faction, noun

EnglishShow more Specific uses of general English faction (derogatory) a party or group having selfish aims, or using unscrupulous methods.
Use of this term is now seen by many as simplistic or misleading, in that it attributes violence primarily to ‘tribal’ divisions rather than to social conditions such as poverty or urbanization (see quotations 1986 and 1988). Cf. black-on-black (see black noun sense 1 d).
A group or clan of (especially rural) black people engaged in warfare with another group, often over a considerable period of time:
a. Almost invariably attributive; especially in the noun phrases faction fight and faction fighter, and the verbal noun phrase faction fighting.
‘Faction’ and ‘faction fight’ have been used also of the conflict in Ireland.
1897 E. Prov. Herald 5 Mar.Four Kafir labourers, on the railway, were found guilty of causing the death of Scholtz Jacoba, in a faction fight at Graaff-Reinet.
1905 Native Tribes of Tvl 124These orgies..are not infrequently the cause of faction-fights between the circumcised and the uncircumcised portions of a tribe.
1908 D. Blackburn Leaven (1991) 29His veritable bête noire, the sheep-stealing, faction-fight-provoking, drunken old representative of a once mighty line of warriors.
1913 V.R. Markham S. Afr. Scene 52Fierce faction fights..break out from time to time in the compound.
1926 E. Prov. Herald 5 Jan. 9Fatal faction fight on Rand. Four natives killed.
1930 S.T. Plaatje Mhudi (1975) 93A faction fight broke out..between a number of young men of the rival teams.
c1948 H. Tracey Lalela Zulu p.viiiFaction fighting is not ‘warfare’ as we know it, but it is to the Zulu a kind of national sport.
1963 B. Modisane Blame Me on Hist. (1986) 105At the model townships of Daveyton, Dube and Meadowlands..Zulu impis clashed with Basuto factions in the bloodiest faction fights in South African history since the Tshaka wars.
1971 Post 22 Aug.Chris Molife is an emigrant Zulu, having come down into Zululand after the so-called faction wars.
1971 Daily Dispatch 10 Sept.Police have made 63 arrests in a cleanup of the Mqanduli Kwaaiman area — the Transkei ‘faction fight belt’.
1973 E. Prov. Herald 31 May 1Police were forced to open fire..during the last of a series of faction kraal-to-kraal raids.
1974 Daily Dispatch 29 May 215 arrested for faction killing...Four men were killed during a beer-drink when 30 members of one faction started fighting.
1976 R.L. Peteni Hill of Fools 78The only occasion for contact between Hlubi boys and Thembu boys was a faction fight.
1981 Sunday Times 25 Oct. 24The homestead is in the heart of the faction-fighting area.
1982 Pace Feb. 150Zulu men who had come from Msinga and elsewhere to form factions.
1982 Sunday Times 28 Nov. (Mag. Sect.) 16In one room one might find a preacher, a drunkard and a faction fighter. When one prays, the other drinks ‘mbamba’ (skokiaan) and the other one fixes his weapon for slaughter.
1983 City Press 11 Sept. 3Police fought a fierce gun battle..following..what appeared to be a faction feud between migrants from Msinga...The shooting is a sequel to the Msinga faction fights.
1983 Sowetan 12 Sept. 2Police are working on a new strategy to curb the rising number of ‘faction’ killings at Soweto’s hostels..after the killing of a ‘faction’ gunman who earlier shot two people.
1986 H. Prendini in Style July 65A storm of dissent interrupts him. ‘That’s a fallacy, the tribal hatred.’ ‘Those faction fights take place because they’re crammed like rats into those mine hostels.’
1988 P. Skalnik in Boonzaier & Sharp S. Afr. Keywords 68The general public in South Africa..appear to assume that if virtually any outbreak of violence is labelled a ‘tribal’ or ‘faction’ fight, there is no need to seek for further explanation in contemporary circumstances.
1993 Daily News 5 Jan. 4Two men were killed in a faction fight involving members of two families in the Mid-Illovo district of the Natal midlands.
1993 Natal Witness 13 Apr. 2Faction fighting broke out between the Sokhela and Mbatha tribes at Ngqongeni in the Msinga district.
b. ?nonce. A faction fight.
1979 M. Matshoba Call Me Not a Man 95There have been stabbings, tragic ‘factions’, inkunzi (muggings) and rape.
1979 M. Matshoba Call Me Not a Man 196He had lived through the ’seventy-six hostel-location ‘factions’.
Almost invariably attributive; especially in the noun phrases faction fight and faction fighter, and the verbal noun phrase faction fighting.
A faction fight.
Hence factional adjective.
1986 Sunday Times 21 Dec. (Extra) 3Men, women and children..fled from their blazing shacks during the bitter factional fighting in the area in June this year.
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