- khwela, quelaShow more Also khwela, quela, qwela, and with initial capital.
- IsiXhosa, IsiZuluShow more IsiXhosa and isiZulu khwela climb on.
- Several factors led to the use of this word as a name for the music. Firstly, it was used in the figurative senses ‘join in’, ‘get going’, as a call to dancers or band members. Secondly, it was used in the slang word kwela-kwela (police van), which is to be heard in the spoken introduction to the 1956 recording ‘Tom Hark’, by Elias Lerole and his Zig-Zag Flutes; it may have been due to the popularity of this record that the term became widely associated with the music. ‘Some African informants argue that it was Whites, who by 1956 were buying pennywhistle recordings also.., who first picked out the word kwela from “Tom Hark” and used it as a general term for the music.’ (D.B. Coplan, Urbanization of African Performing Arts, 1980). Thirdly, among speakers of Nguni languages, the use of the word kwela was probably reinforced by association with the Zulu and Xhosa word ikhwelo (whistling, a shrill whistle).
- ‘Kwela’ music developed in Soweto during the 1940s and 1950s.