UgubhuUgubhu bow is an unbraced gourd-bow that comes from the Zulu speaking people.  The bow instrument is an “old traditional instrument that people were playing during the time of King Shaka” (Mandela; 2005). The instrument’s popularity waned in the early 20th century when Umakhweyane (braced-bows) became more popular. The famous Zulu Princess Magogo who used it to record traditional Zulu songs preserved the instrument’s legacy.

With the help of the Zulu Benedict Brother Clement Sithole reseacher Dave Dargie managed “to find three more Ugubhu players in Nongoma District in the early 80’s. Those were Mr and Mrs B. Mpanza and Mrs Natalina Mhlongo” (Dargie; 1986). Brother Clement still plays and teaches Ugubhu at UKZN on part-time basis.

The instrument is made of a long stick from the Uthathawe tree (acacia ataxacantha), a calabash, a string made from twisted cow-tail hairs, and sound is produced by striking the string with a beater” (Mandela; 2005). uHadi  is a traditional Xhosa unbraced musical bow instrument. The wooden bow is strung with gut or wire and attached to iSelwa (calabash) which resonates and amplifies the sound. The bow is played with uMqungu (a beater) made from a thin stalk of grass which is beaten against the string. In the Eastern Cape of South Africa, uHadi  is known to be an instrument that is commonly played by married women. Men and children, however, do occasionally play the instrument.


Mandela, T., 2005. The Revival and Revitalization of Musical Bow practice in South Africa. Degree of Masters. Cape Town: University of Cape Town.

Dargie, D., 1986. Musical Bows in Southern Africa. Africa Insight, Vol 16 no 1, 1 – 11.