sorghum, noun

Origin:
English, South African English, Show more In general English use, but of local significance. (In South African English, perhaps applied to a wider variety of species than in general English).
1. Any of several species of Sorghum, especially the widely cultivated Indian millet S. bicolor (or S. vulgare), the grain of which is ground to make porridge, and sprouted to make beer; mabela sense a. Also attributive. See also imfe, mtombo sense 1 a.
Note:
‘Sorghum’ is increasingly the preferred term as the offensive word ‘kaffir’ in the name kaffircorn is avoided.
a1915 H.W. Struben in A.C. Partridge Lives, Lett. & Diaries (1971) 129We kept our horses in good fettle on cut buffalo grass and ‘sorghum’ (Kaffir corn).
1936 Cambridge Hist. of Brit. Empire VIII. 769The variety of sorghum known as Kaffir corn is..apparently indigenous to South Africa,..and the basis for the brewing of Kaffir beer.
1985 Cape Times 10 Oct.Later they bought an adjacent farm,..using the women’s sorghum — ‘kaffircorn’, they still call it — which sold at the time for nearly £4 a bag.
2. In full sorghum beer: tshwala sense a i. Also attributive.
Note:
‘Sorghum beer’ is increasingly the preferred (urban) term as the offensive kaffir beer is avoided.
1975 Friend 11 June 1In a bitter blow to thousands of African beer drinkers, the Government has authorised a massive 33⅓ percent increase in the retail price of sorghum (Ijuba) beer.
1978 A. Elliott Sons of Zulu 73Zulu custom is that, for most ceremonies, the host supplies the meat — a goat or ox or whatever he can afford — and a measure of sorghum beer.
1979 E. Prov. Herald 6 Apr. (Indaba) 5Sorghum beer was not jabulani a member was told in the national Assembly here...The sale of sorghum beer had not been prohibited in Transkei as it was included in the definition of liquor in the Liquor Act.
1980 M. Lipton in Optima Vol.29 No.2, 161The problem was exacerbated by a switch from traditional sorghum beer, which is nutritious, has a low alcohol content, and is drunk in large quantities, to more expensive, potent and less nutritious (but widely advertised) ‘European’ spirits.
1981 Time 7 Dec. (Liquor)The black man has traditionally and for centuries been a sorghum beer drinker.
1987 Frontline Aug.Sept. 9Coated fibreboard cartons for milk, sorghum beer and fruit juices.
1987 S. Afr. Panorama Oct. 8The Sorghum Beer Amendment Act of 1987 paved the way for privatisation of the sorghum beer industry.
1990 D. Stanley in Frontline Sept. 12Outside the claustrophobic hostel atmosphere, the sun is beating down on a different scene: a mad market. Youths lounge around, swigging sorghum.
1990 M. Kentridge Unofficial War 86A reporter..found..a group of Inkatha men sitting around drinking sorghum beer. They were armed with sticks and knobkerries.
3. derogatory. rare. A black person.
1978 Drum Apr. 2There was a time they referred to us as sorghums in Pretoria. This was after they had changed kaffir corn and kaffir beer to sorghum corn and sorghum beer.
Any of several species of Sorghum, especially the widely cultivated Indian millet S. bicolor (or S. vulgare), the grain of which is ground to make porridge, and sprouted to make beer; mabelaa. Also attributive.
tshwalaa i. Also attributive.
A black person.
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19151990