Umuntu onikwa isihlangu umuntu wesilisa wasekhaya osuke esedlulile emhlabeni. Kuyaywe kuqalwe ngokuthi agezwe, okuzochazwa kabanzi ngakho ngenzansi. Emva kokuba esegeziwe kulindwa isikhashana mase enzelwa isihlangu sakhe.
Ngokujwayelekile uma kudlule umuntu emhlabeni kuyisiko ukuthi agezwe ngokwesintu, uma kuzogezwa umuntu kuhlatshwa imbuzi kuqala, kushiswe nempepho kubikwe kwabaphansi balowo muzi ukuthi kuzoba nomsebenzi wokugezwa kwelungu lomndeni elingasekho emhlabeni. Emva kokuhlatshwa kwembuzi ngosuku olulandelayo ntambama kuhlatshwa inkomo yokugeza lo ongasekho. Lenkomo esuke ihlatshiwe idliwa ngosuku olulandelayo lapho kusuke kumenywe nomakhelwane.
Isihlangu esokuthi indoda ivikele ikhaya lakubo njengomuntu osedlulile emhlabeni oseyidlozi, ngengoba kuwumsebenzi wamadlozi ukuvikela umuzi, aphinde alethe izinhlanhla avimbe nemikhokha emibi.
Uma kuzokwenziwa isihlangu kuqalwa kuhlatshwe imbuzi esuke izobika ukuthi kuzobe kwenziwani layikhaya okuqondene nobani. Ngakusasa emini iyadliwa leyombuzi mase kuthi ntambama kuhlatshwe inkomo. Inkomo kuchazelwa ngayo umphakathi osuke ubungeze ukuthi engeyesihlangu sikabani osewadlula emhlabeni.
Emva kokuthi isidliwe lenkomo uyaye akhushulwe lo ongasekho emhlabeni, ukhushulwa ngehubo lezinsizwa ziphuma esibayeni la obekudlelwa khona inkomo. Ziphuma zigiya ziya endlini yakhe umufi okusuke kudlela kuyo omama. Lendlu iba nokhamba lotshwala besiZulu obusuke bugayiwe.
Kulezi zinsizwa ezisuke zihuba zingena ngazinye endlini ziqhabule okhambeni, insizwa esuke isiqhabulile okhambeni ayingabe isaphuma endlini ihuba, ngoba kusuke sekubekwa ongasekho endlini, uma iphume ihuba iphuma naye endlini. Emva kwalokho kuyaye kuphunywe phandle, lokho okusuke kusho ukuphetha kokwenziwa kwesihlangu.
Ukunikwa isihlangu means ‘to be given a shield’ in isiZulu, which is a ceremony done a few years after a male person has passed on. Usually after a person has passed on, a cleansing ceremony is conducted for every family member. During the cleansing ceremony a goat is slaughtered first to send the message to the ancestors about the cleansing ceremony, then after that the cow is slaughtered.
It is after that process that the isihlangu ceremony is conducted. During this ceremony, the male adults sing songs of manhood as they leave the kraal on which they were consuming a slaughtered cow for the ceremony. As they sing praise-songs they go to the deceased’s house which elderly women are seated in. This house has Zulu brewed beer, umqombothi. These males enter his house while singing. After entering they drink the traditional beer and stop singing, then leave the house in silence, because they have to leave the deceased’s spirit in his house, as it is believed that they are carrying him while they are singing. After they leave his house then they carry on drinking and then it signals the end of ukunikwa isihlangu.
Siboniso Langa is a content generator, researcher and practising poet. His work focuses on Zulu oral and material culture, its promotion and preservation. He holds an Honours degree in Community and Development studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).