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Mfecane, noun

Forms:
Also with small initial.
Origin:
Xhosa, SothoShow more Adaptation of Xhosa iimfecane marauders (singular imfecane), perhaps adaptation of Sotho difaqane, see difaqane.
historical
The Mfecane: The large-scale dispersal of groups of northern Nguni people during the early 19th century to the south, north, and west of present-day KwaZulu-Natal, which led to the displacement or impoverishment of neighbouring people; the resultant wars and battles; the period during which this upheaval took place; difaqane; Fetcani sense 2; Imfecane sense 2. Also attributive.
Note:
The Mfecane has usually been attributed to there having been insufficient land to accommodate the Zulu nation (which its leader, Shaka, was forcibly consolidating at the time), so that certain groups, unable to defend themselves against his large regiments and innovative strategies, but unwilling to accept him as their ruler, were forced to move away. Latterly, however, this interpretation has been challenged by scholars who note that the political consolidation of groups in Natal was influenced by environmental factors such as drought, and by the increased ivory and cattle trade with Portuguese traders (see quotation 1990).
1928 E.A. Walker Hist. of S. Afr. 226Moshesh’s claims were wide. Northward they embraced a large belt of territory right across to the Vaal on the ground that the remains of the tribes which occupied it before the Mfecane were now under his rule in Basutoland awaiting an opportunity to reoccupy it.
1992 N. Mostert in Natal Mercury 25 Nov. 8Conventional history attributed the entire military and social revolution to the rise of Shaka and gave a name to it, mfecane, ‘the crushing’. It was seen as virtually one seamless event, which modern research disputes.
The large-scale dispersal of groups of northern Nguni people during the early 19th century to the south, north, and west of present-day KwaZulu-Natal, which led to the displacement or impoverishment of neighbouring people; the resultant wars and battles; the period during which this upheaval took place; difaqane; Fetcani2; Imfecane2. Also attributive.

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19281992