great, adjective

Forms:
Also with initial capital.
Origin:
Translation of adjectival stem -khulu big, large, great, important, found in the Nguni languages; in this context applied especially to the possessions or relatives of an African chief or king, or to the (principal) wife of a common man, and her offspring or homestead.
Note:
Some of the combinations listed below are South African English formations which have no standard equivalents in the Nguni languages.
Special collocations
great councillor, a councillor advising an African chief or king; great man (see below); grootman sense 1;
great house [translation of Zulu indlunkulu, see indlunkulu], (a) the family of an hereditary chief or king; the royal family; (b) great hut;
great hut, (a) the largest hut in a royal homestead; (b) the main hut shared by a man and his (principal) wife in a traditional African homestead; in both senses also indlunkulu;
great kraal, great place (see below);
great man, great councillor (see above);
great place, the official residence of an African chief or king; the capital town of an African people; hoofstad noun1; cf. royal kraal (see kraal noun sense 2 c);
great son, the eldest son of an African chief or king and his (principal) wife; the heir-apparent to the chieftainship;
great wife, (a) inkosikazi sense 1 a; (b) inkosikazi sense 1 c; see also right hand.
1981 J.B. Peires House of Phalo 30The military preponderance of the king was due to the fact that..he alone commanded the allegiance of the Great Councillors.
1836 R. Godlonton Introductory Remarks to Narr. of Irruption 218From this decision there is no appeal, except the party concerned be a member of the ‘great house,’ or family of the hereditary chieftains.
1837 F. Owen Diary (1926) 79The king had sent a servant girl..who is in some way or other connected with the ‘great house,’ having the care of some younger girls..who are to be brought up in some capacity for the king.
1857 D. Livingstone Missionary Trav. 185An uncle of Sekeletu, being a younger brother of Sebituane, got that chieftain’s head-wife, or queen...Her hut is called the great house, and her children inherit the chieftainship.
1860 W. Shaw Story of my Mission 435The ruling Chief in Council, with his principal advisers, usually determines which of his wives shall be the mother of the great house of the clan, tribe, or nation.
1866 W.C. Holden Past & Future 332The other sons of the paramount chief take rank according to certain established usages,..thus — after the ‘Great House,’ there is the ‘Right Hand House,’ etc.
1907 W.C. Scully By Veldt & Kopje 5Makanda was a rich man, and, as the greater portion of his riches belonged to his ‘great house,’ such would, consequently, fall to Mangèlè.
1955 J.B. Shephard Land of Tikoloshe 18Mafuto’s first wife came out of the Great House — the largest hut in the row.
1962 W.D. Hammond-Tooke Bhaca Soc. 36The Bhaca are unique among Transkeian tribes in that there is no segmentation of the polygynous family into two main sections (the great house and righthand house).
1976 West & Morris Abantu 14Among the Pondo the central hut was that of the ‘great house’ — the house of the senior wife who would normally produce an heir for the head of the homestead. The ‘great house’ stood directly opposite the opening of the cattle kraal which was the focus of ritual importance.
1978 A. Elliott Sons of Zulu 175The main hut in a kraal is always bigger than any other..and it is the ‘Great House’ of the man and his nkosikazi.
1989 J. Crwys-Williams S. Afr. Despatches 34Born in 1820, a son of the Great House of Gaika or Ngqika, Sandile commanded the territory between the Kei and Keiskamma Rivers.
1857 R. Gray Jrnl of Visitation to Diocese of Graham’s Town 44Not liking the atmosphere of the great hut, in which there was a charcoal fire, and where all were smoking, I told Sandilli I must return to the Mission.
1895 H. Rider Haggard Nada 78They took me and led me to the royal house, and pushed me through the doorway of the great hut.
1967 J.A. Broster Red Blanket Valley 128Each kraal..has contributed a supply of beer and soon the older people adjourn to the great hut and the young people and the initiates to the smaller side hut.
1973 A.C. Jordan in Best of S. Afr. Short Stories (1991) 36Mother and children were in the cooking hut when he arrived home. He called out to his wife..‘No-mawele, phothula! (grind some boiled millet),’ and he hurried on to the great hut...When she had produced enough for the family, she brought the mphothulo to the great hut.
1976 West & Morris Abantu 38The great wife lived in the great hut, the indlunkulu, and the second wife, the ikhohlwa, was on the left.
1976 West & Morris Abantu 77The basic layout common to most African peoples of South Africa; a central cattle kraal surrounded by huts with the great hut opposite the entrance to the enclosure and the huts of lesser wives ranked on either side.
1978 A. Elliott Sons of Zulu 175He builds his ‘great hut’ or ndlunkulu, with its doorway facing eastwards to get the morning sun and with a forward slope away in front.
1855 N.J. Merriman Cape Jrnls (1957) 224His former Great Kraal..had been burnt by Sir G. Cathcart.
1885 H. Rider Haggard King Solomon’s Mines (1972) 159The great kraal, where we had that morning been interviewed by the king.
1937 C. Birkby Zulu Journey 38Chaka moved like an impatient vulture from one great kraal to another. He left his old ‘great place’ near Port Durnford and built a city at ‘Ungungundhlovu’.
1827 W. Shaw Diary. 2 JuneWe have had several Messages from Hintsa..but two of his great men privately advised us, to commence building.
1827 W. Shaw Diary. Apr.He (sc. Ngqika) was gone to his mothers Kraal, which is according to Caffre custom, considered the true great place, or Court of the tribe.
1857 J. Shooter Kafirs of Natal 99The Great Place (as the chief’s residence is termed) is the resort of all the principal men of the tribe.
1898 B. Mitford Induna’s Wife 140We would sit in the shade in or about the Great Place, watching the reviewing of young regiments put through their practice by their chiefs.
1933 W.H.S. Bell Bygone Days 75Colonel Griffith surprised and burned Kreli’s Great Place and many other kraals on the 9th October.
1967 J.A. Broster Red Blanket Valley 68The present First Minister of the Transkei, the Honourable Kaizer Matanzima, has his ‘Great Place’ at Qamata Poort.
1967 O. Walker Hippo Poacher 113In theory, the ‘great place,’ the kraal of the paramount chief, was the centre of the tribal state; around it were grouped the lesser kraals.
1974 E. Prov. Herald 22 Apr. 13Thousands of people of all races gathered at the Nyandeni Great Place..to pay their last respects to Paramount Chief Victor Poto.
1987 M. De Paravicini in Sunday Times 23 Aug. 10At his office in Qamata’s Great Place, this tribal father of 200000 people, who has at least 18 chiefs and 108 headmen beneath him, receives a steady stream of visitors.
1989 J.B. Peires Dead Will Arise 150The king was downcast, humiliated and unable to answer or evade the furious questions of the angry crowd...Along the long lonely road back to his Great Place..he tried to kill himself.
1835 C.L. Stretch Journal. 24 Sept.Macomo’s Sons are Maamba — 7 years old..Konaa, great son, 17 years old.
c1847 H.H. Dugmore in J. Maclean Compendium of Kafir Laws (1906) 26The mother of him who is to be the ‘great son’ may..be the last wife the chief has taken.
1882 C.L. Norris-Newman With Boers in Tvl 13The old chief, Ngaika, died, leaving his ‘great son’, Sandilli, a minor, under the regency of Macomo, who was only the ‘right-hand son.’
1907 W.C. Scully By Veldt & Kopje 254The Chief’s ‘Great Son’ was to be made a man at the time, and my father wanted me to be one of his blood-brothers.
1912 Ayliff & Whiteside Hist. of Abambo 12A small section of the Amahlubi adhered to Sidinane, the great son of Mpangazita.
1981 J.B. Peires House of Phalo 29The heir to the chieftainship, known as the Great Son, was the son of the Great Wife, who was usually the Thembu.
1989 J.B. Peires Dead Will Arise 194No matter how much Mhala may have wanted to believe in the Cattle-Killing, he had to proceed carefully. Makinana, his Great Son, said that he ‘would believe the reports when he saw his grandfather H’lambie and not till then.’
c1847 H.H. Dugmore in J. Maclean Compendium of Kafir Laws (1906) 11The eldest son of the ‘great’ wife is presumptive heir to his father’s dignity.
1856 R.E.E. Wilmot Diary (1984) 55Gained a sight of Sandilli’s great wife, that is the wife selected from some influential tribe for state purposes, and whose son succeeds to the family honours.
1891 T.R. Beattie Ride through Transkei 42Nomacapayi, the great wife of the chief, lives here, and as soon as I entered the large hut my guide pointed her out to me.
1897 F. Macnab On Veldt & Farm 267The land assigned to a Kaffir can only pass to the eldest son of his great-wife.
1907 W.C. Scully By Veldt & Kopje 5[He] had many half-brothers who were older than himself, but, his mother having been the ‘great wife,’ he took precedence of the rest of the family.
1925 D. Kidd Essential Kafir 13The hut facing the cattle kraal belongs to the chief or ‘great’ wife.
1949 O. Walker Proud Zulu (1951) 68A Great Wife requires younger wives to do her work. A husband needs other wives to clean his wooden spoons when his favourite is with child.
1961 H.F. Sampson White-Faced Huts 5The first or great wife, when giving evidence, tried to deny knowledge of this fact.
1962 W.D. Hammond-Tooke Bhaca Soc. 36Among commoners the first wife married ranks as the great wife.
1968 F.C. Metrowich Frontier Flames 2When he (sc. the chief) was getting on in years he was expected to contract a political union...His newest acquisition became his great wife and their first male child became the heir to the throne.
1975 Daily Dispatch 4 Oct. 7Great festivities are planned for a royal wedding in the Transkei next Friday when Paramount Chief Sabata Dalindyebo of the Tembus formally takes his great wife. Chief Sabata, 47, has two wives, but neither has been named by his people as the one who is to produce his heir.
1981 J.B. Peires House of Phalo 29The bridewealth of the Great Wife was paid by all the people and her status was publicly proclaimed.
1989 Reader’s Digest Illust. Hist. of S. Afr. 64The Great Wife, who often married the chief late in his life, produced the heir, whose oldest half-brother, by the first-married wife of the right-hand house, sometimes resented this line of succession.