Tonga, noun

Also Thonga.
Tsonga, ZuluShow more Either from an early form of a Tsonga word for this people, or from Zulu iThonga (plural amaThonga), umThonga (plural abaThonga) a member of this people (perhaps earlier meaning ‘blacksmith’, ‘metal-worker’, or the source of this meaning, the Tonga being at one stage noted for their metal-working skills). For an explanation of plural forms, see aba- and ama-.
1. Plural amaTonga, amaTongas, baTonga, or Tongas (always with initial or medial capital). Shangaan sense 1 a. Also attributive.
1852 Natal Mercury 25 Nov.The property of the Amatongas, together with the ivory of the traders, were seized by Panda.
1852 R.B. Struthers Hunting Jrnl (1991) 9We were joined by a trader..from the Amatonga country which lies N.E. from the Zulu country, leading to Delagoa Bay.
1856 R.B. Struthers Hunting Jrnl (1991) 98The Amatongas say they often think when they go into Delagoa — whether any of the young slaves they see are their children or relations.
1872 Cape Monthly Mag. IV. Feb. 117The Tonga does not own a single head of cattle.
1875 D. Leslie Among Zulus 242There are different tribes of Amatonga (Itonga the person, Amatonga the people — a general name for all the tribes thereabouts) in this country under different chiefs.
1877 F. Jeppe Tvl Bk Almanac & Dir. (1976) 29A line along the Lobombo to the Pongola, and from this river to Zungin’s Nek, and thence to Rorke’s Drift on the Buffalo River, divides the Transvaal from the Amatonga and Zulu Tribes.
1884 Cape Law Jrnl I. 223These are the Amaxosa Kafirs, Fingoes, Tembus, Amampondo, Xesibes, Zulus, Bayeiye, Baloquazi, Shangaans, Matabele, Amatonga or Batoka, Amasuazi, Interior Basuto tribes and those in the Transvaal Territory and Colonial Basutos.
1897 J. Bryce Impressions of S. Afr. 375The Tongas of the east coast.
1901 R. Rankin Subaltern’s Lett. to Wife (1930) 97The Swazis and the Amatongas are the Amorites and the Hittites over again.
1902 G.M. Theal Beginning of S. Afr. Hist. 211South of the Sabi river lived a tribe named the Batonga, whose outposts extended beyond Cape Correntes.
1937 J. Stevenson-Hamilton S. Afr. Eden 119Strong mutual mistrust between people belonging to different clans of the Bathonga, to say nothing of the feeling between all members of that tribe and the Swazis.
1949 O. Walker Proud Zulu (1951) 47The land of the mild amaTonga people who paid tribute to the Zulus and whom the Zulus spoke of contemptuously as ‘dogs’.
1964 G. Campbell Old Dusty 34Be glad that you are an umLunga and not a one-time Zulu who has now become a snuff-pounder for the amaTonga.
1982 E. Prov. Herald 24 JuneThe vast majority of people in the area were Tembe-Thongas or Zulus, except in the west where there were equal proportions of Zulus, Thongas and Swazi.
1985 Platzky & Walker Surplus People 92When the Land Act of 1913 confirmed that the land was Crown land for eventual occupation by whites, there was again no complaint from the Tongas as they were not told of the loss of their land.
1991 Merrett & Butcher Robert Struthers’s Hunting Jrnl 9Amatonga was the name used by the Zulu, and borrowed by the British, to refer to all the African groups between St. Lucia and Delagoa Bay.
2. Tsonga sense 2.
1941 Bantu World 29 Mar. 5The Thonga language is a Bantu language spoken by the people living in Zoutpansberg, Lydenberg, Waterberg, Pietersberg and Pretoria districts...Today..we are instructed to write Thonga in a very different way.
1950 H. Gibbs Twilight in S. Afr. 33The south-eastern groups have five group languages, Nguni, Sotho, Venda, Tonga, and Inhambane, among which fusion has occurred, the Tonga group, Ronga, Tonga and Tswa.
Shangaan1 a. Also attributive.
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