Very little reference to clan-praises is to be found in general works on African oral literature or in the documentation dealing specifically with literature from southern Africa. By contrast, considerable attention has been paid to panegyric forms of praise-poetry applying to individual human beings (or to an individual animal or object) among the Southern Bantu peoples. Lestrade, writing in 1933, reported that clan-praises were widely employed in southern Africa, and he briefly outlined their nature and function. Yet virtually no detailed work on clan-praises has so far been published except in the case of the Shona, with a recent series of illuminating articles by Fortune and Hodza. Among the Shona, clan-praises appear to be of greater importance than individual praises. For other Southern Bantu peoples, on the other hand, one might easily gain the impression that clan-praises were non-existent, owing to the overwhelming concentration upon individual praise-poetry in the existing documentation. Returning to Lestrade's article of 1933, however, one finds the noteworthy observation that clan-praises are in fact heard more frequently than individual praises: ‘Clan praise-names are used … on all occasions calling for a certain amount of formality and special politeness of address: at a meeting of a council of tribesmen, in some solemn family conclave, when strangers address each other ceremoniously, clan praise-names are heard. Individual praise-names, together with praise-verses and praise-poems, however, are heard somewhat more rarely: it is only on the occasion of some festival or other ceremonial event, calling for some display of oratory, that these latter are heard’. Nevertheless, despite this observation, it appears that Lestrade himself, and a great number of other scholars too, have paid no further attention to clan-praises. Clearly, the reason for this lies in the great wealth of individual praise-poetry, relating to kings, chiefs, great warriors, and statesmen, that exists among peoples such as the Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi, Sotho, and Tswana, and the fact that this genre is regarded as being their most highly developed form of oral literature. Yet, since clan-praises are more commonly encountered, according to Lestrade, why have they been totally neglected ? The reason would appear to be that Lestrade, Bryant and many other scholars seem to have dismissed them as amounting to no more than short, single ‘praisenames’, which do not attain the stature of ‘praise-verses’ or ‘praise-poems’. Since the short clan-praises constitute a distinctive genre of oral poetic imagery, the matter deserves reappraisal.