difaqane, noun

Forms:
Also lifaqane, and with initial capital.
Plurals:
unchanged.
Origin:
Southern SothoShow more Southern Sotho difaqane, lifaqane (both being pronounced /di-/, the initial di- and li- reflecting the orthographic systems of South Africa and Lesotho respectively), migratory troop of warriors; period of disaster caused by war.
historical
Mfecane. Also attributive.
[1846 J.C. Brown tr. of T. Arbousset’s Narr. of Explor. Tour to N.-E. of Col. 134The Bechuanas more generally call them (sc. the Zulu)Bakoni, and sometimes they give them the nickname of Lifakani, that is to say, those who hew down, or cut their enemies in pieces with the chake, their formidable battle axe.]
c1905 J.C. Macgregor Basuto Traditions 16The wars of Difakane..were..an important factor in cementing together the agglomeration of tribes now called the Basuto, under Moshesh.
1912 J.C. Macgregor tr. of D.F. Ellenberger’s Hist. of Basuto 117The word Lifaqane is of Setebele origin, and denotes a state of migration. It is used here as describing the struggles of wandering tribes accompanied by their families, flocks, and herds, as distinct from the ordinary expeditions of inter-tribal warfare in which as a rule only the fighting men took part.
1933 G.P. Lestrade in A.M. Duggan-Cronin Bantu Tribes II. iii. 64The raids of the Zulus or their offshoots..caused a great amount of ethnic pressure, and..a great increase in the number and severity of inter-tribal wars...The Lifaqane, as these wars are called in Southern Sotho, are still remembered as constituting the darkest and most despairing chapter in the history of the people...When the Lifaqane were over, Moshoeshoe had under him a united Sotho nation.
1972 J.P. van S. Bruwer in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. VII. 544During the period of strife caused by the wars of Shaka and known as the lifaqane (1813–30), he (sc. Moshoeshoe) collected refugees from numerous tribes and welded them into the Basuto nation.
1980 Lye & Murray Transformations 31The refugees who escaped..burst upon their unsuspecting neighbours to precipitate a holocaust in every direction. Such was the Difaqane, as the Sotho victims named the wars, ‘the Scattering’.
1982 M. Mzamane Children of Soweto 85He..unleashed a spate of atrocities such as the township had never seen before and probably the whole of black Africa since the lifaqane wars.
1989 Reader’s Digest Illust. Hist. of S. Afr. 77The ripple effects of his (sc. Shaka’s) conquests spread far beyond the immediate area of Zulu influence...The Nguni people called this the Mfecane, the Sotho people whom it affected called it the Difaqane.
1990 R. Stengel January Sun 38In the nineteenth century, the Tswana were buffeted by the Difaqane,..a series of bloody conflicts among the black tribes in central South Africa.
Mfecane. Also attributive.

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18461990