1836N. IsaacsTrav. (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.
1850J.E. MethleyNew 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.
1852R.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.
1852R.B. StruthersHunting Jrnl (1991) 14A man & his wife were murdered by their own son...On asking why he killed them they said they were ‘Amatagati’.
1854R.B. StruthersHunting 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.
1866W.C. HoldenPast & Future 287At a certain kraal, some one is suspected of being an umtakati, that is, ‘evil doer,’ or ‘witch’.
1887J.W. MatthewsIncwadi 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.
1893B.M. Atheling inCape Illust. Mag. Jan. 158I had the usual contempt for witchdoctors (Umtagati).
1898B. MitfordInduna’s Wife 75It is not good among us for a man to have a name for dealings with abatagati.
1911Blackburn & CaddellSecret Service 66Tell him, Mr Interpreter,..that the Government employs a whole staff of ‘abatagati,’ who know what you thieves are doing.
1948E. HellmannRooiyard 105He maintains..that the European doctor is powerless to combat an illness which is due to ‘poisoning’ by an umthakathi.
1966A.T. BryantZulu 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’.
1967O. WalkerHippo Poacher 8Zulu lore about mtakatis, or wizards.
1974C.T. BinnsWarrior 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.
1980M. Matshoba inM. MutloatseForced 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.
1852H. Fynn inJ. BirdAnnals of Natal (1888) I. 107‘Tagata’ includes every species of crime committed by the Kafir.
1860A.W. DraysonSporting 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.
1899A. WernerCaptain 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.
1908D. BlackburnLeaven 154The mothers meeting dissolved with a jerk...The mothers rushed off the veranda yelling ‘Tagata! Tagata!’ (Witchcraft!).
1929J. Stevenson-HamiltonLow-Veld 229All natives wear amulets against takati, such as pieces of tree root, small bones,..or other portions of wild animals.
1937C. BirkbyZulu Journey 232A grey-bearded native who spoke to me of mtagati, the magic of the place.
1949P.J. PretoriusJungle Man 74I didn’t kill a single hippo that day —..was it tagati — black magic?
1954A. SegalJhb. Friday 12He handled the receiver as though it smacked of tagati, of magic.
1977S. 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.
1981Bona Jan. 45Why will this beast not be scared off? Is this tagati?
1987Pace Oct. 4He decided to settle in this ubuthakathi-riddled continent.
B.adjectiveForms: 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.
1885H. Rider HaggardKing 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).
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