The Story of Qwabe & Zulu

Much of the available information on Qwabe tells the story of a family feud that resulted in two brothers, Zulu and Qwabe, going their separate ways. The brothers were the sons of Malandela kaLuzumana. Malandela married Nozidiya who gave birth to all-male offspring, with Qwabe being her first-born and Zulu her last.

Zulu, Qwabe & Nozinja as portrayed in the dance performance, 'uZulu noQwabe'
Zulu, Qwabe & Nozidiya as portrayed in the dance performance, ‘uZulu noQwabe’

After the passing of her husband, Nozidiya managed to acquire a rare breed of pure white Nguni cows through the sale of mats that she had made. It is said that on seeing the cattle, Qwabe tried to claim them as his own, as the eldest son and rightful heir. But Nozidiya had given the cows to Zulu. There is some confusion as to what happened next – some claim that a bloody battle broke out with Zulu and his mother being ousted from the family homestead, while others say that in an effort to keep the peace Nozidiya convinced Zulu that they should leave of their own accord. Regardless, the two brothers parted ways with Zulu and his mother settling in the Mfule Valley, some 150 kilometres from Durban. Apparently this separation of the brothers marks the start of a new clan, known as AmaZulu, the people of heaven.

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