Tembu, noun and & adjective

Forms:
Tambo, TembéShow more Also Tambo, Tembé, Tembo, Temboo, Tembou, Thembu, Tymbæ.
Plurals:
unchanged, Tembus, AbaTembu, AmaTembu, or occasionally Amatembus.
Origin:
XhosaShow more Xhosa Thembu. For an explanation of plural forms, see ama-.
A. noun
1.
a. A member of a Xhosa-speaking people which moved southwards and westwards from what is now KwaZulu-Natal (probably during the 16th century), and became established in present-day Tembuland (see sense b), in the Transkei; a member of one division of this people, occasionally called the Emigrant Tembu, who fled before invading peoples and settled round the sources of the Swart and White Kei rivers (the present-day Queenstown district of the Eastern Cape), being removed in 1852 to the Glen Grey district, in western Transkei; occasionally, the form of Xhosa spoken by this people (see quotation 1838); Tambookie noun sense 1 a.
Note:
The Tembu people consists of eight chiefdoms.
1809 R. Collins in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1900) VII. 20The Tambookie people..are known to their neighbours by the names Temboo and Tenjain.
1828 T. Pringle Ephemerides 196The Country of the Amatymbæ, or Tambookie Caffers.
1828 W. Shaw in A. Steedman Wanderings (1835) II. 262There are four entirely distinct nations, who all speak the Caffer language, and occupy a belt of beautiful country, extending along the coast from the Colony to Port Natal. The Amakosa, commonly called Caffers; the Amatembo, called Tambookies; the Amabambo, called Mambookies; and the Amaponda.
1838 J.E. Alexander Exped. into Int. II. 166The Amakosa and Tembé languages..are different dialects of the same language.
1838 R. Haddy in B. Shaw Memorials (1841) 244Clarkebury..has afforded much pleasure to those who have watched the introduction and establishment of Christianity among the Abatembu.
1838 J.E. Alexander Exped. into Int. II. 166It will be seen how little similarity there is between the Damara and Namaqua languages, and again how much they differ from the Amakosa and Tembe languages, which last are different dialects of the same language.
c1847 H.H. Dugmore in J. Maclean Compendium of Kafir Laws (1906) 8The Abatembu formerly occupied the whole of the country between the Bashee and the Umtata; but..nearly the whole tribe has migrated to the country watered by the upper branches of the Kei.
1852 M.B. Hudson S. Afr. Frontier Life p.viiMacomo..attacked and murdered some ‘Amatembus’ or Tambookies; another branch of the Kafir race, considered the most royal in blood, and from whom, by intermarriage, the Amakosae head chiefs must, according to Kafir law, be descended.
1853 F.P. Fleming Kaffraria 121These people belong to the second subdivision of the first Great branch of the Kaffir nation — namely, the Abatembu, under the chieftainship of Umtitata.
1866 W.C. Holden Past & Future 142According to the annexed table, it will be seen that the Abatembu, or Tembookie tribe, is paramount, being the oldest or great stock of the tree.
1871 J. Mackenzie Ten Yrs N. of Orange River 484The oldest, or parent tribe, the Abatembu or Tembookies, treasures in its memory, as many as eighteen chiefs — taking us back, according to recent computation, to about A.D. 1400.
1880 Grocott’s Penny Mail 24 Dec. (Suppl.) 1Fighting was over at 5 p.m. the Tembus being beating [sic] off at all points.
1901 Natives of S. Afr. (S. Afr. Native Races Committee) 48Dalindyebo, paramount chief of the Thembus,..inoculated his cattle against rinderpest in 1897, in obedience to the Government.
1912 Ayliff & Whiteside Hist. of Abambo 4Madikana and his people..were attacked by a combined force of the Tembus and Xosas.
1936 Cambridge Hist. of Brit. Empire VIII. 303From about 1820 onwards waves of refugees, who were at the same time raiders, began to appear: for example the Bacas and the Fetcani or Fingos, or new migrations like that of the Tembus, generally known at the time as ‘Tambookies’.
1949 J. Mockford Golden Land 118Five main tribes inhabit the Transkei — the Xosa, Tembu, Baca, Pondo and Fingo. They occupy an area roughly the size of Switzerland and total, according to the 1946 census, 1,300,000.
1967 J.A. Broster Red Blanket Valley 4The Thembu, one of the chief tribes of the Transkei, were never conquered: they asked the European traders to settle. Later they accepted European administration, and gave allegiance to Queen Victoria. They are proud and dignified people and have always lived in friendship with us.
1979 Sunday Post 26 Apr. 1The King of the Tembus, Chief Sabata Dalindyebo.
1981 J.B. Peires House of Phalo 43In most recorded royal marriages, the Great Wife was a Thembu, from the nation with which the Xhosa was most often in contact.
1986 P. Maylam Hist. of Afr. People 96In 1830..there were three main groupings, loosely defined, among the southern Nguni. In the south-west were the Xhosa...In the north-east the Mpondo chiefdom..was dominant. The Thembu occupied the central region, albeit somewhat uneasily.
1990 Newsweek 19 Feb. 24When he (sc. Mandela) was 10 years old his father died; an uncle, the paramount chief of the Tembus, assumed responsibility for his education.
b. combinations
Tembu Church, an independent church which broke away from the Methodist Church in the Transkei in 1884, under the leadership of the Rev. Nehemiah Tile;
Tembuland, the area occupied by the Tembu people: (a) the uplands of the south-western Transkei (in the Eastern Cape Province), between the Kei and Umtata rivers; (b) historical, an extensive area in the division of Queenstown in the Eastern Cape Province; in both senses formerly called Tambookieland (see Tambookie noun sense 1 b).
1893 S. Afr. Methodist 25 Mar. 137The Tile following — known as the Tembu Church — was about to become an inconvenience to others. The Wesleyan body acted at once...They resolved that a body of their Native men of wisdom should deal with the matter.
1961 B.G.M. Sundkler Bantu Prophets 38As Tile was criticized by a European missionary because of his strong Tembu-nationalistic sympathies, he left the [Wesleyan Mission] church in 1882. Two years later he formed the ‘Tembu Church’, with Ngangelizwe, the Chief of the Tembu, as its visible head.
1986 P. Maylam Hist. of Afr. People 161African independent churches in South Africa date back to the 1880’s when the Thembu Church was founded in the Transkei by a Wesleyan minister, Nehemiah Tile.
1937 B.J.F. Laubscher Sex, Custom & Psychopathology 210Since most of my field-work was done in Tembuland, I shall confine myself to my personal observations and investigations among the Tembus.
1975 Ethnic Composition of Ciskei & Transkei (Dept of Bantu Admin., Ethnological Publ. No.53)He was buried beside the Msana, a tributary of the Bashee River in the Umtata District in the present Thembuland.
1977 T.R.H. Davenport S. Afr.: Mod. Hist. 99The gradual incorporation in the Colony of the Transkei between 1879 and 1894: Fingoland, Idutywa and Griqualand East in 1879, Port St Johns in 1894, Thembuland, Gcalekaland and Bomvanaland in 1885, [etc.].
1989 Reader’s Digest Illust. Hist. of S. Afr. 285The first [independent church] breakaway occurred in 1884 in Tembuland in the Eastern Cape.
1989 J.B. Peires Dead Will Arise 274Fadana had been chased into the ‘Tambookie Location’ along with all his neighbours after the War of Mlanjeni. He was living the quiet life of a minor chief..when Nongqawuse’s prophecies were heard in Thembuland.
2. obsolete. With small initial. A type of bead used for trading. Also attributive.
1832 J. Collett Diary. I. 24 May63lb Tambo beads @ 2/-.
1832 Graham’s Town Jrnl 24 Aug. 138He exchanges it (sc. ivory) principally for beads. In April 1832, he preferred blood red and rose colored ones, but in the absence of such, he would accept the white tembos, when not too small, and also the dark-blue.
B. adjective Of or pertaining to the Tembu people; Tambookie adjective.
1827 G. Thompson Trav. 349A Tambookie Caffer is termed Tymba or Tembu, while the tribe collectively is called Amatymbae.
1835 A. Steedman Wanderings I. 261The indolent habits of the Amakosa and Amatembou tribes, who leave the cultivation of their lands entirely to the female part of the community, while the men lead a pastoral life in attending their cattle.
1843 J.C. Chase Cape of G.H. 32The country of the Amatembu or Tambookie tribes.
1851 R.J. Garden Diary. I. (Killie Campbell Africana Library MS29081) 30 JuneBy birth he is a Tambookie or one of the Amatembu Tribe.
1860 W. Shaw Story of my Mission 498The respective great Chiefs of the Amampondo, Abatembu, and Amaxosa natives.
1872 Wesleyan Missionary Reports 79Should peace continue a few years between the Ponda and Tembu tribes, we may calculate on this becoming the centre of a wide and extensive field of usefulness.
1934 D.D.T. Jabavu in Lovedale Sol-Fa Leaflet No.17 4The late Enoch Sontonga (of the Mpinga clan among the Tembu tribes) was a teacher in one of the Methodist Mission Schools.
1976 R.L. Peteni Hill of Fools 2The river is not safe. Thembu boys sometimes cross over to our side.
1987 Learn & Teach No.5, 1Nelson Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in the village of Qunu, near Umtata in the Transkei. His father, Henry Mgadla Mandela, was a chief of the Tembu people.
1990 City Press 11 Feb. 6He (sc. Mandela) is looked upon by his Aba-Tembu tribesmen as a political messiah who will come back one day to liberate them.
A member of a Xhosa-speaking people which moved southwards and westwards from what is now KwaZulu-Natal (probably during the 16th century), and became established in present-day Tembuland (see b), in the Transkei; a member of one division of this people, occasionally called the Emigrant Tembu, who fled before invading peoples and settled round the sources of the Swart and White Kei rivers (the present-day Queenstown district of the Eastern Cape), being removed in 1852 to the Glen Grey district, in western Transkei; occasionally, the form of Xhosa spoken by this people (see quotation 1838); Tambookienoun1 a.
A type of bead used for trading. Also attributive.
Of or pertaining to the Tembu people; Tambookieadjective.
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18091990