indaba, noun

Also en-daba, n’daba, and with initial capital.
Xhosa, Zulu, Show more Xhosa and Zulu, subject, topic, matter, affair, business, doing; plural iindaba (Xhosa) izindaba (Zulu), affairs, communication, news.
1. A meeting or discussion. Cf. bosberaad, pitso. a. A Zulu council meeting. b. transferred sense Any conference, meeting, or discussion. Also attributive, and figurative.
1827 G. Thompson Trav. 408A domestic now informed us, that the king was holding an en-daba (a council) with his warriors.
1882 C.L. Norris-Newman With Boers in Tvl 24The Dutchmen were..invited to make a farewell visit to the King..and to leave their arms outside...To this Retief incautiously acceded, and after they had partaken of some native beer, and had a short ‘indaba,’ they were set upon.
1885 H. Rider Haggard King Solomon’s Mines 249It was a few days after this last occurrence that Ignosi held his great ‘indaba’ (council), and was formally recognised as king by the ‘indunas’ (head men) of Kukuanaland.
1894 Pall Mall Gaz. (U.K.) 26 Dec. 3A message the King, inviting Umtassa to come in to an indaba at Umtali.
1896 Westminster Gaz. (U.K.) 30 Mar. 5They will..attack Gimgem’s kraal, where the chief Ulimo is holding an indaba, or consultation.
1899 S. Erasmus Prinsloo 93Although Piet had tried to keep Jan du Toit away from the indaba by holding it when he thought Jan was in Krugersdorp, his plans fell through.
1900 F.D. Baillie Mafeking Diary 177They had a sort of ‘indaba’ this morning. I only trust it was bad news for them.
1903 D. Blackburn Burgher Quixote 221A long and angry indaba began on the proper colour of good medicine, Charlotte holding out for blue and Mrs du Beer for black.
1910 J. Buchan Prester John 199He had a message sent to the chiefs inviting them to an indaba, and presently word was brought back that an indaba was called for the next day at noon.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 224Indaba,..Native council meeting for the discussion of business of importance to the tribe. It seems as if the word were likely to pass into South African slang.
1920 R.Y. Stormberg Mrs Pieter de Bruyn 63We’re having a last little indaba all together, and then Gwenno Cape-carts it back home.
1939 M. Rorke Melina Rorke 138The great indaba tree, beneath whose shade Lobengula used to sit when he administered justice.
1940 F.B. Young City of Gold 355He saw, as a culmination of the British surrender, the indaba of native chiefs, to whom the High Commissioner, Sir Hercules Robinson, presented the Boer triumvirate as their new leaders.
1971 P.S. Walters Informant, GrahamstownWe’re going to have an indaba to decide whether to go to the sea or not.
1973 Star 30 June 12Traffic cases could be established fairly easily by a prompt indaba of all those involved...The indaba procedure might have a less intimidatory effect on the potentially wicked driver.
1978 Sunday Times 22 Oct. 16Diplomatic indabas only rarely produce neatly wrapped, comprehensive solutions to problems.
1989 Sunday Times 12 Nov. 28Mme Danielle Mitterand, whose invitations to an indaba in Paris fluttered through selected South African mailboxes this week.
1990 Daily News 20 Apr. 12A proposal for all parties to sit down, indaba-style, and devise something they can live with.
1991 Weekly Mail 20 Dec. (Suppl.) 13Church unity starts to gel in a year of great indabas.
1991 F.G. Butler Local Habitation 244Far from being without ‘ghosts’, the poem is an indaba of shades on the headland known as Kwaai Hoek, where Dias planted his padrao half a millennium ago.
c. With qualifying word: great indaba [tr. Xhosa and Zulu indaba inkulu], an important meeting; a meeting of important people; a gathering of the people of a village, area, or group for discussion on an important matter; transferred sense, a national convention.
[1860 D.L.W. Stainbank Diary. (Killie Campbell Africana Library KCM8680) 8 Apr.Easter Sunday...Indaba Inkulu.]
1910 Cape Times 8 Oct. 12They had invite the leaders to a great indaba concerning the joint interests of the country.
1930 S.T. Plaatje Mhudi (1975) 44Their business was to cook and to prepare the eatables for the festival which was to follow the great indaba in the assembly.
1960 J. Cope Tame Ox 12The college boys..began to marshal the people into a wide mass about the platform. It would be like a great indaba, a people’s council.
1979 Sunday Times 18 Nov. 4The Department of Foreign co-ordinating the ‘great indaba’.
1989 E. Prov. Herald 7 Mar. 4De Klerk’s conciliatory attitude and his personal eagerness for what he calls the great indaba are greatly encouraging to all in this country.
1989 Weekend Argus 11 Nov. 17A promise of negotiation pervades the political scene. On all sides moves seem to be afoot to set the scene for a ‘great indaba’.
1990 W. Oltmans in Sunday Times 27 May 18All South Africans..should express a view as to who will speak on their behalf at the Great Indaba.
2. obsolete. News, affairs.
1836 A.F. Gardiner Journey to Zoolu Country 382Having satisfied their questions respecting indaba (news), etc. we rode on.
1862 G.H. Mason Zululand 10 (Jeffreys)As soon as the place is full, then begins the cookery; with uproarious singing and merriment..discussing the indaba, or news of the day.
3. Often in the phrase someone’s indaba, one’s own indaba. Concern, problem, affair, business.
1899 B. Mitford Weird of Deadly Hollow 72‘We want more rain — another good thunderstorm or two.’ ‘Yet that will bring the Van Niekerk indaba,’ said Custance, with a queer smile.
1958 F.H. Sibson in A.D. Dodd Anthology of Short Stories 107It should be safe enough to let ‘Tipperary’ across...But that’s Stewart’s indaba.
1964 G. Campbell Old Dusty 31Hou, Inkosi! Do you remember that? I have forgotten it. It was the white man’s indaba.
1969 I. Vaughan Last of Sunlit Yrs 25Mom refrained from adding that there was also an East wind, which..blew,..sweeping across the hillside to hit the small cottage bang on. Anyway she felt it was their indaba, put the cheque in her purse, and left them.
1970 Beeton & Dorner in Eng. Usage in Sn Afr. Vol.1 No.2, 30Indaba, S Afr coll[oquial] usage, a ‘problem’ or ‘worry’, eg ‘I don’t know how he is going to get out of this difficulty but that is his indaba, not mine’.
1972 Drum 8 Dec. 18Their sex needs are their own indaba.
1974 Drum 22 Dec. 2Asking the rest of the world to leave South West Africans to sort out their own indabas.
1976 K. Matanzima in Evening Post 24 Apr.Those who do not register — well, that is their own indaba, not ours.
1976 Drum Mar. 47The railways say that they have delivered the goods and that it is not their indaba if there is nobody to receive them.
1978 I.J. Patel in Drum July 9We no longer share each other’s troubles. If Indian shopkeepers are being moved from Fordsburg it is their own indaba, some will say.
1980 M. Melamu in M. Mutloatse Forced Landing 51I don’t see that I matter so much for Georgina to take the trouble of going to a nyanga on my account. If she goes to bone-throwers, that’s her own indaba.
1989 J. Hobbs Thoughts in Makeshift Mortuary 196The battles of Africa must be fought in Africa, by Africans, face to face. This country is our indaba, not anybody else’s.
4. In historical contexts. Usually with defining word (and initial capitals), KwaNatal Indaba, KwaZulu/Natal Indaba, Natal-KwaZulu Indaba, Natal Indaba [see Kwa-]: a convention organised by the government of KwaZulu and the Natal Provincial Council during 1986, at which proposals for a non-racial and united provincial government were drawn up; also attributive; see also KwaNatal (Kwa-).
1986 Daily Dispatch 3 Apr. 9Thirty-one delegates from a wide range of political, business and union organisations will attend the first meeting of the KwaZulu/Natal indaba in the Durban City Hall today.
1986 M. Badela in City Press 20 Apr. 2The Congress of SA Trade Unions says it could never become involved in the ‘KwaNatal indaba’ being held in Durban — because the meeting in ‘undemocratic’.
1986 M. Badela in City Press 13 July 2The Natal/KwaZulu ‘indaba’ met yesterday to discuss a bill of rights to be included in the proposed new constitution for the area.
1986 T. Wentzel in Argus 1 Dec. 1The Government was today urged to think again about the Kwanatal Indaba plan for a multiracial provincial structure following its swift rejection by the leader of the National Party in Natal, Mr Stoffel Botha...The report of the Indaba has not yet been handed to the Government officially.
1987 P.W. Botha in Time of Challenge & Decision (National Party) 12The Natal/KwaZulu Indaba..took place at the joint initiative of the KwaZulu Government and the Natal Provincial Council.
1987 Cape Times 3 Feb. 3Stand for election as an Independent in Natal on a pro-Indaba ticket.
1987 A. Paton in Sunday Times 17 May 23I hope that P.W. Botha..will give earnest and favourable consideration to the proposals of the KwaZulu/Natal Indaba. At the present moment they offer the only hope to be seen on our dark horizon.
1987 E.K. Moorcroft in Grocott’s Mail 10 Feb. 1By rejecting the Indaba proposals the government has slammed the door to genuine reform in the face of moderate South Africans.
1990 Daily News 20 Apr. 12The Government’s copy of the proposals of the Natal Indaba must be getting very well-thumbed by now.
1990 Weekend Argus 9 June 14Joint convenor of the Natal/KwaZulu Indaba.
A meeting or discussion.
A Zulu council meeting.
Any conference, meeting, or discussion. Also attributive, and figurative.
great indabatr. and indaba inkulu, an important meeting; a meeting of important people; a gathering of the people of a village, area, or group for discussion on an important matter; transferred sense, a national convention.
News, affairs.
Concern, problem, affair, business.
a convention organised by the government of KwaZulu and the Natal Provincial Council during 1986, at which proposals for a non-racial and united provincial government were drawn up; also attributive;
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