I’ve been waiting to get my Swazi name for a while now. It seems like everyone has been satisfied with calling me “Ma Suta” which is more or less a nick-name, but I tell Mapile, Bhegumsa, Majabane, and Pastor Gift, “What if I meet the king, and he asks, ‘Ungubani ligama lakho?’ and I have to tell him my name is Mr. Fart?” Everyone else on my team has a legit siSwati name.
We were all driving in the car one day and telling PG the about me spearing the cobra through its head. “Ludlambedlu,” (Lu-shlam-bay-shlu) he tells me. Mapile, Bhegumusa, and Majabane all scream and make their outrageous Swazi exclamations I just can’t describe to you. “That’s your new name, Ludlambedlu,” PG translates to me (even though all the guys speak better English than I do). He tells me that the kings have their cows and they are the best cows, all champion cows (cows are a big deal in Swaziland; you buy your wife from her family with 17 cows). So the king’s champion cows are sacred and no one can touch them so they are kept on a sacred land, and they were called ludlambedlu. He also told me that the great warriors would use terms as ludlambedlu when getting praises for their battles and their courage and strength. Ludlambedlu is a word that doesn’t really have a definition, it doesn’t translate into English, but everyone here knows what it means. It’s kind of like the Hindu word, Namaste, which doesn’t translate but it means something of peace and seeing God inside of you and honoring that. Ludlambedlu is used for the best, for the strongest, for the warriors, the sacred champions, so in short PG told me it means “sacred warrior.” I just find that really awesome because they’ve all waited so long to give me a name, and they don’t just give out names, they find names that fit your character you know?