isibongo, noun

Forms:
esebongo, isibongaShow more Also esebongo, isibonga, sibonga, sibongo, and with initial capital.
Plurals:
usually izibongo; occasionally isibongos, izibongi, izimbongi, izimbongo.
Origin:
Xhosa, ZuluShow more Xhosa and Zulu. In these languages, the singular form isibongo is used only with reference to a clan name or praise name; the plural form izibongo is used of clan names, but also of a praise poem, which is made up of numerous praises.
1. A clan name, praise name, or surname used among Xhosa- and Zulu-speakers. Also attributive. See also bonga-name (bonga verb sense 2).
Note:
In this sense, forms in izi- always represent the plural.
Note:
The ‘isibongo’ name usually constitutes the first word or words of a praise poem (see sense 2 below).
1857 J. Shooter Kafirs of Natal 220The other name is called isi-bonga — a noun formed from uku-bonga to praise. This is an honorary name, borne in addition to the i-gama, and independently of it.
1993 K. Makaka InformantMy first name is Kasiya, my father’s name is Henry, my grandfather’s names are Chitamba and Makaka and his ‘Isibongo’ is Banda. I prefer to drop the ‘Isibongo’ because it belongs to millions [of] other people and because..I should get my ‘Isibongo’ from my maternal grandmother.
2. Frequently plural (sometimes with a singular construction). A collection of praises together constituting a praise poem; praise poetry; imbongi sense 2. Also attributive. See also bonga noun.
Note:
As oral poetry, izibongo are considered one of the principal art-forms of the Zulu- and Xhosa-speaking peoples. The term is now also applied to printed poems written in the style of traditional izibongo, including some in English.
1903 Ilanga 9 Oct. 4The Izibongo, or ‘praises’, in which the deeds of ancestors and great men are recited, were..valuable storehouses of historic fact.
1988 A. Sitas in Bunn & Taylor From S. Afr. 278After hearing Qabula perform his izimbongo of Fosatu, he realized that one did not need to be somebody from the university to write poetry.
A clan name, praise name, or surname used among Xhosa- and Zulu-speakers. Also attributive.
A collection of praises together constituting a praise poem; praise poetry; imbongi2. Also attributive.

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18571993