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Arts & Culture Trust of the President

THE TALE OF NTULUBE: A FOLKTALE

This is the story of Ntulube, an ox that is as huge as a house. The men of Ntulube’s large home go on a hunting expedition, leaving one boy to look after all the cattle of the family, including Ntulube.

While the cattle are grazing in the veld the enemy comes and attempts to drive the cattle away. Ntulube refuses to move, until, finally, the men turn to the boy and threaten him, commanding him to make the ox to move. So the boy stands near the ear of the ox and sings his song. The huge ox moves and all the cattle follow it. The enemy has to threaten the boy again and again to make the ox cross the river, get slaughtered and get eaten. Each time the ox refuses to comply, the boy must sing into its ear.

After the enemy has eaten the ox the men go on a hunting expedition, leaving the boy and his cattle in their own home. The boy collects all the bones of the ox, puts them into the skin and sings to them the same song he has sung for the ox on the way to captivity. Suddenly the huge ox comes to life, and, with the boy on its back, it leads all the cattle including the enemy’s towards its original home. An old woman of the enemy’s home sounds the alarm and the enemy attempts to recover the cattle, but the cattle cross a big river and the river swells so that the enemy cannot cross. The boy and Ntulube come home to joyous festivities and celebrations.

What is most interesting in this story is the manner in which one song is sung at first with sorrow, but in the end with a note of joy.

INTSOMI KANTULUBE

By MaZulu Sengca

Kwakukho umzi omkhulu, owawutyebile kakhulu ngeenkomo. Kukhw’ inkomo eyayingangendlu. Igama layo kwakuthiwa nguNtulube. Kuzelwe kulo mzi ngabafana — kunabafana. Kuthe ngeny’ imini, kwathiwa mabahambe baye kuzingela — baphume ingqina. Bahamba nezinja zabo, bemka — beyokuzingela. Kwakukho ixhegokazi phakathi kwalo mzi elalihlala ngendlu lingasenamandla. Ezi nkomo zazaluswa yinkwenkwe eyayiminyaka ilishumi. Bephaya emasimini, kwafika enye ingqina, yathi, “Kwedini!” Yathi, “Sinike le nkom’ enkulu.” Ithi le nkwenkwe, “Andinakho ukuninika le nkom’ enkulu kuba ayihambi, ngaphandle kokuba ihlatyelelwe ingoma.” Yathi le ngqina enkulu yasemzini, “Khawuyihlabelele ingoma ihambe le nkomo. Sifun’ ihambe.” Bayiqobol’ entloko inkwenkwe. Yath’ inkwenkwe,

    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Ayiya, Ntululbe,
    Awusahambi nokuhamba, Ntulube.

    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Awusabon’ uba ndiyabulawa, Ntulube.

Yahamb’ inkomo. Zahamba zonk’ iinkomo — zonk’ iinkomo zakhala, zayilandela. Bashishing’ aba bantu, behamba nezi nkomo. Yathi yakufik’emlanjeni, zem’ iinkomo zonke zangahambi. Wema noNtulube. Zem’ iinkomo zonke zangahambi. Iphindile le ngqina yambetha — le nkwenkwe, yathi, “Yitsho kwedini, iinkomo zihambe.” Yaphinda yahlabela yathi,

    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Awusahambi nokuhamba, Ntulube.

    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Awusabon’ uba ndiyabulawa, Ntulube.

Zawel’ iinkomo. Zaqhutyw’ iinkomo. Zayofika emzini omkhulu kwanjengalowa mzi wokuqala. Kwafunek’ uba le nkomo mayibulawe. Yabanjwa inkomo yangabambeki; yabanjwa inkomo yangabambeki. Kwathiwa, “Thetha, kwedini!”

Yaphind’ inkwenkwe, yahlabela, yathi,

    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Awusabulawa nokubulawa, Ntulube.

    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Awusabon’ uba ndiyabulawa, Ntulube.

Yabanjw’ inkomo, yawiswa phantsi. Yobulwa. Kwafunek’ uba mayityiwe. Ayangena inkomo, uba ityiwe — ayavuma. Kwafunek’ okokuba le nkwenkwe xa ityiwa le nkomo mayiphinde ihlabele. Kuwo wonke la mabandla atya le nkomo ihamb’ ihlabela ithi,

    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Awusabon’ uba ndiyabulawa, Ntulube.

    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Awusaginyenki nokuginye-eka, Ntulube.

Yaginyek’ inkomo. Yatyiwa. Yathi yakutyiwa, yakugqitywa, bahamba kwakho, le ngqina yalo mzi, yaya kuzingela. Kwalapha kusekho ixhegokazi — nakulo mzi wesibini. Bemka.

Besakuba bemkile, inkwenkwe yawathabath’ amathambo, yawafaka esikhumbeni sikaNtulube — wonk’ amathambo kaNtulube. Yabe sel’ isitsho laa ngoma kaNtulube. Wavuk’ uNtulube wema ngeenyawo, wanguNtulube. Yavuka imihlambi yezo nkomo zalo ndawo, sezidibene nezi ebezihamba nenkwenkwe. Iphindile yahlabel’ inkwenkwe, yathi,

    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Awusahambi nokuhamba, Ntulube.

    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Asusabon’ uba ndiyabulawa, Ntulube.

Zasuke zahamb’ iinkomo. Wasuke wahamb’ uNtulube. Washishinga! Samemez’ isalukazi sabathimbi ababethimbe uNtulube, sathi, “A ... a ... a ... a ... a-a-a-a! Zemu-u-u-uk’ iinkomo, magwalandini!” Wev’ umkhos’ entabeni. Zaye zimk’ iinkomo noNtulube. Zahamb’ iinkomo. NoNtulube wangahlatyelelwa ngoku. Zahamb’ iinkomo zimlandela zonke iinkomo zaloo ndawo, zidibene nezo babehambe nazo. Bathi bakufik’ emfuleni, zathi thint’ iinkomo. Wab’ uzil’ umkhosi! Waphinda wahlabela, wathi,

    Ayiya, Ntulube
    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Awusahambi nokuhamba, Ntulube.

    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Awusabon’ uba ndiyabulawa, Ntulube.

Aa! Zawel’ iinkomo. Afaka amanzi agcwala. Wafik’ umkhosi. Wafika kugcwele ngamanzi. Zashishing’ iinkomo, zashishing’ iinkomo. Kwathi zakuvela kuloNtulube kwabonwa ngothuli olukhulu. Kwathiw’ ikho leya nto evela phaa. Kwathiwa kuz’ inkanyamba. Yathi xa esezantsi komzi, yahlabel’ inkwenkwe, yathi,

    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Awusahambi nokuhamba, Ntulube.

    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Ayiya, Ntulube,
    Awusabon’ uba ndiyabulawa, Ntulube.

Wayofik’ ekhaya. Indlel’ ekwaba kuhle ngayo! Kwabulaw’ iinkomo ezingamashumi amabini. Phela phela ngantsomi.

phezulu


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