Xhosa Clan Names (Iziduko)

Xhosa clan names, or “iziduko,” are an important part of Xhosa culture in South Africa. These names are used to identify a person’s ancestry or lineage, and each clan has its own specific meaning and origin story. Xhosa clan names are often used as surnames and are passed down from generation to generation.

Table of Xhosa Clan Names

JolaMadibaMpinga
MpondoRadebe

The Xhosa Nation

Some of the most prominent Xhosa clans include the Mpondo clan, which is named after the Mpondo Kingdom in the Eastern Cape province, the Mbhele clan, which is said to have originated from the Mbele River in the Eastern Cape, and the Mkhize clan, which is said to be descended from the Zulu people who settled in the Natal region.


Other Xhosa clans include the Sigcau clan, which claims to be descended from the royal house of the amaXhosa, and the Ngcobo clan, which is said to have originated from the Ngcobo Mountains in the Eastern Cape.

xhosa clan names
Xhosa Blanket

Xhosa clan names are often used in formal introductions, and are an important aspect of Xhosa social etiquette. They serve to establish relationships between individuals and communities, and to maintain a sense of identity and belonging.

Overall, Xhosa clan names are an integral part of the culture’s oral tradition and play a vital role in preserving the history and heritage of the Xhosa people.


The highest form of respect is to say the clan name of someone; it’s considered polite to inquire after someone’s clan name when meeting them. Members of that clan have also been known to use the term as an exclamation.

When a woman marries, she may keep her own clan name and add the prefix “Ma-.” A man and a woman with the same clan name are not allowed to marry since they are considered related.

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