Definition of imbongi in English:



South African
  • (in traditional African society) a composer and orator of poems praising a chief or other figurehead.

    ‘an imbongi will introduce the chief by reciting’
    • ‘The suite features the unusual combination of standard big band, with the addition of a traditional imbongi (praise singer) and a young rapper, and promises to be very exciting and hip.’
    • ‘Spectators will also be treated to a display of indigenous games and praise-singing by traditional imbongis - let me not divulge all the surprises.’
    • ‘In reply, he said his organisation did not believe the country's media should be imbongis (praise singers) of any government.’
    • ‘Masondo, accompanied by thee verses of an imbongi, stepped on to the stage and said the event marked the celebration of the festive season.’
    • ‘Those who were in the legislature during Stofile's address will remember the two imbongis who sang the praises of Stofile and the African National Congress inside the chamber.’


From Xhosa (plural iim-) and Zulu (plural izim-).