Princess Magogo composed this song herself in 1923 at the time when her brother, the late Paramount Chief Solomon kaDinuzulu, sent an induna to Chief Mathole Buthelezi (her late hus- band) to suggest that he should marry the Princess. (The Chief gave a present of snuff, and this in- dicated his assent to the proposal.) The song-text gives the impression of lamentation over some misfortune, but Princess Magogo states that this apparent ‘misfortune’ was in fact the occasion of her marriage, since, for a Zulu bride, there is the sorrowful aspect of perpetual separation from one’s parental home.

The metaphorical reference to thunder, which recurs several times in this song, is frequently found in Zulu and Swazi isimekezo songs, symbolising the blow of separation, and particularly its effect on the bride’s parents. The phrase ‘Ladum’ ekuseni’ (‘it thundered in the morning’) is also in this instance perhaps more directly reminiscent of Princess Magogo’s father, King Dinuzulu, since one of the praise epithets in his izibongo eulogies consists of the line: UZulu ladum’ ekuseni kwaNongoma’ (‘Heavens that thundered in the morning at Nongoma) (Rycroft, 1976).

Reference:  Rycroft, D., 1976. The Zulu Bow songs of Princess Magogo. International Library of African Music, Vol 5 no. 4, 41 – 97.