects selected for the examination were chiefly two men- aged fourty six and fourty nine. They told us that they had heard the name uTixo from Dr. Adams, and before that from Capt. Gardiner, more than twenty years ago. "Had they ever heard any other name besides uTixo?" "Yes- uNkulunkulu. He had made all things." In answer to Mr. Lindley, they "did not hear whe- ther he had made the great mountains." "He made the reeds first (cp. what further on will be said on u-hlanga and um-hlanga-Tht Author), and out of them came men." "Was uNkulunkulu the same as uTixoT "Yes: but they did not understand uTixo at first. They do now, because they have been taught its meaning." "They think uNkulunkulu would be the best word to use for the unconverted heathen." "They think uNkulunkulu the best word altogether"- two or three speaking. "Did they think at first that uTixo was the same as uN- kidunkulu?" "When they heard about His creating all things, they said, This is uNkulunkulu'." "They would have liked better- attended more- if the Missionary had spoken to them at first about uNkulunkulu, instead of uTixo. They would have said, The teacher is right. It is uNkulunkulu that he talks about'."

    "But, asked Mr. Lindley, if you had been told about uNkulunkulu, would you not have thought directly about the little worm down in the reeds?" This question was received by*the whole party with a smile of respectful derision. "O no! we only call it so; we use the same name for it; but we do not pay any honour to it." (One remembers a flower, called by the name 'Everlasting'.)

    "Did they know where uNkulunkulu was?" "No! they had only heard of Him, that there was such a Being; they did not know where He was." Mr. Lindley was quite convinced by their replies, that there was more of truth in their rude conceptions of the Divine Being, than he had imagined.

    At Mr. Lewis Grout's. I wished to ascertain wheter they could corroborate at all the statement of the Norwegian Missionary, which was quite new to Mr. Grout, viz. that the Zulu parents sent their children at times, when they themselves took their meals, to pray to uNkulunkulu. They gave us imme- diately the two Kafir names, as those by which their fathers knew the Great Creator, before that of uTixo reached them.

    So far Colenso. If one reads all these statements on uNkulunkulu, made by members of very different Zulu speaking tribes, all concurring in His being the Creator of man and everything, one cannot help being struck by this unanim- ity. But perhaps to those conversant with what Dohne, Calla way, &c, put down on the same subject, this very unanimity will be a great stumbling block. Why, they will ask, not a word on, not even an allusion to, uNkulunkulu, or rather unkulunkulu, as meaning 'man', 'the first man'? The answer, in my opinion, is very simple - Colenso always proceeded from uTixo; therefore his native interlocutors knew from the very beginning that no one else than the One who figured in their own traditions as the Creator of man and everything, viz. 'uNkulunkulu, was in question, and consequently they had no reason whatever to speak of what was not asked, viz. unkulunkulu 'the first man*. In my own mind, I feel quite convinced that in all those conversations only 'uNkulunkulu was used, not once unkulunkulu.

    If this is so - and it does not appear how it could have been other- wise-these statements are really invaluable, outweighing, for instance, all those collected by Calla way, in which practically - that is, to all those who are not in possession of the key to the perplexing problem - confusion reigns supreme - "The evidence, collected by Dr. Calla way, is honest, but confused", writes A. Lang 5.

    To the writer personally, Dingana's statement, as narrated above by Nceni, is the most convincing. Anyone who has been in personal contact with the Zulu speaking natives for any length of time, will know that the common people look up to the Zulu king or the royal Zulu family as th e keeper of Zulu traditions, profane as well as religious. And the writer, who has been for years in personal contact with several members of that family, has been able to put this prerogative of theirs to the test. Now king Dingana was told of what Gardiner had said to his subjects of uTixo, and he, at once, concluded this must be our Zulu  uNkulunkulu. "Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear!"

    This patch of clear sky, of unclouded evidence, alas! has been darkened, "obscured", as already indicated. Unpleasant as it is, to walk in the dark, we shall have to contend with darkness for some time before we see light again.


    The first (in historical sequence) to quote is the late Rev. J. L. Dohne, Missionary to the American Board C.F.M. In his "Zulu-Kaffir Dictionary" (Cape Town 1857) he has:-"un-Kulunkulu, n. sing. From inkuluinkulu, a great-great, viz.: the greatest of all (maximus), which is made a proper noun by the nom. form u or un - see u-Ni Sisuto mogologolo. The first great individual: the progenitor of one or all nations.- This word refers only to some great original man of a whole nation, like Adam, the first man." 

    The form inkuluinkulu, the supposed parent form of unkulunkulu, is an arbitrary postulate of Döhne's; no more need be said about it. - If his un- Kuliinkulu is to be identified with unkúlunkúlu = ukúlukúlu, he is right in giving it the meaning 'progenitor of one or all nations', and wrong in ren- dering doubled kulu by 'great-great, viz. the greatest of all (maximus)' instead of 'old-old, i. e., the oldest of all (antiquissimus)'-see p. ?. If, on the other hand, his unKulunkulu is meant for 'úNkulunkúlu, he should have drawn the reader's attention to the fact that there is a dynamic accent as well as H on the first syllable, and might have, at least, doubted whether 'the great-great' or 'the greatest of all' did justice to a word having such an exceptional accentuation, although it might have proved too much for him to arrive at 'the greatest or all-great uN'

    Dohne goes on to say, "This idea is established by the etymology and usage of the language. But tradition says (Dohne, therefore, admits tradition ! - The Author), that unkulunkulu wadabula abantu nezinto zonke eluhlangeni, i. e., the very great one made go or come forth, people and all things out of or from a descent."

    By "this idea" Dohne refers to unkulunkulu being 'the first man' or 'some great original man of a whole nation'. If it be unkulunkulu, he is right in saying that "this idea is established by the etymology and usage of the langu- age." But in quoting the famous traditional phrase, as above, he would have had to prove first that this unkulunkulu, of whom tradition says wadabula abantu (nezinto zonke) eluhlangeni, is one with the preceding 'first man', i. e. unkúlunkúlu, or else with >úNkulunkúlu. Secondly, he should have inquired whether abantu, according to universal native tradition, means 'people' in gene- ral, or else 'the first men'. Thirdly, by choosing the word 'descent' for u-hlanga (wherefrom eluhlangeni), Dohne seems to give to understand that unkulunkulu made come forth people and all things by way of generation (in Zulu uku-zala), and not by that of creation (in Zulu uku-dala), although it is hard to see how unkulunkulu could be supposed to bring forth all t h i n g s by generation. Any native could have told Dohne, had he but asked, that the above traditional phrase contained their traditional idea of the uku-dalwa or (passive) creation' of the unkulunkulu. For the rest it is very easy to put down 'descent' for uhlanga, especially if this suit one's own preconceived idea; 'n reality, however, the true meaning of uhlanga in this particular phrase is extremely difficult to ascertain, as we shall see further on.

    Dohne continues, "And this expression being incorrectly interpreted by foreigners (viz., the very great one created men and all things out of a reed, - or as some, paying no proper attention to the nom. form whether un or urn, understood it, that umkulunkulu, viz. the caddis-worm, had created men and all things out of a single reed), - therefore great confusion has prevailed, and some have been, and are still, fond of taking this name in the sense of God- Almighty."

    Dohne unjustly attributes the 'creating of men and all things out of a reed' to foreigners. As a matter of fact, it was not foreigners, but the natives themselves who, by a popular mistake, have substituted for the un- doubtedly original eluhlangeni or ohlangeni the spurious variant emhlangeni, the nominative of which, viz. umhlanga, signifies 'reed'. He is, likewise, wrong in giving umkulunkulu as the word for 'caddis-worm', as well as in attributing to foreigners the belief that the caddis-worm was the creator of men and all things, who would have created them "out of a single reed"; at least, the writer has never come across any European author giving such an interpretation of the above traditional phrase. Nor have the natives ever done so. As to "con- fusion", in the above extracts from Colenso's "Ten Weeks in Natal" we have met with no confusion on the part of the natives nçr on th$t of Colenso him- self; confusion makes itself felt whereever natives 'give evidence' who themselves have lost the thread of tradition, so that they are no longer abìe to reconcile, or else to distinguish, in their own mind the two words 'ûNkulunkûlu and un- kúlunkulu, the consequence being that, for sheer perplexity, especially when pressed by European inquirers who have not acquired the art of how to elicit genuine information, they will attribute to iinkúlunkúlu what, .of right, in their own tradition belongs to 'úNkulunkúlu, and vice versa. The responsibility for the "confusion" with which Dohne would saddle Colenso and such as adopted his views, because "they have been, and are still, fond of taking this name (úNkulunkúlu) for the name of God", - the responsibility, I say, for the "confusion" rests on writers like Dohne himself and Callaway.

    Then Dohne allows- "That there may be some idea of a being like God at the bottom of this word (for some idea oï that kind is found even with the most degraded savage), we readily admit; but an unprejudiced inquirer will find that none of these savages are aware of it, or use the word in that sense. And where a native is found who attaches some idea of God to the word, he does so, not of himself, but from some influence which Christian Missionaries have already gained over the nation in general."

    So Dohne does admit "that there may be some idea of a being like God at the bottom of this word", after having stated apodictically, "This word refers only to some great original man of a whole nation, like Adam, the first m a n." And as to those "savages" not being "aware of it" or else being but influenced by Christian Missionaries, I refer the reader to the extracts from "Ten Weeks in Natal"; Colenso had to do with sets of "complete heathens", ana with converts. It would be for Dohne to prove that those complete heathens were really influenced, directly or indirectly, by Christian Missionaries. And if the converts, as also the heathen Dingana, concluded that uTixo must be the same as their own üNkulunkúlu, they certainly must have known that which they knew of "úNkulunkúlu, independently of the Missionaries.

    Dohne concludes by saying, "On the contrary, the native or savage idea expressed in the above traditions, is in strict conformity with their spirit and life, materialistic. And it is only a necessary consequence of the grossest materialism that the unkulunkulu has been brought down to a mere fiction, or a fable. An instance of this is seen in the following common trick, which greedy mothers or women play upon their children, when they have prepared a dainty meal and wish to enjoy it alone. For which purpose they send the children away, saying: yiyani nimemele (recte nimemeze) kunkulunkulu anipe zonke izinto ezinhle, i. e.: go and call out to unkulunkulu, that he must give you all nice things. The hungry children do what their mothers say, and are laughed at for their obe- dience. But foreigners who did not sufficiently understand the people and their language, have mistaken this, and believed that these women were in the habit of teaching their children to pray - to the Unkulunkulu, and concluded that there must be a good deal of religious knowledge among them." 

    We have already pointed to the possibility of the practice in question having had once a religious character which later on degenerated into the trick described above (which, according to my information, was by no means universal). But, in tfce first place, it would have to be ascertained whether the children were told to call out to *uNkulunkúlu or to unkulunkulu. But, however that be, Dohne could, and should, have known that it was not this practice alone, nor even chiefly, from which Colenso and others "concluded that there must be a good deal of religious knowledge among them (sc. the natives)."

    I shall not declaim now on the logica1 and psychological aspect of the passage quoted from Dohne, leaving it to the reader to draw . his own conclusions. Regarding its linguistic or philological aspect, Dohne did not know that there were two different words: 'úNkulunkúlu and unkúlu- nkulu, otherwise he would have inserted the two, in which case he very likely would have written something rather different from the above. But even so, he might have been more careful as to scientific truth - also Colenso was not aware of the difference between these two words, and yet he accepted truth as he received it out of the mouth of complete heathens and converts.


    After Dohne, in the order of time, follows Callaway, the author of "The Religious System of the amaZulu" already quoted. The "1st Part: UNKULUNKULU" is devoted entirely to the problem indicated by its name. As far as I can see, this is the chief source from which scientific authors in Europe drew, such as W. Schneider, Le Roy, A. Lang, W. Schmidt S.V.D., C. Meinhof, and (recently) V. Cathrein S.J. Of course, the scientist in Europe depends on books. As a rule, he has no opportunity to check what he finds in them, on the spot, if it refer to things of distant countries. And if it happens that these premises are false, false will be the conclusions drawn from them. So far, no biame can be attached to the scientists themselves. If, in the present instance, they are to blame at all, it might be for having followed but one single author, viz. Callaway, and not made use of the whole literature. But even this may have been no fault of theirs; in which case all that can be said, is that it was a regrettable misfortune that even genuine science has been misled for over half a century with regard to the uNkulunkulu, or unkulunkulwproblem of the Zulus. Nor do I mean to belittle Callaway personally. In the Preface to my re-edition of hjs "UNKULUNKULU" I said:-"To write down, as he did, so many statements from the mouth of natives, to translate them into English, to add lengthy annotations, to install a private Mission Press in the wilds of South Africa, to print the MSS - to do all that, certainly required more than ordinary energy and zeal for the cause of Native Mission work." Nor do I in- tend to deny or depreciate the high value oï his work. A few years ago, I wrote 6;- "In spite of the author's (se. Calla way's) conviction to the contrary, the book contains the most valuable proofs, taken from the very lips of intelligent natives in the middle of last century, to show that uNkulunkulu is t h e name of the true God in Zulu tradition." I might have added that the information he collected from those natives, goes back to at least some 100 years previous to the time of his inquiries (the same applies, of course, also to some statements contained in "Ten Weeks in Natal"); for some of his informants were "very old", they may easily have had the age oï eighty or ninety years (I met many nonagenarians, male and female, among the Zulu-speaking natives; the age of one I knew in 1897, was well beyond 100). And they merely repeated what they had been told by "their old people", parents and grandparents. Thus the uninterrupted chain of tradition, as put down by Calla way, leads us back to about 1750 or 1700 - a time when the Zulu speaking races as a bulk, had no intercourse yet with Europeans.

    But all this does not do away with the "obscuring reasons" enumerated at the beginnig of this treatise, all of which apply to Calla way, some in a less, some in a greater degree. And this is the crucial point of which science in Europe seems not to have been aware.

    No more need be said of Callaway at present, as much will have to be said later on.

    In the order of time, the next to be quoted, is, I believe, again Colenso. In his Zulu-Englisch Dictionary (I quote from the edition of 1884 - the date of the first edition I have not at. hand) he has:- "Nkulunkulu (U), n. Great- Great-One, Supreme Being, traditional Creator of all things, called also umVelingqangi; grub of the dinning fly, which makes a little cylindrical cell, of stalks of grass, &c, like a caddis-worm, and hence is called also uMahambanendhlwana. N.B. The Zulu children used in play to run shouting, one and all together, We Nkulunkulu ! Old men of the present generation have done so; but the practice is discontinued."

    It appears that the conviction gathered in his first ten weeks in Natal, remained unshaken. And so it did to the end, as can also be seen in all his reli- gious Zulu publications, including his Zulu version of the New Testament.


    Finally also a Catholic author must be quoted, the Rev. A. T. Bryant. In his Zulu-English Dixtionary (Mariannhill Mission Press, 1905), he has: - "u-Nkulunkulu, the Great-great-ancestor or ancestral spirit (of man- kind), the first man who is supposed to have made most of the things round about; hence, adopted by Missionaries to express God, Creator." As can be seen from these words, Bryant, on the one hand, sticks to the "Great-Great"- idea of all his predecessors, although he makes of it "Great-great", seemingly in order to indicate that he excludes from uNkulunkulu any and every idea of the Supreme Being, and shows himselfs, at the same time, a partisan of Dohne and Callaway. On the other, he goes beyond them, making of uNkulunkulu the Great-great-ancestral-spirit- a tale which he certainly cannot have been told by any native, an interpretation unwarranted even if uNkulunkulu be taken for unkúlunkúlu - ukúlukúlu, since there is the fact of the natives having never made of him an idhlozi or 'ancestral spirit', a fact amply attested also by Calla way's informants. Besides, no native ever attributes to any 'ancestral spirit' the power of creation or "having made most of the things round about". And this false supposition has, according to Bryant, been the reason why Missionaries adopted this term for God, the Creator !- a false supposition that amounts to a contradictio in terminis of which the natives are innocent. Verily, a man of his wide knowledge of Zulu might have done better, especially in a matter of vital importance to the Cathoilc Missionaries who had followed Colenso in adopting uNkulunkulu : for 'God'. And he (Colenso) had adopted it - not because the natives had told him that uNkulunkulu was "the Great-great- ancestor or ancestral-spirit (of mankind), the first man who is supposed to have made most of the things round about", but - because his native informants were unanimous in telling him that uNkulunkulu was the Creator of men and all things. 

    Strange to say, a Bryant, whose undisputed merit lies in having collected in Zululand itself, and, as a rule, carefully interpreted, such a vast amount of Zulu words, noted in his dictionary neither ukúlukúlu nor its nunnated form unkúlunkúlu, in the sense of 'protoparent', that is, as the last link of relation- ship in the ascending line. That even ukúlukúlu should have escaped him, is the more remarkable as he has set down its diminutive ukúlukulwáne. As to unkúlunkúlu, he mentions it as a common noun, giving it as the Natal word for unkúlukundhléni, and as a proper noun, in the sense of 'The Great-great- ancestor or ancestral-spirit' as above. Of the common noun unkúlunkúlu with the meaning of 'protoparent', 'progenitor of mankind in general, or a people, tribe, clan, in particular' he seems to have known nothing. Again this is the more remarkable as, long before Bryant, Callaway had established this meaning, not only in Natal-Zulu, but also in Zulu proper. Thus, e. g. in his UNKULUNKULU (re-edition p. 48), "Koto Mhlongo, a very old Zulu, one of the Isilangeni (recte: eLangeni) tribe, whose father's sister, uNandi, was the mother of uTshaka" states, "Ngiti mina, unkúlunkúlu, sazi yena ozala uTshaka: uSenzangakona, ozala uTshaka" Callaway's version is, "I say for my part that the unkúlunkúlu whom we know was the father of uTshaka; uSenzangakona was uThsaka's father." The proper rendering, I believe, is, "To my knowledge, as to unkúlunkúlu, we know the one who begat Tshaka, namely Senza- ngakona, him who begat Tshaka." As will appear immediately from Koto Mhlon- go's own words, he used here unkúlunkúlu in an improper sense. A little farther on, the same stated, "UJama kambe, ozala uSenzangakona, uyise waoTshakay uyena ounkulunkulu." Callaway's rendering is, "UJama was the father of uSenzangakona, the father of uTshaka's; it is he who is unkulunkulu" I would render it thus - "Jama who begat Senzangakona, Tshaka's father, is (sc. in this case) the unkulunkulu" Even here unkulunkulu is employed in a wide sense, as will be seen from the following footnote, added by Calla way:- "As the question has been raised whether the natives do not call the First Man, or Being, ukulukulu, and an ancestor unkulunkulu, in order to prevent all misunderstanding, I asked him (sc. Koto Mhlongo) if he was not speaking of ukulukulu. He replied ukulukulu and unkulunkulu is one and the same word; the amaZulu say unkulunkulu, other tribes ukulukulu, but the word is one. I enquired what he meant by unkulunkulu. He answered: - (to save space, I omit the Zulu text which I give in my rendering) "We start from the word ukulu as the one who begets the father, but this one we call (by the simple form) ukulu (grandfather). But there is also an unkulu- nkulu (doubled form), namely the one who is farther back. When using unkulu- nkulUy we do not refer to power (in the sense of greatness), but especially to age. For this (simple) form ukulu does not express that the one referred to, is old by twice, but only by once. But if his house begets again children, these will use the doubled form, and, by going back from their father to that one, will say unkulunkulu, that is, the oldest." The order, as Callaway elicited it from Koto Mhlongò, is:- 

    ubaba my father                                 umarne my mother
    ubaba-mkulu or ukulu                        umame-kulu or ukulu
    ukoko                                               ukoko
    unkulunkulu                                       unkulunkulu.

    Callaway thus concludes his note: - "Ukoko is a general term for An- cestor who preceded the grandfathers. And unkulunkulu is a general term for Ancient Men, who 'were f irsf among tribes, families, or kings." Koto Mhlongo omitted the u(n)kúlu(n)kulwáne as given in our list on p. 660, and by Callaway' s informants at other places (as o. c. re-edition p. 90). Of course, if Callaway had attended to the accentuation, and noted it for us, it would appear that Koto Mhlongo, all the time, was speaking of u(n)kúlu(n)kúlu.

    To come back to our immediate subject, in my own research work, I had ample proof that, as in Koto Mhlongo's time, so also in the present generation of the pure Zulus, both ukulukulu and unkulunkulu are still quite alive. Wherefore it remains a puzzle how they could escape Bryant's notice. Had they not, in all likelihood, he would have been struck by the difference between 'úNkulunkulu and unkulunkulu, since, in other cases, he has carefully noted the different accentuation in seemingly identical words, and, in some cases, even the difference of musical tone.

    This, then, is the status quaestionis as far as the South African authors, or, to be precise, the Zuluists, of note are concerned - Colenso, Dohne, Callaway, Bryant.

    Now we must turn to the scientists in Europe. As far as I have been able to ascertain they have two things in common- one being that none of them quotes Colenso, and the other that none of them went beyond Callaway. For the present purpose, it will suffice to adduce the views of some of them, based on conclusions drawn, in the main, from Callaway.


    No other, perhaps, among them has given expression to the feeling of being baffled by the unkulunkulu-problem in more simple and, therefore, striking language than W. Schneider (Die Religion der afrikanischen Natur- völker, Münster i. W. 1801), who writes (p. 65; this and the following pass- ages in my translation): "Evidently, in the course of time, Unkuïunkulu has been distorted into a grotesque being, full of contradictions. He is the Creator of all things, and, at the same time, a creature himself, the father (?, recte: Creator, Maker) of the First Man, and, at the same time, the First Man him- self." No doubt, had he had the key to the problem, that is, had he known of the difference between úNkulunkúlu and unkulunkulu, he would have had no difficulty in substantiating his final verdict on the religion of the Zulus, which clearly is in their favour.

    On p. 62 he has: "The U'nkulunkulu (sic) of the Zulus is the greatest of the Ama-hlozi (recte ama-dhlozi), as the souls of the dead are called by them, or the Adam of the Zulus." Let us first, in passing, rectify a little inexactitude: the 'souls' of the dead, as such, the Zulu calls umoya 'spirit', umpefumulo 'soul', and when speaking quite idiomatically, isithunzi 'shadow'. Such they are so long as, after death, they are 'roaming about' in the open, especially on some mountain. And when do they become amadhlozi? When their blood-relations 'bring them back' to their kraal or family by the uku-buyisa-sacriiict, that is, the first sacrifice offered up in their honour, not before. Now as to Schneider's statement itself, in this generality it is un- tenable. For not the úNkulunkúluy but the unkúlunkúlu of the Zulus is the oldest (kulu here = old), that is, the first in the long line of the amadhlozi, taking the latter in a wide sense; for if it be taken in its strict sense, the un- kúlunkálu of the Zulus has never become an idhlozi, because his spirit was never 'brought back' by any such sacrifice às indicated above. The unku- lunkulu of the Zulus, with reference to mankind in general, is undoubtedly Adam, the First Man. But Adam belongs to the pre- pagan time, when, amadhlozi-worship being yet unknown, no one's spirit was 'brought back' by any kind of sacrifice, sacrifice, in those times, having been, as we may fairly suppose, addressed to 'úNkulunkúlu alone. This is why, in conversing with the natives on the subject, one finds that in their minds Adam does not figure as an idhlozi. The same was stated by Mpengula repeatedly (as p. 20, 70) in Callaway's days.

    Again p. 62, Schneider has: "Itongo is the singular of Ama-tongo, who occupy a higher rank (sc. than the amadhlozi) in the spirit world." As a matter of fact, in actual native speech and thought, itongo and idhlozi are one and the same, without any distinction of rank.

    On p. 69, he writes: "If we ask after the relation between Inkosi (sc. inKosi epezulu) and Itongo, by which name the Supreme Being is known to the Swazis and other tribes related to the Zulus, Itongo seems to us to signify  the Deity as such, that is, Divine power and providence, while Inkosi refers to the Deity in Its concrete form or the form in which It reveals itself." First of all, as a rule, itongo is not used of the true God, and if it is, as sometimes in the phrase iTongo elikulu 'the great iTongo9, it is done so, possibly but by analogy to the amatongo or amadhlozi. Secondly, there may be a possibility of its having originally meant the true God, not, however, under the special aspect of power and providence, but as the inspiring agency, as the One who revealed Himself in dreams; for ubu-tongo, which is the ubu-form of i-tongo, signifies 'sleep'. In this supposition, the name iTongo of the true God would have been transferred to the amadhlozi, when paganism began to invest the latter with the power of 'inspiration by means of dreams'.

    After having referred to the mixing up of the Creator with the first man created by Him, Schneider continues- "This confusion had, according to the legendary tales, the following origin. Utixo (God), as Callaway was in- formed by Coast-Kafirs (recte: by a Xosa), was concealed by Unkulunkulu, and therefore cannot be seen by anyone, while Unkulunkulu could be seen, and was called God, Creator of all things. This was said because it was not known who had created Unkulunkulu. A scripturalist might be tempted to perceive in the exalting of the human father of all mankind at the expense of the Divine a vague reminiscence of the First Man, raised by grace to God- likeness, having refused to his Lord the adoration due to Him, because striving after equality with Him : "concealed" God, that is, he would not recognise Him, wanting to be His equal. And in order to punish man for this ingratitude, God retired from man, hiding His face behind the material world, as behind a curtain."

    Unfortunately the foregoing is "built on sand", being based upon a wrong translation of the Zulu text Callaway. In re-editing his UNKULUNKULU, I alas ! overlooked this mistake. The respective passage (re- edition p. 64) begins with a reference to the custom of throwing, in passing- a stone on the izi-vivane (stone heaps) while saying "Generations of unkulunkulu" Questioned which unkulunkulu (sc. whether God or the protoparent) was referred to in this phrase, the informant, a Xosa of the name of Langeni, said : -

    Etsho umuntu wokuqala kubo bonke abantu, owavezwa uTixo ku- qala. Kepa abantu bambona. UTixo w asita kunkulunkulu, kabonwanga umuntu; abantu babona yena unku- lunkulu, bati umenzi wako konke, umvelingqangi, betsho ngokuba lowo owenza unkulunkulu bengambona- nga. Bati-ke, (ng)uyena uTixo. Yiloko, esikwaziyo ngonkulunkulu.

    Callaway's version.

    He (sc. who says "Generations of unkulunkulu") means the first man before all other men, who was created by uTixo first. And men saw him. UTixo was concealed by unkulunkulu, and was seen by no one; men saw unkulunkulu, and said he was the creator of all things, umvelingqangi; they said thus because they did not see Him who made unkulunkulu. And so they said unkulunkulu was God. This is what I know about unkulunkulu.

    My version: - "He means the first man of all, the one who was brought forth by God (uTixo) first. Him people could see. God (uTixo) (screened Himself up, that is) was  invisib1e to the protoparent (unkulunkulu),  He was not seen by the (first) man (if Langeni actually used umuntu, as in the text) 9 or (if it was muntu) He was seen by no one; the people saw him, the protoparent (unkulunkulu), and (therefore) said he was the maker (um-enzi; umEnzi is a God-name) of all things, the "one-who-was-before-I-was" (um- velingqangi; umVelingqangi is also a God-name), and they said so because they had not seen Him who had made the protoparent (unkulunkulu). Therefore they said he (sc. unkulunkulu) is God (uTixo). This is what we (not "I") know of unkulunkulu"

    On the meaning of uku-sita there is not the least uncertainty; thus, for instance, the sun, when 'screened' by a cloud, is 'invisible'. Again wasita kunkulunkulu is not 'he was concealed by the protoparent', but 'he was invisible to the . . .' The passage in question, therefore, is not a "legendary tale", as Schneider supposed, of God having been concealed by Adam, but an argu- ment of Langeni's, based upon the invisibility of God and the visibility of Adam.

    On p. 63 Schneider has: "The Xosas now use the terms Umdali (umDali) Creator, and Umenzi (umEnzi) Maker, introduced by the missio- naries." I much doubt wheter these terms were introduced by the missionaries. Among the Zulus, both umDali and umEnzi are traditional God-names. Considering that the Xosas are the next sister, if not daughter-nation to the Zulus, the probalitiy stands in favour of these names having been traditional also among the Xosas. And in fact, Callaway has in a footnote- "Shaw also remarks: - Before Missionaries and other Europeans had intercourse with the Kafirs (= Xosas), they seem to have had extremly vague and indistinct notions concerning the existence of God. The older Kafirs used to speak of umDali, theCreator or Maker of all things..."

    On the same page, Schneider writes: "Like the Zulus, the Xosas also call' the first man unkulunkulu, and endow him with even a higher position than the Hottentots their Heitsi-Eibib. Erroneously he is taken by some in- vestigators for God." The error, in my opinion, is not on the side of those investigators; for the Xosas have, besides uQamata, also uNkulunkulu as one of their traditional God-names, their respective tradition being substantially identical with that of the Zulus.

    On p. 65, Schneider holds that "without doubt, Unkulunkulu signified originally the first man." Distinguoo speak with the school): if - 'úNu- lunkúlu, nego; if = unkúlunkulu, concedo, but in this case "originally" is out of place.

    On p. 64, he has: "In a tale, related by Bleek, God (Unkulunkulu) rose from below, in Zulu belief the seat of the spirit world (in the sense of departed souls of men only - The Author), and created in the beginning (ohlangeni) men, animals, and everything (ohlangeni, whatever else it may mean, is not 'in the beginning' - The Author). From Call aw ay's "Religious System of the Amazulu", however, the first part of which is entitled "Unku- lunkulu", one does not receive the impression that the bearer of this name possesses Divine dignity and substance. True, he is more than an ordinary man. He is, in accordance with his name "The Great-Great" (recte: The Old- Old- The Author), the great-grandfather or primogenitor, and, at that, the apotheosised primogenitor, transfigured into a demi-god, who, in the tales on creation and the original state of things, figures as demiurge, mediating between God and men. As a clear distinction is not always made between the human father of all, the medium through which life is passed on, on one hand, and the Divine father of all, the cause from which life sprang, on the other, Unkulunkulu figures now as Adam, now as the God of paradise: the father of all mankind, who, as the first child of God, has received life immediately, and therefore in abundance, from the first source, shines in unique likeness unto God." This was, under the circumstances, the best interpretation a European savant who had in him something, it seems, of a poet, could put upon the perplexing confusion reigning in Callaway's book. But its scientific value is nil, considering that, in native view, unkulunkulu does not figure as as demigod nor as demiurge, and so on - native tradition seen trough European spectacles, and clad in scientific Aryan language. 

    We shall return, indirectly at any rate, to other points of Schneider's in the sequel. He concludes his chapter on the Zulus thus- "The religion of the Zulus as well as the Kafirs in general, seems to have seen better times. No doubt, to this people, which bears the name of heaven, heaven was once the seat and the visible appearance of God invisible. Also among the younger generations this notion is still alive, although withal they do not worship heaven nor the stars." No one I dare say will deny that the religion of the Zulus has seen better times. Schneider is also right in saying that, in Zulu tradition, heaven is the seat of God. But he goes too far in saying that heaven was, and is, to them the visible appearance of God invisible. There is no such idea to be found with the Zulu speaking native. Another mistake he shares with many writers, South African not excepted, connecting, as he does, the name 'Zulu' with heaven by saying that the Zulus bear its name. The facts are about as follows.

    A popular saying, still current even in the royal Zulu family, has it that "UZulu ngokuzula", i. e., "The name uZulu came from uku-zula 'roaming about ". Of course, this is a popular error, contradicted by Zulu etymology. The Zulus are named right enough after i-zulu. Now, i-zulu means 1. sky, 2. heaven, 3. thunderstorm, and therefore also 4. lightning, the proper words for 'lightning', viz. u-bane and u-nyazi, being avoided (uku-zila 'taboo') for superstitious fear of uku-hlolela, i. e., "to bring down an evil' by pronouncing its proper name. How, then, was it that the old namç of the Zulus, viz. um- Nguni, pl abaNguni, elsewhere still quite alive as waNgoni or aNgoni, was superseded by their present name? Answer: in accordance with a general custom by which the personal name (i-gama, i-bizo) of an ancestor may turn into that of a clan, tribe, or people (isi-zalo, isi-bongo). The twelfth ancestor of the present 'should-be' Zulu king, of the name Nkayitshana, had for his personal name uZulu. History gives no positive answer as to why he was called thus, but its negative answer that it had nothing to do with either 'sky' or 'heaven', leads us, by way of exclusion, to the conclusion that it was due to either a 'thunderstorm' or 'lightning'. It is quite a common custom among the Zulus and other Ntu peoples, to name a child after something that happened at or about the time of its birth. It may have been, therefore, that at the time when the prince in question came into this world, a thunderstorm was going on, or that lightning struck in dangerous neighbourhood, or that a famous case of 'smelling-out' (uku-nuka) was gone through at or about that time, to find out the sourcerer or witch guilty of having brought down a thunderstorm (hail) or lightning. In fine, we do not know the particular reason, but one thing is certain, viz. that the prince in question was not a Mr. Sky nor a Mr. Heaven, but either Mr. Thunderstorm or Mr. Lightning. Therefore the abakwaZulu or amaZulu are not the Sky, or Heaven-people, but the Thunderstorm, or Lightning-people.

    If so, someone might object, what of phrases like "Izulu elako, nkosi", i. e., "The heaven is thine, O king!"? Such as are conversant with Ntu mentality will know the answer before I put it down: it is the outcome of hyperbolism so much in vogue among the Zulus as well as the Ntus in general. Once this hyperbolism nearly cost the present writer his life. I had to cross a river; the question was whether I had to do so on a pont or could risk it on horseback. I asked a native, á man of about fifty years, who came from the direction of the river, whether it went very high. His answer was, Amanzi atshile nya nya nya, equivalent to "The river is as dry as sand." By this I understood him to mean that the river had subsided enough to be fordable. But my horse, upon entering, had scarcely made two steps, when it sank saddle- deep into the roaring water. All, then, that my hyperbolic informant had meant, was that in comparison with the height the river had reached on the previous day, it had subsided a little.- To come back to our immediate subject, the name uZulu once given, lends itself too nicely to the native imbongi or 'court- poet' than that he should not make use of it for a hyperbole so flattering to a royal ear. But- and this is of decisive importance- no Zulu and no Zulu-speaking native has ever identified the Zulu king with 'úNkulunkúlu or the inKosi epe- zulù, and this in spite of their innate idea of the king representing all that is might and power. Although, therefore, Schneider is right in saying that "the religion of the Zulus has seen better times", their name amaZulu, dating back but to a few centuries, has nothing to do with their immemorial religious traditions.

    Le Roy.

    Another author of name dealing with the Zulu notion of God, is Msgr. Le Roy. In his well-known book „La Religion des Peuples primitifs" (Paris 1908) he refers to the Zulu God-name "Nkulu-Nkulu", as he gives it, and to their religious conceptions more than once.

    First a word on his way of writing the God-name in question. With two exceptions (once "Umkulumkulu" and once "Unkulunkulu") he writes Nkulu- Nkulu, evidently adopted from Ch. Sacleux. It is a typical instance of how far even a linguistically well trained man, like Sacleux, may be led astray, if the place of positive knowledge is taken by some alluring theory. The initial u of 'úNkulunkúlu being shorn off, the syllabic accent and the musical tone resting on the first syllable of the word as it actually figures in Zulu, are missing. Anyone presented with Nkulu-Nkulu, will read Nkúlu-Nkúlu,- Initial u once dropped, the mere duplication nkulu-nkulu suggests itself quite naturally to a construing mind, and has been put into special relief by ad- orning the second part with a capital: Nkulu-Nkulu. If this were the true form, its bare stem would be, of course, nkulu, or nunnated kaluy whereas the true stem of uNkulunkulu is uN plus doubled kulu. - Finally, if Nkúlu- Nkúlu were the right form, no linguistic difference between Nkulu-Nkulu 'God' and nkulu-nkulu 'man' could be divined.

    The form Umkulumkulu either is due to bad hearing, or else represents another European construction. At any rate, no Zulu will ever pronounce uMkulumkulu.

    On p. 188 7 Le Roy translates his Nkulu-Nkulu with (in my rendering) "the Gread God (the Very High)", and in the list of Ntu God-names at the end of the book, with "God, lit. the Very High", none of which translations fits Nkulu-Nkulu. For, if refering to God, it would be 'the double Great' or 'Greatest', and if referring to man, 'the double old' or 'oldest'.

    In summing up the native idea of muLungu (o. c. p. 200), Le Roy lets us know what he himself thinks of the Zulu notion of God. He says (in my translation), *'What, then, is He? Ignoramus. He exists, He lives, He does what He is pleased to do, He is incomprehensible, He surpasses our intellect, He is Mulungu (recte muLungu) . . . However, logic being not the strong point with our blacks, they, unhesitatingly, attribute to this great muLungu our good and bad inclinations, our ideas, our cares, our jealousy, our disappointments. In complete inconsequence, they will speak of the supreme might of God and, in the same breath, of the embarrassments in which He finds Himself under given circumstances, of His forgetfulness, of His outbreaks of wrath, &c. In this way"- this is what specially interests us here- "according to Dr. Callway (recte Callaway), quoted by A. Lang, among the Zulus Unkulunkulu which in the past seems to have denoted 'God', has been confounded, in the course of time, with the concept of the first man. But strange to say, this first man- Unkulunkulu- is "he who has made the rain, the corn, the food". And what did the natives do when this word, at a certain time, no longer con- veyed the distinct idea of the Supreme Being? They took another word that would admit of no confusion; and now 'God' is to them Utilexo (apparently misspelt uTixo), a word borrowed from a neighbouring tribe."

    To begin with the end - my readers know already that it was not the Zulu speaking natives who took over uTixo from the neighbouring Xosas, or rather from the Laus (Hottentots), but the missionaries who imported it thence. This being so, it appears also that they could not, and did not, adopt the name for the reason assigned by Le Roy. 

    All the same, Le Roy did come nearer the truth than any of the other authors (Schneider, Lang, Schmidt, Cathrein) - I believe it is the 'Missionnaire ancien', the observant student of Ntu mentality on the. spot, that asserts himself, as against the mere scientist in Europe. True, he follows Callaway, for want of other sources. He relates, like the rest, that the name Unkulunkulu was identical with that of the first man. But, at the same time, differently from all the others, he, intuitively (I believe), grasps at once the underlying truth. For ( 1 ) he admits that Unkulunkulu seems to have originally signified 'God', adding in a footnote "This conviction was arrived at by compar- ing this word with the identical terms of the neighbouring tribes, among whom they are but intended to distinguish the Supreme Being", and (2) he points to the objective impossibility of "the first man - Unkulunkulu" having made the rain, the corn, &c.


    Considering that Andrew Lang published the first edition of "The Making of Religion" in 1898, he should have taken precedence of Le Roy, but I am quoting from the third edition, published in '1909. He says (p. 207), "The Zulus are the great standing type of an animistic or ghost-worshipping race without a God." lì he had had the material laid down in these pages before him, he, no doubt, would not have made of the Zulus "an animistic race without a God". Nor would he have put the following in the form of a query (showing, for the rest, his acumen as well as his common sense), viz. "But, had they a God (on the Australian pattern) whom they have forgotten, or have they not yet evolved a God out of Animism?"; he would have said, in the form of a statement, They have a God, on a par with the Darumulun of the Australians, the Puluga of the Andamanese, &c, whom they have not entirely forgotten, although they have evolved Animism alongside of Theism'. In the same way, his further deduction (I. c.) would have been different from what it is; he would have put it in some way like this: 'Although both the an- thropological theory (spirits first, God last) and our theory (Supreme Being first, spirits next) can find warrant i n Dr. Callaway's valuable col- lections, they don't in actual Zulu tradition'. And in his final conclusion (p. 209) "... it certainly seems as logical to conjecture that the Zulus had once such an idea of a Supreme Being as lower races entertain, as to say that the Zulus have not yet devolved a King-God out of the throng of spirits (Amantongo)", he would have deleted "seems" and "conjecture" from the first part, and suppressed the second altogether.


    W. Schmidt, in his "Der Ursprung der Gottesidee" (Münster i. W. 1912) credits the South East Ntu with but little knowledge of God. After dealing with the North West, West, and the central part of Ntuland, he comes to the East and South East, and says (p. 139, in my translation) :- "In all the rest of Ntuland the state of things is different. The God-name is a collective name, used simultaneously either for spirits in general or especially for the ancestral spirits. The notion no less than the worship of the Supreme Being evanesces more and more ... In the extreme South East of this part, the whole evolution reaches its climax, since among the Kafirs Unkulunkulu, and among the Herero Mokuru, which both originally signify the proto-ancestor, merge with the Supreme Being into an indistinct compound." 

    As far as the Zulus are concerned, "the God-name- Schmidt evidently had unkulunkulu in his mind - is." not "a collective name, used simultaneously either for spirits in general or especially for the ancestral spirits."

    This may be the place to deal with an error common to most, if not all of the authors who have occupied themselves with the unkulunkulu-problem. To them, unkulunkulu, also when not referring to the Supreme Being, is a spirit, or, to be quite exact, they speak of him indiscriminately as 'ancestor' and «'ancestral spirit'. With the Zulu and Zulu-speaking Ntu it is not so.

    Leaving aside for the moment the 'ancestral spirit', and speaking of the "spirits in general", the Zulus know of no other spirits besides those of their dead blood-relations, that is, the amadhlozi or amatongo. True, they believe in some beings whom they call by other names, such as the imi-kovu and imi-lozi. But the former are no spirits, being, in native belief, dead people raised to life again by magic. The latter are spirits, but they are only a species of amadhlozi, acting as 'familiars of a certain class of diviners. This being so, with the Zulus unkulunkulu is not a collective name for "spirits in general".

    Now, as to the spirits of the dead, when once "brought back" by means of the ukubuyisa-sacrifice (see p. 676), they figure to the native not as unkulunkulu or rather onkulunkulu, but as amadhlozi or amatongo. Therefore even unkulunkulu, as such in the native mind, has nothing to do with ance- stral spirits. Why? Because, as such, it is nothing more nor less than the term, as ubaba father, ukulu grand-parent, ukoko great-grandparent, &c. In using the word unkulunkulu, the native thinks, in the first place, of a man or woman of flesh and bone, who lived at such and such a time, with whom he is related in a far-off degree. Accidentally, the unkulunkulu may be also an idhlozi, in the same way as also ubaba, ukulu, ukoko, &c, but not oif necessity. Thus we have already seen (p. 660) that unkulunkulu in the sense of Adam is not worshipped, and therefore not thought of, as an idhlozi; Callaway's informants were quite definite on this point, and the same information could be had from any of the present-day natives. Again, if it happens that the father of a native, having been killed by lightning, or for some other reason, is not "brought back", his son will not think of him as an idhlozi or ancestral spirit. He is his father, wherefore he calls him ubaba; but he is not an "ancestral spirit" to him, and he will not refer to him as idhlozi. So also the protoparent of all mankind, or, for that, the protoparent of his own tribe, if not actually worshipped, is his remotest ancestor whom he calls unkulunkulu, but he is not an "ancestral spirit" to him, he does not figure as an idhlozi to his mind To sum up- to the native, unkulunkulu, even when referring to the protoparent of all mankind, is nothing but a term of blood-relationship, which, as such, has nothing to do with "spirits in general" nor with "ancestral spirits".  And actually, as stated already twice, he is not worshipped nor thought of as an idhlozi

    Schmidt, in treating of Mulungu (recte, as I think: muLungu) as one of the Ntu God-names (o. c. p. 140), comes to the conclusion "that originally it can have meant nothing but 'spirit' in general, and, in particular, 'ancestral spirit'. Then he continues:- "Herewith agrees the fact of umlungu meaning in Kafir 'European': as among so many other primitive peoples, so also here the first pale-faced Europeans were considered as 'revenants', as ancestors come back."

    As to muLungu 'God' meaning originally 'spirit' in general, and particularly 'ancestral spirit', all I can say, is that I have nowhere found it proved. Further, concerning the philological identity of muLungu 'God' and its variants, with um-lungu 'European' and its variants, I have, so far, come across no author who would have noted the musical tones on the respective syllables. Finally, regarding the identity of these two names in the mind of the several Ntu peoples, I have my doubts. At least, the Kafirs proper (Xosas) and the Zulus are not conscious of any such identity. In their mind, the umlungu 'whiteman' does not figure as 'úNkulunkúlu = umLungu 'God* of other Nta peoples, nor even as unkúlunkúlu. To them the Whiteman is no 'revenant', no 'ancestor come back'. On the contrary, they are quite explicit in their traditional tales as to the, on the one hand, common origin of the white and black from one and the same uhlanga, while, on the other, they give the white people white protoparents, or at least a white mother, and black to the black (the same belief existed also in Callaway's days, re-editon, p. 38). Should it be proved one day that the two words in question are really one, it would appear that the Zulus (and Xosas) borrowed the name umlungu without being conscious of its identity with the muLungu of other Ntu peoples.

    On the same page, Schmidt has: "Next to these territories (sc. those where Morimo (moRimo), with its variants, obtains) comes, to the North West, that of the Hereros, and, to the South East, that of the Kafirs, in both of which, as already stated, the process of pushing the Supreme Being to the background, in favour of the proto-ancestor come to the fore, has reached its climax." I cannot vouch for the Hereros. But, as to the Zulus, even at this stage of our study, we may say confidently that among them there was no less traditional knowledge of the Supreme Being than among mofct of the other Ntu peoples. In proof of this, I may refer the reader to the extracts from "Ten weeks in Natal". If, after (and contra) Colenso, others have had the misfortune to be misled by a baneful confusion of two totally different words, if, for this and other reasons, they were no longer able to unearth all that there was of genuine Zulu tradition on the Supreme Being, or to unravel what they actually were told by the natives, if, finally, they were unfortunate enough to have had for the greater part of their informants, natives who were no longer in conscious possession of genuine tradition (Colenso also mentions one such), all this cannot do away with the fact that, before 1839, the Zulu king Dingana identified at once (p. 666) the uTixo of Gardiner's with the Zulu 'úNkulunkúlu, nor with the further of Colenso, in the middle of last century, having met, at places geographically widely distant, with Zulus and other Zulu-speaking natives, who unhesitatingly declared their traditional 'úNkulunkúlu to be "the Creator of men, animals, and everything". Even if we shall have to allow - as we shall have to - that there was a goodly number of natives who themselves confounded 'úNkulunkúlu and unkulunkúlu, this does not impair the testimoy of those who did not. And who knows how many of the former were but confused by the constant mixing up of these two words, as pronounced by their inquirers, not to speak of all the other "obscuring causes"?

    In the passage last but one of this chapter (o. c. p. 141), Schmidt writes: "By thus showing up in one comprising view the mutual connection of the entire Bantufield in general, and with Upper Guinea in particular, two things become patent, viz. the priority of the higher monotheistic notion of God, and its gradual evanescing in consequence of the ever growing ancester-worship. And this development stands to reason, if we take into account that it increases in centrifugal direction: the farther the tribes pushed on, having to conquer ever new territories in constant warfare, the more the person of prominent leaders must gain in authority and influence, in their lifetime as well as after it, and thus the ancestor-worship especially of the chiefs could not but increase. A fine proof of the correctness of this line of thought lies in the fact that, in the extreme South East, from among the Kafirs (recte: Zulus) arose such grand leaders, surpassing all the rest, who allowed themselves to be addressed, in their own lifetime, with the same word 'Heaven' which, in the extreme North West, the original starting point of the whole Bantu migrations (?), was reserved exclusively to the Supreme Being."

    The present writer is not the only one who does not believe in the North West as the starting point oï theNtus in their migrations within Africa. But apart from this, Schmidt, as also many others, evidently is labouring under a false conception of 'ancestor-worship'.

    In the first place, the term 'ancestor-worship' itself, although in universal use, is wrong and misleading when applied to the Ntus. It should be 'worship oï dead blood-relations'. This expression corrects automatically two wide- spread errors. The first is implied by the word 'ancestor'. As a matter of fact, a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, even a child, that died only say a year, or even only a few days or weeks ago (this in the case of the idhlozi-snake or other idhlozi-animal showing itself soon after death), may become an idhlozi. There is no need to say expressly that none of these is an a n e e s t o r or an ancestral spirit, and yet all of them, with the ukubuyisa-sacrifice are full-fledged amadhlozi. The second error presupposes that a former member of an a 1 i e n family, clan, or tribe, could figure as an idhlozi, or the idhlozi, of a given family, clan, or tribe, a thing utterly impossible in the native view. Why? Because he or she would not be a blood-relation. Each family (kraal, umu-zi) worships its own dead, recent and ancient (as far as they may be remembered), and no other. Therefore it would be preposterous for a native who does not belong to the royal Zulu family, to be expected to offer up sacrifice to the ancient Zulu king Zulu, or to any of those "grand" Zulu "leaders", as e. g. Tshaka. No such native will ever think of calling upon, or praying to, them, whereas, at any given occasion, he will call upon, and pray to, his own amadhlozi.

    In other words, even such a mighty dusky Napoleon as Tshaka, never became any kind of a national 'god' or 'demi-god' to be worshipped by the whole Zulu nation. On the contrary, even within the Zulus proper, as soon as a number of them, in accordance with the dabuka-custom, have become a clan of their own, they will, as a rule, no longer mention their Zulu ancestors beyond about the fifth degree, among the amadhlozi at their sacrifices. Those then, who do worship those grand Zulu leaders, are only the members of the royal family in its narrow sense. If the nyatelisa-sacrifice, formerly performed annually by the Zulu king at the graves of his predecessors, had something of a national character, it was not because the former Zulu kings had become in some way deities to the whole nation, but because the king was not to go alone, all his nobles and officials and the kraalheads of importance having to accompany him, as they had to, according to etiquette, at any other occasion.

    The whole argument, therefore, based by Schmidt on the authority and influence of prominent leaders, and the supposed worship accorded to them after death, falls to pieces. The position of the Zulu kings, in life and after death, had to do nothing at all with pushing the Supreme Being into the background; on the contrary, from personal intercourse with members of the royal Zulu family, I came to the conclusion that it was this family where the tradition relating to the Supreme Being was kept alive with greater purity and tenacity than elsewhere.

    Finally we come to the last part of Schmidt's argument, based upon the fact that the Zulu kings were addressed, in their lifetime, with Zulu. That they should have allowed this, seems to be, in Schmidt's view, about, the same as what Nabuchodonosor did by erecting a statue of his own person, and ordering people to adore it in his own lifetime. In reality, the custom of addressing the Zulu kings as Zulu was something very innocent. First of all, as already explained (p. 679), Zulu, in this case, is not 'Heaven' but Thunderstorm1 or 'Lightning'. But even if it meant 'Heaven', it would involve no sort of apotheosis. For, secondly, the only true reason why the Zulu kings and all the members of the royal family, were, and are, addressed as Zulu, is a general native custom according to which, in politely addressing any adult native, one uses not his personal name, but that of his family, clan, or tribe, or else such names as are known as izi-takazelo. Thus, for instance, a member of the Kanyile tribe of the name uSikukuku, will not be addressed as Sikukuku, but either as Kanyile, or Ngwana, the isithakazelo of the Kanyile tribe. In the very same way, then, any member of the Zulu tribe proper, that is, the royal family, is addressed by its tribal or family name Zulu, or else by some of its izithakazelo, as e. g. Ndabezitha. Besides this way of addressing membres of the royal family, including the king himself, which does not constitute any special privilege, there is another which is reserved to them alone, a royal prerogative, and that is, curiously to say, to address them as mNtwana which literally means 'Child', and is the equivalent .of our European 'Royal Highness', 'Prince', 'Princess' (cf. Spanish "Infante").
    Thus, then, it appears that "the pushing back of the Supreme Being into the background in the extreme South East of the Bantufield" - as far as it took place - was due neither to "the ever increasing ancestor-worship of prominent (Zulu) leaders" nor to their being addressed by the word Zulu.
    On the contrary, if the natives of Upper Guinea speak oí the Supreme Being as Onyang-kompong, 'Heaven', 'Sky', 'Rain', 'Thunder' + pong 'great', meaning thereby 'The one, all-high God, the Creator cf all things' (o. c. p. 137), we shall see ere long, that the word ' úNkulunkúlu, used in the extreme South East of the Ntufield by the Zulus, in preference to other names, for the Supreme Being, is practically identical with that of the extreme North West, meaning, as it does, 'the all-great Un', that is, 'the all-great God in heaven'. (To be continued.)


    * For the careful revision of the manuscript I have to thank the Rev. Dom Columba Stenson, O. S. B., Caldey Abbey. ** In order to be able to distinguish between dynamic or rhythmic accent and musical high tone, we use for the former the usual ', and for the latter * (for typographical reasons). 1 stands for musical low tone, and therefore has nothing to do with dynamic accent.

    1 "The traditional Zulu names of God", The Catholic Magazine for S. Africa, Cape Town, 1919, p. 177.
    2 "Ten Weeks in Natal." 
    3 Cape Town- London 1870.
    4 H. Callaway: The Religious System of the Amazulu. IPart.: uNkulunkulu, re- edited, Mariannhill, 1913,p.3.
    5."The Making of Religion", 3Id ed., p. 207. 
    6 "The traditional Zulu Names of God", 1. c. p. 179.
    7 "Die Religion der Naturvölker", übersetzt von G. Klerlein, 2. Aufl. 1911.

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