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THE following superstition as regards the Inkosazana appears to be the relic of some old worship; and is therefore properly considered in this place.
THE account of the Inkosazana who came out on the same day that men came out of the earth.
She is not commonly seen. We hear it said the primitive men knew her. No one existing at the present time ever saw her. She is said to be a very little animal, as large as a polecat, and is marked with little white and black stripes; on one side there grows a bed of reeds, a forest, and grass;97 the other side is that of a man. Such is her form.
If she meet with a man she conceals herself and speaks with him without his seeing her; he hears only a voice saying to him, "Turn your back; do not look on me, for I am naked." Saying thus because her buttocks are red like fire. And so the man no longer looks in that direction, but believes that p. 254 it is indeed the Inkosazana about whom he has heard; and turns his back from fear, because it is said that if a man look on her face to face, he will be ill and very soon die.98
She goes followed by a large troop of children which resemble her.
Sometimes if a man meet with her in his garden she says to him, "This year you shall have food; although for a long time there has been famine, it shall be so no longer."
Besides it is she who introduces many fashions among black men. She orders the children to be weaned; and although they are very young, they are at once weaned in obedience to her commands, for they are afraid if they do not wean them they will be seized with some disease and die.
She makes such laws as these; and her laws are obeyed and not despised; for they say, "The Inkosazana has said." And the reigning chief does not say it is a fable; the word of the Inkosazana is greater than the chief's.
When she orders the children to be weaned she does not speak to many people; she speaks but to p. 255 one man, sometimes meeting with him in the fields, sometimes at his home, coming by night to the man she loves and telling him; and he repeats her word to the people; and every one is afraid to hide her word, for he may die; her word is not kept secret. And this exists to the present time.
Sometimes she orders much beer to be made and poured out on the mountain. And all the tribes make beer, each chief and his tribe; the beer is poured on the mountain; and they thus free themselves from blame.
For example, there used to be a man in this country, living on the Umlazi, named Ubobobo;99 he was a man who troubled people much by appointing customs by asserting that the Inkosazana had spoken to him, and said, "Let much beer be made and poured on the mountains; let the children be weaned; let the damsels marry young men, and reject the old." Another year he would say, "She says, 'I give the damsels to the old men; let them reject the young.'"
And many other such commands were all observed, and were published throughout the land; and whatever Ubobobo was told by the Inkosazana was rumoured in p. 256 all directions. This is what I know about it.
It is not said that she is an Itongo (spirit), for she speaks with men of her own accord. I never heard that they pray to her for any thing, for she does not dwell with men, but in the forest, and is unexpectedly met by a man, who has gone out about his own affairs, and he brings back her message.
96 Inkosazana, Princess, or Little Chieftainess.
97 Not, says the native who gives the narrative, to be understood literally; but that there was something growing on her like a bed of reeds, a forest, and grass. But compare Ugungqu kubantwana, Zulu Nursery Tales, p. 176; and Usilosimapundu, p. 184.
98 It may be interesting to compare this superstition with the following passages:—Exodus xxxiii. 20; Genesis xxxii. 30; Judges vi. 22, xiii. 22, 23.
99 This man has only lately died. I saw him once. He appeared to be mad.