agika, gqiraShow more singularagika, gqira, gqirha, igqira, igqirha, igqiya, igquira, inqira, iqika, iquira; singular and pluralamaqira; pluralamagqigha, amagqiha, amagqira, amagqirha. Also with initial capital.
Xhosa, KhoikhoiShow more Xhosa igqira (plural amagqira) healer, diviner, smeller-out of witches, from a Khoikhoi word (see quotation 1966).
A traditional Xhosa healer or priest-diviner who, through seances and the interpretation of dreams sent to him by the ancestral spirits, may ‘smell out’ enchantment, and both diagnose and treat disease. Also attributive. Occasionally in the feminine form igqirakazi [Xhosa, feminine suffix -kazi].See also witchdoctor.
1835A. SteedmanWanderingsI. 266The Amaponda Caffers have three professions — that of the ‘Amaqira,’ or witch-doctor; of the ‘Abanisi-bamvula,’ or rain-maker; and of the ‘Agika,’ or doctor of medicine, which may be considered the most valuable of the three.
1860W. ShawStory of my Mission 512I have no doubt that they had..been directed..by the great Igqira, Priest or doctor, who, according to custom, had prepared them by his charms and other ceremonies for their warlike proceedings.
1918H. MooreLand of Good Hope 119The white man has stopped..the awful practice of ‘smelling out’. The Igqira goes on finding lost cattle, and using his remedies to heal sickness, if he can.
1937C. BirkbyZulu Journey 282The most powerful people in Pondoland, powerful even above the Chief, are the practitioners of black magic. The ‘xwele’ are the male magicians; but they even are not so powerful as the strange women who deal in mtagati — the gqira woman of Pondoland.
1937B.J.F. LaubscherSex, Custom & Psychopathologyp.xivThrough the assistance of one of the native attendants, I made the acquaintance of Solomon Daba, a prominent igqira (or witch-doctor).
1949L. HunterAfr. Dawn 9Were these things any more wonderful than the magic of a gqira (diviner) who, by plastering a man’s stomach with specially prepared medicine, could remove the lizard that had been the cause of the ache in his bowels?
1954W.D. Hammond-Tooke inA.M. Duggan-CroninBantu TribesIII.v. 39Another type of ‘doctor’ derives his skill from communion with the spirits. This is the isangoma (igqiya), usually a woman, who ‘smells out’ wizards and diagnoses sickness at special seances (iintlombi) held in huts at night.
1966A.T. BryantZulu Medicine 11The Kafirs call their medicine man, in Zulu, an i-nyanga, and in Xosa, an i-nyangi (although in the latter language a totally different term, viz. i-gqira, is in more common use nowadays, probably derived from the Hottentot: cf. Nama-Hot. gqeira, pertaining to witchery, from gqei-di, bewitch, from gqei, belch).
1978Daily Dispatch 29 June 10The term ‘Witchdoctor’ is a misnomer; the doctor is no more a witch than a detective is a burglar...The Amagqira, or priest-diviners, searched for witches as detectives searched for burglars.
1982Daily Dispatch 25 May 16The functions of the igqirha (more often than not an igqirhakazi — a woman) are threefold: religious, magical and medicinal.
1984S. Afr. Panorama Dec. 41The role of the igqira is closely associated with the ancestor cult of the Xhosa. The ancestral spirits, or ‘living dead’,..communicate through dreams, the interpretation of which is the vocation of the iqgira.
1990M. Oettle inWeekend Post 16 June (Leisure) 7All amagqirha believe in God the Creator, uThixo — the name also given in the Church to God the Father — but hold that He has little interest in the affairs of men, and that a family’s ancestral spirits are more directly involved with that family’s day-to-day life.
A traditional Xhosa healer or priest-diviner who, through seances and the interpretation of dreams sent to him by the ancestral spirits, may ‘smell out’ enchantment, and both diagnose and treat disease. Also attributive. Occasionally in the feminine form igqirakazi, feminine suffix -kazi.
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