The Savanna-Mistake in the Fandom

Mistake in the Fandom!

By Taabani

That's right, there's something wrong with a certain piece of information, and it's caused many resulting errors...

That misleading piece of information is in the translation of "Ingonyama nengw' enamabala". Everybody has it translated as "Here is a Lion and a Tiger." This is WRONG! I start you off with a breif primer in Zulu...

Every noun (person, place, or thing) in zulu belongs to a class. These classes are depicted by a noun prefix at the beginning of the word. In all senses, a word is not complete if it does not have its appropriate noun prefix. Refer to the following table:

Singular Prefixes Plural Prefixes
Class 1 um(u)- |Class 2 aba-
Class 1a u- |Class 2a o-
Class 3 um(u)- |Class 4 imi-
Class 5 i(li)- |Class 6 ama-
Class 7 isi- |Class 8 izi-
Class 9 in-/im- |Class 10 izin-/izim-
Class 11 u(lu)- |* Ref: Class 10
Class 12 ubu- |
Class 13 uku- |

Note: Classes 12 and 13 have no plural, and class 11 takes the plural of class 10.

The class I'd like to focus on is class 9, where the root word -ngonyama lies. Note that if the root word begins with an "N" in this class, the "N" is dropped from the prefix.

The prefix of a noun allows a word to form what in English is a singlular or plural word: Ingonyama: A Lion. Izingonyama: Lions. All lone nouns are formed like this, with very little exception.

Now, the word "and" (ne-), which, when saying "this and that", is required. This is where the confusion lays, and many overlook a slight error. The true translation of "Ingonyama nengw' enamabala", is "A Lion and a Leopard (-ngwe) come to this open place." True, the word "Nengwe" does mean "Tiger", but to say "A Lion and a Tiger", you would add "ne-" to the root word -nengwe, creating "Nenengwe". Problem! Not what appears in the song... What does appear in the song is "Ingonyama" (A Lion) "nengwe" (and a LEOPARD) "enamabala" (come to this open place [-bala, open place]). Nengwe is simply the root word "-ngwe" (leopard), with the word "and" (ne-) tacked onto it, like it should be. A Lion and a Leopard come to this open place. This makes a bit more sense, since Tigers don't live in Africa. :)