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Digitization of Swazi Clan Histories

Digitization of Swazi Clan Histories

The modern kingdom of Swaziland has a rich and exciting history that extends back centuries before British colonialism. This history is known to many clan historians in Swaziland but has been little written about. Readers may be familiar with the books by JSM Matsebula (A History of Swaziland, 1972), Philip Bonner (Kings, Commoners and Concessionaires: the evolution and dissolution of the nineteenth-century Swazi state, 1983) and Carolyn Hamilton and Michael Westcott, (In the tracks of the Swazi past: A historical tour of the Ngwane and Ndwandwe kingdoms, 1992). But every one of these books, including Richard Patrick’s unpublished collection, Chiefs and Chiefdoms of Swaziland, contains only small quantities of information about the early histories of the many tibongo.

Over many years, the Swazi Broadcasting Services have interviewed knowledgeable people on air. In the early 1970s and again in the 1980s, with official support, two visiting scholars also interviewed people about this early history: Philip Bonner accompanied by Magangeni Dlamini (early 1970s) and Carolyn Hamilton accompanied by Henry “Hlahlamehlo” Dlamini (1980s). In addition, at various times, King Sobhuza II arranged for local historians to be recorded. A selection of these interviews exists as tape recordings that are not easy to access. A small experimental project, the Five Hundred Year Archive project, is digitizing some of these recordings (along with many other materials concerning the past before European colonialism) and would like to make them available to the public online, both in voice recording form and in written form.

Once this is done, anyone who is interested in the early history of Swaziland will able to listen to or read these interviews online, or would be able to visit the Swaziland National Archives in Lobamba to listen to or read them there.

The list below gives the names of all the narrators whose recordings the Five Hundred Year Archive would like to place online in this way:
1. Dlamini Isiah
2. Dlamini Josefa (Joseph, Ndungamuzi)
3. Dlamini Madabu
4. Dlamini Majahane
5. Dlamini Mhambi
6. Dlamini Mntekasibone
7. Dlamini Mpitha
8. Dlamini Mvandasi
9. Dlamini Ngiyase
10. Dlamini Sambane
11. Dlamini Siphikoleli
12. Dube Mlingwa
13. Fakudze Maboya
14. Fakudze Mandlabovu
15. Gama Msebenzi
16. Gamedze Mhawu
17. Gamedze Gcobobo
18. Ginindza Bulawako
19. Gumedze Mahloba
20. Hlophe Loncayi
21. Hlophe Tigodvo
22. Madonsela Ndiya
23. Magagula Magida
24. Magagula Mankwepe
25. Magagula Mashabhane
26. Magagula Mashakashaka
27. Magagula Mabhuduya
28. Magagula Phica
29. Mahlalela Gija
30. Malaza Thintitha
31. Malinga Velamuva
32. Mamba Logwaja
33. Manana Maphoyisa
34. Maseko Maloba
35. Masilela Ndlelankhulu
36. Maziya Mphundle
37. Mazibuko Mafutha
38. Mdluli Mabuntana
39. Mkhatshwa Makhathi
40. Mkhonta Ndambi
41. Mncina Guzana
42. Mndzebele Cetshwayo
43. Mnisi Mboziswa
44. Msane Simahla
45. Mnisi Mbane
46. Mthethwa Mandanda
47. Ndwandwe Mkhonta
48. Ngcamphalala Majibhini
49. Ngwenya Hhehhane
50. Nhlabatsi Nyandza
51. Nxumalo James
52. Nxumalo Mandlenkosi
53. Shongwe Madlopha
54. Shongwe Ngudu
55. Shongwe Nkunzi
56. Shongwe Sikuleni Mrs
57. Sifundza Mjole
58. Simelane Msindvo
59. Simelane Simelane
60. Soko Mboni
61. Hlatjwako Velamuva
62. Hlophe Hluphekile
63. Hlophe Mbali
64. Mkhonta Magoloza
65. Mkhonta, Samuel Mhawukelwa
66. Ndlela Simbimba
67. Nkonyane Mshange
68. Sibandze Maphumulo
69. Sibandze Mapumulo and Hleli
70. Simelane Makwhili
71. Sibandze Phuhlaphi
72. Mkhatshwa Bongani
73. Nxumalo John

In addition, there are interviews with people who are not fully named:

74. Ginindza, interviewed on 25 May 1970, by Philip Bonner and probably Maganeni Dlamini
75. Lashongwe, interviewed in May 1970, by Philip Bonner and probably Hilda Kuper and Maganeni Dlamini, at eSitheni
76. Lukhele, interviewed on 21 June, 1970 by Philip Bonner and probably Maganeni Dlamini, at Ngobelweni, possibly interviewed together with Ngida Nkambule, from Phunga.
77. Nkambule, interviewed on 24 April, 1970 by Philip Bonner and probably Maganeni Dlamini, at Buseleni.

If your name appears on the list and you would like a copy of the interview, in voice recording form or in written form, or if, for any reason, you would not like your interview to be used in this way, or if you would like further information or a discussion of the matter of any kind, please contact Dr. Nhlanhla Dlamini, of the History Department, University of Swaziland, at +26 87 673 2660 or via email:

He will be available for this task until 31 January 2016.