Imbongi comes in with a mighty cry,
dashing himself against every surface,
breaking against walls,
fracturing into hundreds of small, spiralling spurts.
He savagely shakes and twists the trees,
roaring through the branches.

“O fearsome Frenzy!
O terrible Tempest!

O mighty, magnificent Monsoon!
You brutally bash the proud,
crushing the haughty beneath your forceful fist.”

He rises to the heavens,
flinging the clouds across the sky at speed
then shouts down to the earth.

“Hear, thou modest mortals,
nature’s Nkosi comes
and he comes with a vengeance.
He will crush your pathetic playthings.
He will send your warriors whimpering to the house of women.”

Imbongi then leaps from the moon, building speed,
and crashes full-force against the dwellings.
He comes whining under the doors,
whistling through the rafters,
whimpering through every crack.

“Beware the wrath of Sovereign-Storm.
There is none as powerful as he.
He comes, he comes!
Liege of lightning.
Theo Thunder.
Deluge Deity.
Torrent Chief.
Hail, O mighty One!  Hail!”

Thoroughly spent, imbongi gives a long, drawn-out sigh
and collapses with exhaustion onto the ground.

Then comes the storm,
the mighty storm for whom the wind did howl.
He dribbles some drops,
and then meekly meanders away.

 

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(Notes:  an “iMbongi” is a praise-singer.  It is his job to introduce the chief/king/president/leader at a gathering.  He performs with gusto, yelling and waving arms, stomping and hitting his shield, not only to grab the audience’s attention, but also to emphasise what he is saying.
Tonight the wind is raging outside my home, rattling the doors, demanding notice.  There is a storm due.  And wind is his iMbongi.  🙂

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