Maseko Clan Names History and Origin

Maseko clan names can be found throughout Zimbabwe. People bearing this surname belong to a subgroup of Ngcamane that migrated into what is now Swaziland.

Kuper and Bryant do not include some clan names from this list, particularly from northern and central kingdoms, for two possible reasons.

Maseko Clan Names

  1. MasekoSwaziNdebeleMthethwaNdlovuKhumaloNtuliMthembuNgcoboNxumaloCeleDlaminiGumedeShabalalaZunguMkhizeMajoziHlongwaneZwaneSithole

Maseko Clan Origin

The Ngoni did not attempt to break apart these “Swazi clan names” into individual tribal groups as was done with Karanga and Tsonga groups; rather they asserted strongly that these clans belonged to Ngcamane people and formed part of its kingship system.

This was a grave error on their part; Ngoni could never conceive of any system whereby clan leaders, or indeed all Ngcamane nation heads, did not possess full knowledge of their genealogical background. Ancestor worship tied clan leaders closely to Ngcamane kingship; village prayers would be directed toward ancestors at his head village before cattle sacrifices took place and genealogy of his lineage recited at village gatherings led by him – all criteria used to recognize him as chief and acknowledge him as such by using his village prayers address towards him being celebrated during village gatherings that acknowledged him as Mulumuzana chiefship status based upon knowledge of his genealogy background.

Ancestor cults served to differentiate clans on phonological grounds; for instance, Lambombotsi belonged to the Ngomba clan; another person, Mgazi had married Lambombotsi’s daughter but made great efforts not for her becoming his heir; consequently he built her village some 10 miles away from his capital city.

Ngcamane kingdoms adhered to an exogamy policy; marriage between clan members from different clans was strictly forbidden, with exceptions only granted in cases of cibale (when brothers held identical positions in hierarchy). Furthermore, clans who shared taboos regarding animals such as elephants or fish would often prefer marrying each other.

In the central kingdom, for instance, the Nqumayo clan maintained close ties to both Ngoozo and Nzunga clans and shared some royal taboos such as those prohibiting eating elephant meat.

Kuper and Bryant also omitted several names attributed to Swazis by the Ngoni that did not feature among those noted by them; this could be for two reasons. First, due to lack of genealogical data which they relied upon; and secondly due to some names which related to tribal groups discovered when the Ngoni first arrived in Natal in the early nineteenth century – such as Ndlovu, Nhlane and Nqongwana which is unlikely to have originated anywhere other than Ngcamane kingdoms; similarly Mfana and Mthungola are likely derived from Nguni sources compared with all these others likely having originated elsewhere than Nguni sources.

Maseko Clan Meaning

Maseko is an elephant. The Maseko clan can be found throughout South Africa with 99 percent of those bearing this name residing there, but can also be found in Swaziland and Lesotho. Originating in Nguni culture, their family comprises many sub-clans which are each identified by its own unique masi. Within each sub-clan are multiple individual masis which collectively comprise their clan as they evolve over time. This process continues.

Errors in writing or changes initiated by bearers of clan names may lead to their mutation, leading to different spellings and pronunciations that lead to surnames with similar meanings – yet identifying whether a Maseko surname comes from African or European sources may not always be straightforward.

Although certain Ngoni clan names have adopted new associations through migration, most such linkages appear to have developed more recently. The marriage ban between Cikuse and Nyamazani appears to have arisen as the result of cognation rather than any new variant pattern of implantation.

Attestations for the Ngoni migration towards the end of Mfecane can be found through its clan names; most likely those joining them from Zululand and Swaziland areas would also belong to these clans; an exception may have been Nzunga of Malawi who appears to have led a contingent of Karanga migrants.

Perhaps those of the Ngoni who remained in Natal and Swaziland took active measures to keep Lambombotsi from becoming Mgazi’s primary wife. Both kings were aware of the conflict between Ngonis and Swazis, yet neither took active steps to settle it. Bryant and Kuper provided lists of Swazi clan names they believed related to Ngoni groups from Zululand area.

However, these connections can only be confirmed with strong circumstantial evidence and are usually indicative of loose associations at best. It is possible that names in category D – those considered Jena – have closer ties to Karanga clans than Ngoni ones, which would explain why they weren’t included in Ngoni informant lists of clan names. Or it may simply have become degraded through use and misinterpretation until they no longer represent clans at all.

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