uhlanga, noun

Forms:
u-hlanga, UthlangaShow more Also u-hlanga, Uthlanga, Utlanga.
Origin:
Zulu, Xhosa, Show more Zulu uhlanga reed, original stem, stock, ancestry; the word has been found in similar senses in Xhosa, and some uses may be derived from Xhosa umhlanga first ancestor.
obs.
Among Xhosa- and Zulu-speakers: the reed clump or primal source of being from which the first human ancestor is said to have emerged; the traditional supreme being. See also Unkulunkulu sense 1.
1827 G. Thompson Trav. 352The Caffers believe in a Supreme Being, to whom they give the appellation of Uhlanga (Supreme).
1828 T. Pringle Ephemerides 180He told them that he was sent by Uhlanga, the Great Spirit, to avenge their wrongs.
1829 C. Rose Four Yrs in Sn Afr. 145When the kraal is struck by lightning, the site is either deserted, or an ox burnt on the spot, or buried beneath it, as an offering to the incensed spirit of the kraal, or to Uhlanga, the spirit of thunder.
1841 B. Shaw Memorials 41Of a Divine Being, (whom they call Uhlanga or Supreme,) they have some distinct notion.
1846 R. Moffat Missionary Labours 68Uhlanga is also used by the Kafirs to denote a Supreme Being.
1857 J. Shooter Kafirs of Natal 159The Kafirs of Natal and the Zulu-country have preserved the tradition of a Being whom they call the Great-Great and the First Appearer or Exister...Creation was effected by splitting a reed, when the first man and other things issued from the cleft...U-hlanga signifies origin as well as reed.
1875 D. Leslie Among Zulus 148The first man, who they say ‘tore them out of the reeds,’ Uhlanga, literally, ‘reed’, they use for ‘custom’.
1870 H. Callaway Religious System of Amazulu 2Uthlanga is a reed, strictly speaking, one which is capable of ‘stooling’, throwing out offsets. It thus comes, metaphorically, to mean a source of being.
1925 D. Kidd Essential Kafir 101Brownlee tells us that Uthlanga simply means supreme, and that Utixo means beautiful.
the reed clump or primal source of being from which the first human ancestor is said to have emerged; the traditional supreme being.
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18271925