Xhosa, ZuluShow more From Xhosa and Zulu owasekunene ‘the one of the right side’, owa- the one of + linking phoneme -s- + adverb ekunene on the right.
a. In traditional Xhosa society: the second most important branch of a (royal) family.b. In traditional Zulu society: the most important branch of a (royal) family.
c1847H.H. Dugmore inJ. MacleanCompendium of Kafir Laws (1906) 11At some specified period, the chief of a tribe, who, it is assumed, has a plurality of wives, assembles his relatives, with his principal officers and councillors, to decide as to the investment of two of his wives with the respective dignities of ‘the great one’ (omkulu), and ‘the one of the right hand’ (owasekunene).
1860W. ShawStory of my Mission 435The ruling Chief in Council..usually determines which of his wives shall be the mother of the great house of the clan, tribe, or nation..; and inferior positions are then assigned to the descendants of two other of the wives, under the denomination of the ‘right hand’ and the ‘left hand’ of the family, which designations are apparently taken from the relative situations occupied by the huts of these wives respectively.
1980C. Nkosi inM. MutloatseForced Landing 11King Somhlolo said we should not fight them. We should not spill even a drop of that foreign blood on this land. Indeed, long after he of the right hand had gone to join his forefathers.
B.adjectival phraseAttributive, and comb., as right hand house, right hand son, right hand wife. (Cf. great.)
a. In traditional Xhosa society: of or pertaining to the second wife of a chief, her children, and their descendents (the ‘right hand house’), who are second in influence and importance only to the family of the principal wife.b. In traditional Zulu society: of or pertaining to the most senior wife, her children, and their descendants.See also inkosikazi sense 1.
c1847H.H. Dugmore inJ. MacleanCompendium of Kafir Laws (1906) 14Khili, being but a young man, has as yet formed no ‘right hand house’.
1866W.C. HoldenPast & Future 332The other sons of the paramount chief take rank according to certain established usages, as before detailed, thus — after the ‘Great House,’ there is the ‘Right Hand House’ etc.
1887J.W. MatthewsIncwadi Yami 38The hut of the right-hand wife is placed to the right side, that of the left-hand wife to the left of that of the ‘inkosikazi,’ and of course they occupy the next position to that of the chief wife.
1887S.W. Silver & Co.’s Handbk to S. Afr. 42The old chief Ngqika died, leaving his ‘great son’, Sandili, a minor..He (sc. Maqoma) now became chief of one tribe, as the ‘right-hand son’ of his father, and regent of another during his brother’s minority.
1925D. KiddEssential Kafir 13On the right-hand side of the great wife is the hut of the right-hand wife.
1945N. DevittPeople & Places 112A few days later the chief returned with his two great wives — the chief wife, and the wife of the right-hand hut.
1955J.B. ShephardLand of Tikoloshe 18‘Your wife?’ I asked Mafuto. He nodded, grunted, and held up two fingers as sufficient indication that she was his second or Right-hand Wife.
1967J.A. BrosterRed Blanket Valley 9The second wife has her hut on the right-hand side of the main hut, and is called ‘right-hand wife’.
1978A. ElliottSons of Zulu 169The half of the establishment on his right is literally known as the Right-Hand Side and that on his left as the Left-Hand Side. This is..a vital division of the kraal because by it the status of the wives in a polygamous marriage — and of their children — is decided. Those of the Right-Hand Side constitute the main house and those of the Left-Hand Side the supporting house. The right side carries the weight and the power and provides the future heir to lead the family.
1981J.B. PeiresHouse of Phalo 29The second-ranking wife was known as the Right-Hand Wife and her son was the Right-Hand Son.
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