sangoma, noun

Forms:
insangoma, isangomaShow more Also insangoma, isangoma, isongoma, sangome, songoma, umungoma, and with initial capital.
Plurals:
sangomas, ‖izangoma, or (rarely) abangoma.
Origin:
Zulu, Show more Zulu isangoma (plural izangoma) diviner, from -ngoma sacred song; the stem -ngoma is found in some other Sintu (Bantu) languages in the sense of ‘drum’. Forms with umu- and aba- are derived from less-frequently used Zulu forms of the word (see um- and aba-). For notes on the use of singular and plural forms, see isi- and izi-.
Especially among Zulu-speakers: a traditional healer or diviner who employs music, dance, and the throwing of bones to discover evil and diagnose disease; also used as a title. Also attributive, and combination sangomaland nonce, see quotation 1978. See also witchdoctor.
1870 H. Callaway Religious System of Amazulu 280The doctor of divination is called Isanusi, or Ibuda, or Inyanga, or Umungoma: for when people are inquiring of a diviner, they say, ‘True, Umungoma.’ [Note] Umungoma, a diviner, but an epithet of respect. Etymology unknown.
1893 J.F. Ingram Story of Gold Concession 72Further out amongst the cliffs, slinking leopards, stately lions, and ravening wolves waited continually to do the bidding of the great sangome (prophetess, or witch).
1895 H. Rider Haggard Nada 53Five of the bravest captains of the army had been smelt out by the Abangoma, the witch-finders, together with many others.
1905 R. Plant Zulu in Three Tenses 21An Isanusi or Isangoma, that is a diviner, would be called in to discover the cause of this persistent illness, and to suggest a remedy.
1930 H.A. Chilvers Seven Lost Trails of Afr. 170 (Swart)Tshaka sent for an ‘isangoma’, or wise-woman, and invited her to smell-out the author of the blood-spilling.
1949 A. Keppel-Jones When Smuts Goes 255While soldiers marched about the town..the izangoma threw their bones and examined entrails in the ballroom of their hotel.
1969 Drum Aug. 45She is a herbal healer, or sangoma, by profession, who has even treated patients 10,000 miles away in America. The astonishing thing..is that she is a member of the United Baptist Church which she attends regularly.
1974 C.T. Binns Warrior People 250Ngoma is the Zulu for a drum, isa being merely the personal prefix. Thus, an isa-Ngoma is a person who drums, or, as applied to witch-finding, one who drums out the witch from the individual who is supposed to be possessed.
1975 S. Afr. Panorama Nov. 21Sangoma training involves the learning of songs, special dances, drumming, the ingestion of emetics for purification, and the continual instruction of the Baba (teacher) as she watches her twasa (pupil) carefully, noting her particular spirit manifestation.
1978 Pace Dec. 12‘Mpapane,’ said to be the most powerful sangoma in the Transvaal..came in..armed with bones, flywhisks, all the blessings from sangomaland.
1988 Weekly Mail 12 Aug. 5The company agreed..to grant workers five days’ paid sick-leave per annum if they produce a certificate from a sangoma, inyanga, herbalist or other healer.
1989 H.P. Toffoli in Style Dec. 94Diagonal Street is where you buy: A) Blue chips from white brokers. B) Dried crocodile tails from your friendly local sangoma. C) A rolex that fell off a truck.
1990 R. Malan My Traitor’s Heart 349There are several sangomas in the crowd, draped in beads and totems, with inflated pig bladders in their hair.
1992 S. Chetty in Sunday Times 17 May 4At least 80 percent of the black population consult sangomas instead of medical doctors, and the respect these traditional healers command will be invaluable in AIDS awareness.
1992 Natal Witness 9 Nov. 11Pretorius..is a sangoma, and woe betide anyone who calls him a witchdoctor.
a traditional healer or diviner who employs music, dance, and the throwing of bones to discover evil and diagnose disease; also used as a title. Also attributive, and combinationsangomalandnonce, see quotation 1978.
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