izinyanya, plural noun

Also isiyanya.
Zulu, XhosaShow more Zulu; also Xhosa, variant of iminyanya (singular umnyanya).
Ancestral spirits. See also itongo.
1937 B.J.F. Laubscher Sex, Custom & Psychopathology 32In these so-called ukutwasa will be found early communications from Izinyanya (ancestors), as well as associations with the Impundulu, Tikoloshe and Inyoka, which are not supposed to occur in a genuine ukutwasa.
1977 F.G. Butler Karoo Morning 206I wish I had known then the little I know now about the African feeling for their dead — their izinyanya, their amadhlozi — they do not forget them, lose touch with them, neglect them, as we do. The Communion of the Saints is real to them.
1978 A.P. Brink Rumours of Rain 357I went to see the witchdoctor, the igqira. And he spoke to the izinyanya, the spirits of the ancestors. And then my father died.
1980 E. Joubert Long Journey of Poppie Nongena 75If a woman walks bare-headed at her in-laws’s place, she is naked before the izinyanya, which means the old people lying under the soil, the forefathers who must be respected.
Ancestral spirits.
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