tagati, noun and & adjective

Xhosa, ZuluShow more Adaptation of Xhosa and Zulu umthakathi wizard (plural abathakathi), from thakatha practice witchcraft.
Among the Nguni peoples:
A. noun , plural usually unchanged or abatagati, occasionally tagatis. Forms: singular  m’tagat, mtagati, mtakati, mtakiti, tagata, tagate, takata, takati, thakathi, togate, umtakati, umthakathi, umtigati; singular and plural  amatagati, tagati, umtagati; plural  abatagati, abathakathi, amatikati, mtakatis, mthakathi, takatis, umtagarties, umtugartie.
1. A witch or wizard; a practitioner of evil magic; an evil-doer. See also witchdoctor.
1836 A.F. Gardiner Journey to Zoolu Country 263The alleged Umtakati (bewitcher) is already in confinement.
1836 N. Isaacs Trav. (1937) II. 49He said he only wanted one (sc. a musket) for himself to frighten away the Umtagarties. [Note] Witches — people not fit to live, or evil-doers.
1850 J.E. Methley New Col. of Port Natal 75Many of them had..witch charms of roots, &c, hanging round their necks, in order to prevent any evil influence being exercised over them by their Tagate or witch doctor.
1852 R.J. Garden Diary. I. (Killie Campbell Africana Library MS29081) 21 Apr.An Umtakati is one who casts spells upon people or people’s cattle & is supposed to have power over wild beasts & be on intimate and friendly terms with serpents.
1852 R.B. Struthers Hunting Jrnl (1991) 14A man & his wife were murdered by their own son...On asking why he killed them they said they were ‘Amatagati’.
1854 R.B. Struthers Hunting Jrnl (1991) 41He goes to an Inyanga or Isanusi (a witch doctor or diviner) and gets him..to accuse his father of being a ‘takati’ or evil-doer — (this is a word not easily translated, may mean a witch or wizard — a poisoner etc.) and he is killed shortly.
1866 W.C. Holden Past & Future 287At a certain kraal, some one is suspected of being an umtakati, that is, ‘evil doer,’ or ‘witch’.
1887 J.W. Matthews Incwadi Yami 46According to primitive native law, an ‘Umtagati’ caught in the act of placing, during the night time, at his intended victim’s kraal, charms or medicines with the supposed object of causing death or injury, could be siezed and killed in the most cruel manner.
1893 B.M. Atheling in Cape Illust. Mag. Jan. 158I had the usual contempt for witchdoctors (Umtagati).
1898 B. Mitford Induna’s Wife 75It is not good among us for a man to have a name for dealings with abatagati.
1911 Blackburn & Caddell Secret Service 66Tell him, Mr Interpreter,..that the Government employs a whole staff of ‘abatagati,’ who know what you thieves are doing.
1948 E. Hellmann Rooiyard 105He maintains..that the European doctor is powerless to combat an illness which is due to ‘poisoning’ by an umthakathi.
1966 A.T. Bryant Zulu Medicine 17The only form of contractible disease for which an umThakathi is not held to be responsible is that..agglomeration of ailments..combined under the generic term umKhulane, which may be roughly described as ‘fevers’.
1967 O. Walker Hippo Poacher 8Zulu lore about mtakatis, or wizards.
1974 C.T. Binns Warrior People 228Amongst all Bantu witchcraft is..regarded as abhorrent, fearsome, devilish, evil. It is the work of demons,..abaThakathi, wizards, witches, and..a menace to society that must be fought against and stamped out.
1980 M. Matshoba in M. Mutloatse Forced Landing 118The African way of entering the company of others is for the newcomer to announce himself by greeting first. It is the ‘umthakathi’ (wizard) who arrives unseen.
2. noncount. In the singular forms (and singular and plural forms) listed above; also ubutagati, ubuthakathi, ukutakata [forms with ubu- are from the Zulu ubuthakatha witchcraft, forms with uku- are from the Zulu verbal noun ukuthakatha the practice of witchcraft]: witchcraft.
1852 H. Fynn in J. Bird Annals of Natal (1888) I. 107‘Tagata’ includes every species of crime committed by the Kafir.
1860 A.W. Drayson Sporting Scenes 308I managed to make them comprehend that by the stars and sun we understood our position; they could not quite make out the system, and seemed to think that there must be Takata (witchcraft) about it.
1899 A. Werner Captain of Locusts 120It seemed doubtful now whether he had been visited with a sudden madness, or whether he was only meditating some transcendant stroke of ubutagati.
1908 D. Blackburn Leaven 154The mothers meeting dissolved with a jerk...The mothers rushed off the veranda yelling ‘Tagata! Tagata!’ (Witchcraft!).
1929 J. Stevenson-Hamilton Low-Veld 229All natives wear amulets against takati, such as pieces of tree root, small bones,..or other portions of wild animals.
1937 C. Birkby Zulu Journey 232A grey-bearded native who spoke to me of mtagati, the magic of the place.
1949 P.J. Pretorius Jungle Man 74I didn’t kill a single hippo that day —..was it tagati — black magic?
1954 A. Segal Jhb. Friday 12He handled the receiver as though it smacked of tagati, of magic.
1957 B. Fraser Sunshine & Lamplight 115There is ukutakata (magic) in this bracelet.
1977 S. Afr. Panorama Oct. 23Medicine men who practiced ‘tagati,’ or black magic, were condemned...It is ‘tagati’ which has been responsible for hundreds of cases of malpractices in making ‘muti’ (medicine) using weird ingredients, including parts of the human body.
1981 Bona Jan. 45Why will this beast not be scared off? Is this tagati?
1987 Pace Oct. 4He decided to settle in this ubuthakathi-riddled continent.
3. A spirit (usually evil). Cf. boloyi.
1892 A. Sutherland in Cape Illust. Mag. Vol.3 No.4, 134Respect for the Umtagati, or evil spirit, which he was fully persuaded lurked in my miserable body.
1899 G.H. Russell Under Sjambok 82I come to drink the water of the Tagati (spirit), that my wounded shoulder may get better.
1952 H. Klein Land of Silver Mist 180When I mentioned the baboons Neremondo said nervously, ‘They are tagati! The spirits of the dead come back to earth.’
B. adjective Forms: mtagati, mtakati, tagati, takati, thakhatha, umtagati. [Transf. use of the South African English n.; Xhosa and Zulu do not have an adjective corresponding in form to the noun umthakathi.] Bewitched, under supernatural influence; magical.
1885 H. Rider Haggard King Solomon’s Mines 34They had not allowed for the expansion caused by the fizz in the wine, and..rolled about..calling out that the good liquor was ‘tagati’ (bewitched).
1898 B. Mitford Induna’s Wife 10Strange tagati beings are about in the darkness — half-men, half-beast.
1907 J.P. Fitzpatrick Jock of Bushveld 381Niggers said I was ‘takati’: asked for some of my medicine.
1907 J.P. Fitzpatrick Jock of Bushveld 447Rooiland is mad. Umtagati! Bewitched!
1933 W. Macdonald Romance of Golden Rand 18I see it is a tagati (magic) stone. I will give you a hundred sheep for it.
1937 C. Birkby Zulu Journey 58Many places near Mahlabatini are mtagati, mostly because they have been the scenes of violence and bloodshed.
1937 C.R. Prance Tante Rebella’s Saga 53He..would not have dared to open it (sc. the bottle).., in case it might be ‘tagati’ which is what you people call ‘bewitched’.
1945 S. Norton in Outspan 3 Aug. 49Kaffir-corn..which the native farm-hands declared to be ‘tagati’ at first because the birds would not touch it.
1949 C. Bullock Rina 28I was lucky to get back alive and well. Man! It’s tagati there — uncanny. Black with witchcraft and queer things at night.
1976 S. Cloete Chetoko 180The horse is tagati, bewitched, and talks like a man.
A witch or wizard; a practitioner of evil magic; an evil-doer.
A spirit (usually evil).
Bewitched, under supernatural influence; magical.
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