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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Spectators will also be treated to a display of indigenous games and praise-singing by traditional imbongis - let me not divulge all the surprises.’


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