ibutho, noun

Forms:
Also with initial or medial capital.
Plurals:
amabutho; formerly also amabooto, amabootoes, amabuthi, amabuthos, amabuto.
Origin:
ZuluShow more Zulu. For an explanation of plural forms, see i- and ama-.
1. In the context of Zulu society: a regiment of young soldiers from one age-group; a member of such a regiment; a warrior. Also attributive.
1836 N. Isaacs Trav. (1937) II. 182He was surrounded by a body of Amabootoes or young warriors.
1949 A.T. Bryant Zulu People 494The practice of regularly banding together into ‘groups’ (amaButo) all clan youths of a similar age, continued as before.
1955 E.A. Ritter Shaka Zulu 8So soon as there seemed to the king a sufficiency of unenlisted youths in the military kraals, a brand-new guild or regiment, i-butho, was created for their enrolment, with a brand-new barrack-kraal for their reception and a brand-new uniform for their distinction.
1957 B. Fraser Sunshine & Lamplight 98In the cattle kraal they find meat ready and the aMabuthi (warriors) dancing.
1961 T.V. Bulpin White Whirlwind 73Membership of a particular iButho or regiment was always signified among the Zulus by some item of dress special to that group.
1976 Drum June 29He was a member of the Royal household and therefore a member of the King’s own ibutho.
1985 Cape Times 30 Sept. 1Three-quarters of the way through Chief Buthelezi’s speech, three busloads of amabutho (warriors)..in tribal dress and many of them armed, left the Umlazi stadium..and crossed..into..Lamontville.
1987 New Nation 28 May 9The Zulu became the dominant power in south-east Africa. Their strength was based on the amabutho or ‘regiments’...Men from a large number of different chiefdoms were brought together in the amabutho under the direct authority of the Zulu king.
1989 Reader’s Digest Illust. Hist. of S. Afr. 81The reorganisation of armies into an amabutho system (an age-grade basis)..meant that young men..could now be assembled by chiefs and formed into regiments with names of their own.
1991 G. McIntosh in Sunday Times 13 Jan. 16Conscription is established in the English-speaking military tradition, in the Zulu amabutho and regimental call-up tradition, in the commando tradition of the Afrikaners and no doubt in other communities.
2. In the plural. In the Durban area: a. Armed vigilantes who grouped together during the 1980s in opposition to the ‘comrades’. b. Occasionally, the comrades (see comrade). Also attributive. See also vigilante.
1986 T. Makhoba in Learn & Teach No.3, 5I saw a large group of ‘Amabutho’ chasing my eldest son, Mandla. He ran into my house and locked the door. The ‘Amabutho’ chopped down the door.
1987 New Nation 5 Nov. 4A 200-strong amabutho group patrolling the streets of the township.
1991 Weekly Mail 28 Mar.Police moved in against a crowd of ‘amabutho’, or ‘comrades’, who were arming themselves to protect residents against the Inkatha launch.
a regiment of young soldiers from one age-group; a member of such a regiment; a warrior. Also attributive.
Armed vigilantes who grouped together during the 1980s in opposition to the ‘comrades’.
Occasionally, the comradescomrade. Also attributive.
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18361991