NOTE: Pronunciations of the Zulu words can be found at the end of this tale.

It is said he (Unkulunkulu – the Great One) sent a chameleon; he said to it,

“Go, chameleon (lunwaba), go and say, ‘Let not men die!'”

The chameleon set out; it went slowly, it loitered in the way; and as it went it ate of the fruit of a bush which is called Ubukwebezane.

At length Uhkulunkulu sent a lizard [intulo, the blue-headed gecko] after the chameleon, when it had already set out for some time. The lizard went; it ran and made great haste, for Unkulunkulu had said,

“Lizard, when you have arrived say, ‘Let men die!'”

So the lizard went, and said,

“I tell you, it is said, ‘Let men die!'”

The lizard came back again to Unkulunkulu before the chameleon had reached his destination, the chameleon, which was sent first-which was sent and told to go and say, “Let not men die!”

At length it arrived and shouted, saying,

“It is said, ‘Let not men die!'”

But men answered,

“Oh, we have accepted the word of the lizard; it has told us the word, ‘It is said “Let men die!'” We cannot hear your word. Through the word of the lizard men will die”.

 

Pronunciations

 Intulo                         – In-too-loh

Lunwaba                   – Loon-waa-baah

Unkulunkulu            – Oo-koo-loon-koo-loo

Ubukwebezane        – Oo-book-kweh-beh-zaa-neh

 

From: Myths and Legends of the Bantu

ISBN: 978-1-907256-38-7

 URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/myths-and-legends-of-the-bantu_p23332641.htm

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