Great Zulu War Chant

Izika Zumba is in both Zulu and English.


Frances Turnbull at Musicaliti sent the chords to Izika Zumba:

(D) Izika zumba (A) Zumba (D) Zumba
(D) Izika zumba (A) zumba (D) day
(G) Hold him (D) down, you (A) Zulu (D) warrior
(G) Hold him (D) down, you (A) Zulu (D) chief, chief, chief

Frances wrote:

"I learnt this song as a child growing up in South Africa as a 'boeremusiek' (pronounced boora-mu-seek) / 'Voortrekker' (pronounced foot-trekker) campfire folk song from the 1600 - 1700 Dutch settlers.

Looking into it as an adult, I discovered that Josef Marais from South Africa took this (1946) and other Voortrekker songs first to England and then to America, where he translated them and some of them were then popularised by singers like Doris Day. He translated them from the original Afrikaans, so the English versions lack tiny details, as is usual in translation. Having learnt beginner's Zulu at school, as well as a little Zulu history, I suspect the words are also slightly incorrect - izika is more likely to have been sika (cut) and zumba is more likely to have been 'hamba' (go), but those are only my thoughts.

I also see that there are multiple versions of the way the lyrics are pronounced, again, an issue of folk music travelling."

On other sites on the internet there's reference to "iZika Zumba" being a home grown chant or war cry that has patriotic feelings in South Africa. It seems to be chanted at sports events.

It's also sung by Scouts.


Ralph wrote: "What a treat for me to find your web site and the song Zulu warrior. I was innocently 'surfing the 'net' and up it popped.

I learned some version of this song as a Boy Scout in Scotland in the late 1940's. The words as I recall them were 'Lay him down ye swazi wallas,lay him down ye swazi kings…' followed by 'hi ziga zumba zumba zumba' and so on…

I suppose that I might have heard 'warriors' and remember it as 'Wallas' but I'm sure the word Swazi was what we sang…"



Many thanks to Frances Turnbull for singing this song for us!

Sheet Music

Sheet Music - Izika Zumba

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Frances Turnbull from Musicaliti for contributing this song with the chords and commentary. Frances wrote, "Not sure whether it is an actual translation."

Thanks to Ralph for sharing his experiences with this song.

Baie dankie!