What's in a name?

Our truck has been christened Songololo!

There is very little similarity between our Songololo and a real songololo, so you may question why on earth we called it this. Unfortunately sometimes you just can't explain these things! The songololo is South African, and so are we, so that's gotta count for something!

If you didn't grow up in sub-Saharan Africa, you will most likely be saying to yourself "what on earth is a songololo?"

Songololo on the move

A songololo is a pill millipede found in sub-Saharan Africa. It's name is derived from the Nguni word ukusonga, meaning "to roll up". When frightened the songololo rolls up into a pinwheel shape, protecting its soft underbelly and presenting its hard outer shell.

Songololo protectively curled up

Unfortunately we currently have no plans to build this kind of protective feature into our Songololo, but you never know...

Isn't that interesting?!


    1 .
    wow I would have spelt that chongalola, what can I say, Im an anglo south african...
    Ian Jackson - 7 Dec 2008, 20:59
    2 .
    I was born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and grew up in the bushveld of Matabeleland in the 1950s and the word there was applied to the very large, shiny black centipedes shown in your photographs,sometimes more than 12 inches long (30cm) and thicker than a man’s finger which generally appeared with the commencement of the wet season (October onwards). When touched the chongalolas would curl up in a wheel shape, as you described, and emit a yellow or green gel from their rear ends to discourage attackers. They had tremendous significance for the black African tribes, who very much feared them as being the reincarnated dead and, therefore, to be avoided at all costs! The Matabele people definitely called them chongalolas.
    Trevor Payne - 14 Jun 2010, 20:48
    3 .
    I found a snake-like tsongololo in our RSA West Coast back yard today. It is dark brown, quite thin, and has many'feet',just like a songololo - but writhes if you try to pick it up (I used a dish-pan). It did not curl up, and acted much more like a snake when approached. I am curious about it..
    Ingrid Herbst - 18 Apr 2017, 20:40

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