In the Nguni languages, literally ‘they are not ridden’: negative prefix a- + -zi- they + -khwel- mount, ride + passive suffix -wa.
‘We won’t ride’, during the 1950s, a rallying cry used by black commuters boycotting bus services in protest at high tariffs.
1956New Age 5 July 1Evaton’s 11 months of struggle against increased bus fares has been closer to a little war than a boycott. Its 58,000 residents..have faced assaults, attacks on their homes, arrests, provocation and threats, but the cry ‘Azikwelwa’ (Don’t ride — don’t get on) has held together the longest and most complete boycott ever.
1957Drum Mar. 24Azikhwelwa! For all its fierce passion and aggressive power, this slogan of the bus boycott in Johannesburg and Pretoria is in the Passive Voice. No one uses the Active Voice forms of ‘Ningazikhweli!’ (Don’t board them) and ‘Angizikhweli!’ (I don’t board them).
a1978K.M.C. Motsisi inM. MutloatseCasey & Co. (1978) 81‘Azikhwelwa!’ she shouted. ‘We won’t board the buses,’ she interpreted for herself. Just like at the meetings.
1980J. Matthews inM. MutloatseForced Landing 35Their cry was, ‘Burn the buses!’ Then there were those few who whispered, ‘Accept the terms.’ But there were also the many who defiantly said ‘Azikwelwa! We will not ride!’
1981E. WeinbergPortrait of a People 166It was decided to boycott the buses. ‘Azikwelwa’ (they shall not be ridden!) became the cry all along the Witwatersrand, in Alexandra, Sophiatown and Randfontein, and in Pretoria as well.
1989R. Finlayson Changing Face of isiXhosa. (Unpubl. thesis, Unisa) 6Azikhwelwa they are not being boarded i.e. buses, now means ‘boycott’ or ‘strike’.
1994Grocott’s Mail 2 Sept. 8The boycott was called when Putco increased bus fares by a penny. For three months the residents said ‘Azikwelwa!’ (we will not ride) and walked the ten miles to work until fares were lowered again.
Unfortunately you are using a browser that is either outdated or not supported.
To view the content of dsae.co.za with full functionality, please use the latest version of one of the browsers hyperlinked below.