umshologu, noun

Forms:
Formerly also shuluga.
Plurals:
imishologu.
Origin:
Xhosa
Among Xhosa-speakers: an ancestral spirit, believed to be either helpful or evil, depending on how it is treated. See also itongo.
1827 J. Brownlee in T. Pringle Ephemerides (1828) 186The Caffers believe in a Supreme Being, to whom they give the appellation of Uhlanga (Supreme,)...The spirit they call Shuluga.
1842 R. Godlonton Sketches of E. Districts 230The name given by the frontier tribes to signify a being of the invisible world, is umshologu, and by the back tribes umnyanya. Both of these words have the same signification, namely, the spirits of departed friends; which they profess to believe are often sent to minister to them; and hence in great emergencies they frequently invoke their aid.
1866 W.C. Holden Past & Future 293This girl..professed to hear strange and superhuman sounds beneath her feet, which were interpreted by the prophet to signify that the imishologu were holding council; the result of which was, solemn and peremptory instructions from the region of ghosts, that the people must destroy their cattle and their corn.
1891 T.R. Beattie Pambaniso 221Sacrifices were made to the Imishologu, or ghosts of ancestors, who, it was supposed, might have taken offence at neglect.
1907 W.C. Scully By Veldt & Kopje 297A few of the bolder spirits,..steal along..taking cover..and listening fearfully lest the restless ‘imishologu’ — the spirits of the wicked ones who have died violently — should be unseasonably awake.
1923 W.C. Scully Daniel Vananda 48The Natives believe that when the generation of gases cause a dead body to swell, a spiritual entity — an ‘umshologu’ is in process of gestation, and if this is permitted to develop until it makes its escape through the decayed tissues, it will have attained conscious individuality and may revenge itself on the slayer.
1947 E.R. Seary S. Afr. Short StoriesGlossary, Imishologu, (Bantu): ancestral spirit, ghost, which needs to be propitiated.
1950 A.W. Burton Sparks from Border Anvil 178The ‘ghost’ or ‘umshologu’ of the greatest Chief must never be offended nor frustrated.
1975 F.G. Butler Informant, GrahamstownMy maid..says there is no difference between isinyanya and imishologu. Both are ‘the old people’. It is only on second thoughts that she added ‘the dead people’.
an ancestral spirit, believed to be either helpful or evil, depending on how it is treated.
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