you are currently viewing: Discussion Forum


The Rorke's Drift VC Discussion Forum
(View Discussion Rules)


PLEASE NOTE: This forum is now inactive and is provided for reference purposes only. The live forum is available at

(Back To Topic List)

DateOriginal Topic
29th April 2003Cetshwayo's childhood name
By Sally
When Maj Marter captured Cetshwayo, he called him by the name they used as children.

Does anyone know what that name was, and what it meant ?
29th April 2003Peter Ewart

I'll stand corrected here, but was it not Martin Oftebro, who accompanied Marter's party & assisted in the capture, who addressed Cetshwayo when they trapped him?

He spoke Zulu and was apparently Marter's interpreter (& chief negotiator and "enforcer" on that trip?). He was the son of a Norwegian missionary who'd served at Eshowe for many years, even before Ndondakasuka, so Oftebro senior knew Cetshwayo when a young prince, and the latter - whose father had allowed the Americans, Germans, Norwegians, Swedes & British to remain in all parts of Zululand - appears to have recognised Oftebro junior the moment he spoke (or knew him by his use of the childhood name?) Hence the famous reported line: "Was your father a friend of mine for so long ..." etc., etc.

What the nickname was, I don't know! (If it's recorded somewhere, someone will come up with it here I'm sure).

5th May 2003Sally
As no-one else has come up with any suggestions ... !
I did read somewhere that the nickname was 'uSuthu' as in the war cry and clan name
- wonder if that rings any bells ?

5th May 2003John Young

The uSuthu according Jeff Guy's piece in 'Black Leaders in Southern African History' Edited by Christopher Saunders, published in 1979, (ISBN 0 435 94477 0) - were the supporters of the young Prince Cetshwayo who gathered around him at the Ekubazeni homestead. The term uSuthu was apparently derived from a drinking boast that alluded to 'the prodigious capacity of the huge Suthu cattle raided from the the Pedi.'

None of the obvious standard works I've looked at give any clue as to this childhood name.

John Y.
6th May 2003Peter Quantrill
uSuthu was not his chidhood name.
He was known as" Magwegwana"--a rough tranlation being "Crooked Legs."
He was later also known as "Jininindi Omnwama" or "Black Bull." This was a result of his agressive nature.