Xhosa clan names

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Iziduko (pl.) in Xhosa[1] are family names that are considered more important than surnames among Xhosa people.[2][3] Many Xhosa persons can trace their family history back to a specific male ancestor or stock. Mentioning the clan name of someone is the highest form of respect, and it is considered polite to enquire after someone's clan name on meeting. The clan name is also sometimes used as an exclamation by members of that clan.[4]

When a woman marries, she may take her husband's surname, but she always keeps her own clan name and adds the prefix "Ma-" to it. A man and a woman who have the same clan name may not marry, as they are considered to be related.[2]


  1. ^ Matshoba, Mtutuzeli (1981). Call me not a man: and other stories. Longman. ISBN 0-582-78541-3. OCLC 16537365.
  2. ^ a b "Madiba Nelson Mandela was called Madiba". nelsonmandelas. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  3. ^ Boya, Siya (12 January 2013). "What's in a shared name?". www.pressreader.com. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  4. ^ "African Voices". Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2021.


  • Mlungisi Ndima (1988). A History of the Qwathi People from the Earliest Times to 1910. MA Thesis. Rhodes University.
  • Kirsch et al. Clicking with Xhosa (2001). Cape Town: David Phillips Publishers. p. 22.
  • Makuliwe, Mpumelelo T.A. Iziduko zabantu abathetha IsiXhosa: isikhokelo kwintetho yesintu.