The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #79655   Message #1445540
Posted By: GUEST,Azizi
28-Mar-05 - 11:47 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'

I am interested in knowing the source{s} for your comment that in most Bantu languages, the word "Bantu" is an insult".

Here is a quote from the well regarded book on African culture, Janheinz Jahn, "Muntu, The New African Culture" {New York, Grove Press, 1968; originally published in German in 1958}:

"In his exposition of the philosophy of the Bantu of Ruanda,[Alexis]Kangame starts from his mother tongue of Kinyanuanda. Like all Bantu languages, it is a language of classification, that is, the substantives are not divided as they are in German into grammatical gendres but are grouped into kinds or classes. There are classes for human beings, for things animated by magic, including trees, for tools, fluids, animals, places abstractions and so forth....So we get in simplifed form four basic concepts which are to be explained in what follows:
I. Muntu = 'human being' {plural: Bantu];
II. Kintu = 'thing' {plural: Bintu};
III.Hantu = 'place and time';
IV. Kuntu = modality

Muntu, Kintu, Hantu, and Kuntu are the four categories of African philosphy. All being, all essence, in what ever form it is conceived, can be subsumed under one of these categories. Nothing can be conceived outside them...Everything there is must necessarily belong to one of these four categories and must be conceived of not as substance but as force. Man is a force, all things are force, place an time are forces and the 'modalities' ae forces. Man and woman {category Muntu}, dog and stone {category Kintu}, east and yesterday {category Hantu}; and beauty and laughter {category Kuntu} are forces and as such are all related to each other. The relationship of these forces is expressed by their very names, for if we remove the determinative the stem NYU is the same for all caegories...NTU is Being itself, the cosmic universal force..."

end of quote..

Music, dance, theater, art are part of the 'Kuntu' category.
It so happens that Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania {where I have lived for 35 years} has one of the oldest-if not the oldest- continuously existing African American theater groups associated with a university. The group's name is 'Kuntu Reperatory Theater'.