Izwe lethu, interjectional phrase

Forms:
Also izwe elethu.
Origin:
Xhosa, ZuluShow more Xhosa and Zulu, izwe land, country + possessive concord l-, la- + -ethu ours.
An Africanist slogan, ‘our land’, ‘the land is ours’. Hence Izwe lethu noun phrase, used allusively, referring to the Africanist movement. Cf. Afrika interjection.
1960 Berry & Tyler in Contact 2 Apr. 2Many people shouted the Pan-Africanist slogan, ‘Izwe Lethu’, which means ‘Our Land’, or gave the thumbs up ‘freedom’ salute and shouted ‘Afrika!’
1963 A.M. Louw 20 Days 8One of the Native men on the bench called out: ‘Afrika! Izwe lethu!’...Everybody knew it was the slogan of the black African nationalist and that it meant ‘Africa! Our Land!’
1987 Learn & Teach No.2, 4You must remember that it was also the time of ‘Izwelethu’ and ‘Mayibuye’. Many people in Sharpeville were members of the Pan African Congress — the PAC.
1988 N. Mathiane in Frontline Oct. 30It is no longer strange to hear people greeting with the Africanist slogan ‘Izwe Lethu’ (Our Land).
1990 Weekly Mail 24 Aug. 1‘Amandla!’ they call...then they wait for the answer..‘Awetu’ (power...to the people). Then ‘Izwe’...‘Elethu’ (the country..is ours).
1990 Weekly Mail 21 Dec. (Suppl.) 8Whether the Africanist cry of ‘Izwe Lethu — The Land is Ours’ will emerge as a major, if not the major, voice in the 1990s is a moot point.
An Africanist slogan, ‘our land’, ‘the land is ours’. Hence Izwe lethunoun phrase, used allusively, referring to the Africanist movement.
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