inyanga, noun

Forms:
enyanga, inyangerShow more Also enyanga, inyanger, inyanya, izinyanga, nyanga, and with initial capital.
Plurals:
inyangas, or ‖isinyanga, ‖izinyanga.
Origin:
Zulu, XhosaShow more Zulu inyanga (plural izinyanga) doctor, herbalist, diviner, Xhosa inyangi (obsolete) doctor, diviner, formed on nyanga treat, heal, cure; the word is found in various forms in other Sintu (Bantu) languages. For explanation of singular and plural forms, see in- and izin-.
1. A traditional healer or diviner, especially one specializing in herbalism; also used as a title. Also attributive. See also witchdoctor.
Note:
The term is applied mainly to Zulu traditional healers.
1836 N. Isaacs Trav. (1936) I. 82The ‘inyangers,’ or water doctors, arrived to take us across the river.
1836 N. Isaacs Trav. (1937) II. 82During her accouchement, she being ill and despaired of, they had been obliged to call in the ‘inyangers’ or prophets, who suggested that a cow should be sacrificed to appease the Spirit for her recovery.
1852 R.J. Garden Diary. I. (Killie Campbell Africana Library MS29081) 21 Apr.An Inyanga or Witch Doctor is a man or woman who administers medicine to people and who pretends to perform cures by means of spells and other ridiculous tricks. He is also supposed to have the power of Divination and is consulted when any one who dies is supposed to have been bewitched.
1862 G.H. Mason Zululand 180An ‘Enyanga’, as the said professor is called, is a formidable foe; merely as being master of the most deadly poisons in the world.
1875 A. Lang in Encycl. Brit. II. 204The inyanga, or second-sighted man.
1877 Lady Barker Yr’s Hsekeeping 176The witch-finders,..‘Isinyanga’ or ‘Abangoma’.
1895 H. Rider Haggard Nada 289Well I knew the arts of healing, my father; I who was the first of the izinyanga of medicine.
1897 W.C. Scully in E.R. Seary S. Afr. Short Stories (1947) 36He was rich in cattle, and was now celebrated for generosity and hospitality to the isanuse and inyanga fraternities, members of which were generally to be found at his kraal.
1928 R.R.R. Dhlomo Afr. Tragedy 28On the following day they went with Jane to the Inyanga...The ’Nyanga, like the rest of his kind, subjected the poor girl to various, humiliating and disgusting examinations and questionings.
1946 Archit. Rev. (U.K.) C. 22/1Before the first stick or stone is cleared the headman has the new site approved and then treated by an inyanga — a specialist in various types of native medicine, a man usually labelled by the ethnocentric European as ‘magician’.
1954 W.D. Hammond-Tooke in A.M. Duggan-Cronin Bantu Tribes III. Pl.164 (caption)A distinction should be drawn between the herbalist (inyanga) and the witch doctor proper (isangoma), sometimes called a diviner, who communes with the ancestral spirits (amathongo).
1956 L. Longmore in S. Afr. Jrnl of Science Vol.52 No.12, 281They patronise izinyanga (African medicine men) who provide them with drugs to bring luck.
1959 L. Longmore Dispossessed 233The doctor or inyanga must diagnose and prescribe remedies for ordinary ailments and diseases, prevent or alleviate misfortune, bring prosperity and good luck, and provide protection against bad luck, accidents and witchcraft.
1970 Post 28 JuneMillionaire inyanga Sethuntsa Khotso, who last year threw the bones and successfully tipped Naval Escort, says that Golden Jewel will win the Durban July next Saturday.
1971 The 1820 Vol.43 No.12, 26An inyanga, or medicine woman.
1978 A. Elliott Sons of Zulu 24A medicine-man (nyanga).
1989 Personality 29 May 29Experts estimate that about two thirds of South Africa’s population is making more or less regular use of the inyanga and the magico-medical herbs available.
1990 Bulletin (Centre for Science Dev.) Jan.Feb. 7The Professional Herbal Preparations Association of Inyangas (Pty) Ltd...Membership: Only bona fide qualified Inyangas.
1990 Weekly Mail 23 Mar. 10Shop stewards at a large metal factory near Johannesburg used routinely to consult an inyanga (traditional healer) for ‘cleansing medicine’ that would fortify them during wage negotiations with management.
1990 R. Malan My Traitor’s Heart 185In 1985..some 10,000 sangomas and inyangas were practicing [sic] in greater Johannesburg, consulted by 85 percent of all black households.
2. obsolete. rare. An expert, one skilled in a particular craft.
1852 R.J. Garden Diary. I. (Killie Campbell Africana Library MS29081) 21 Apr.The word Inyanga is applied strictly speaking to any person skilful in a particular line.
1852 H. Fynn in J. Bird Annals of Natal (1888) I. 108The term ‘Inyanga’ has a more extensive application, and is not only used to denote a native dispenser of medicines, but a smelter of iron or copper, a blacksmith..or any one exercising an occupation in which much skill is required.
A traditional healer or diviner, especially one specializing in herbalism; also used as a title. Also attributive.
An expert, one skilled in a particular craft.
Entry Navigation

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary

Senses

18361990