Chiliza Clan Names History and Origin

People living in many African communities identify themselves with their paternal clans. This practice honors both ancestors while giving individuals a way to identify with themselves authentically.

Deciphering clan names and their meaning can be challenging. Errors in writing, changes made voluntarily by bearers or modifications due to language differences can all play a part in creating variations within clan names that might otherwise remain unchanged.

Chiliza Clan Names

  1. Chiliza
  2. Ndabezitha
  3. Mnguni
  4. Biyela
  5. Bhebhe
  6. Hlongwa
  7. Mhlongo
  8. Mabaso
  9. Mbatha
  10. Khumalo


The clan name is composed of verbs: khaba (kick out) and zela (feel sleepy). The suffix -a is commonly associated with positive root stems and used to remind people of their power; also featured as praise names in Sithole (1982:57): “Kuba nabamba engabambekiyo ekupheleni nakho” (You caught uncatchable animals and covered yourself in their skins).

Mthimkhulu is derived by combining two words; umuthi (tree class 3), and omkhulu (long tree). The person responsible for giving this clan its name experienced or observed that those belonging to it killed enemies nightly without dissipating easily (Mzolo, 1977).

Bess Nkabinde hails from South Africa’s North West province. She began her legal career as a state law adviser before being admitted as an advocate in 1988. By 1999, she had been appointed judge for Bophuthatswana Division of High Court; later President Thabo Mbeki elevated her to Constitutional Court of South Africa.


Ndabezitha is a clan name derived from two verbs khaba and zela; respectively meaning kick out and sleepy respectively. After witnessing these people being powerful enough to wage war even at night time, their clan name giver noticed this characteristic and said to them: you always seem to fight even when tired; from now on your clan name will be Khabazela

Ndabezitha, which means matter in Swahili, was coined when indaba and izitha (talkativeness in Swahili) were combined. Class 9 indaba and 10 izitha underwent phonological processing to create this clan name. When its creator saw its members discussing about enemies with one another he said to himself “you are Ndabezitha – meaning the topics your adversaries discuss about you” (Ntshangase 2015).

Ndabezitha is an extremely common name among South African Ngunis. Additionally, this surname may also be spelled Ndabezithi and Ndabezitzha; and is among one of their more prevalent ethnic groupings across Africa.


Ndabandaba is a clan name associated with those who wore cow skins, due to their actions of catching uncatchable animals and using their skins as body covering. Their clan praise names provided evidence for this: “Nina koMbatha enambamba inyamazane ezimbekiyo (You are those who catch uncatchable animals and cover yourself with their skin) (Mzolo, 1977).

Nkabinde is another clan name associated with catching tall bulls. The clan name is formed from two roots -hlong- and -ela, respectively – detect or find something and do something about or against, respectively; these extensions or suffixes help enlarge and extend the original meaning of its base root word to fit various situations more readily.

Oral literature is a means by which societies convey their values and beliefs to future generations. Passed down through generations through oral tradition, oral literature conveys information about past, present, and future life of societies; reflecting its world view while providing an intimate look into a particular culture’s values and beliefs.


Chiliza is the 42,428th most prevalent surname worldwide and most often appears in South Africa; it may also appear in Canada and the US. Chiliza is a clan name associated with Zulu origin and believed by some to be linked with Ndwandwe clan; however there may be disagreement regarding this claim; for instance some believe Nxumalo Izithakazelo as belonging to this subclan while other groups like Madlobha, Masuku, Mncwango Jele and Mathetha as having links to this clan name as part of their identity.

The imbongi compares Zwide to an esidlo tree [which is more commonly referred to as indlondlo] due to his upright and powerful posture as well as being an impressive warrior, and snake due to his deceptive ways.

The Ngayibongweni clan is known for being both proud and noble, often seen fighting to defend the rights of their people. Their perseverance under adversity and resilience have helped make them successful across many fields – qualities which make them great leaders and role models.

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