The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #79655 Message #1445695
Posted By: GUEST,Azizi
29-Mar-05 - 12:24 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza'
I am gratiful for Mrr for introducing the discussion of the origin of the term Bantu. In my online search to find out more about this term I lucked up on an online reproduction of the 1933 book "The Myths & Legends of the Bantu" by Alice Werner.
As an African storyteller and person interested in African cultures, I'm simply thrilled at the information found in that site! For me it's like Christmas and Kwanzaa in March!!
Here is the link if you also want to go exploring ;O)
And Joe, while I agree with you that no language is pure, I believe that fact does not negate the interest in and importance of etymology-the study of word origins and meanings.
In the case of 'Bantu', I still believe that it is a referent that comes from African language or languages and was later popularized by Whites as a referent for a racial group and their languages.
BTW: It is my custom to capitolize "Black" and "White" but I'm aware that these words aren't usually capitolized.
The taboo may be in using the term 'Bantu' as a term to refer to a race, instead of a term referring to a particularly large category of languages that share similarities. As this online book and others point out, there are diverse ethnic groups that are part of the 'Bantu racial' category. I suppose it's almost like [the same as?} saying 'European' without understanding that there are multiple ethnic groups within that generic term.
See this excerpt from that website:
"African experts may discover some inconsistency in the rendering of tribal names. One ought, I suppose, either to use the vernacular plural in every case, as in Basuto, Amandebele, Anyanja, or to discard the prefix and add an English plural, as in Zulus (too familiar a form to be dropped); but it did not seem possible to attain consistency throughout. …
It may not be superfluous to point out that the person-class in the Bantu languages has, in the singular, the prefix mu- (sometimes umu- or omu-, and sometimes shortened into m-) and, in the plural, ba- (aba-, va-, ova-, a-). The prefix ama- or ma-, sometimes found with tribal names, belongs to a different class. It is probably a plural of multitude (or 'collective plural'), which has displaced the ordinary form.
BANTU is now the generally accepted name for those natives of South Africa (the great majority) who are neither Hottentots nor Bushmen-that is to say, mainly, the Zulus, Xosas (Kafirs), Basuto, and Bechuana -to whom may be added the Thongas (Shangaans) of the Delagoa Bay region and the people of Southern Rhodesia, commonly, though incorrectly, called Mashona.
Abantu is the Zulu word for 'people' (in Sesuto batho, and in Herero ovandu) which was adopted by Bleek, at the suggestion of Sir George Grey, as the name for the great family of languages now known to cover practically the whole southern half of Africa. It had already been ascertained, by more than one scholar, that there was a remarkable resemblance between the speech of these South African peoples and that of the Congo natives on the one hand and of the Mozambique natives on the other. It was left for Bleek-who spent the last twenty years of his life at the Cape-to study these languages from a scientific point of view and systematize what was already known about them. His Comparative Grammar of South African Languages, though left unfinished when he died, in 1875, is the foundation of all later work done in this subject.
The Bantu languages possess a remarkable degree of uniformity. They may differ considerably in vocabulary, and to a certain extent in pronunciation, but their grammatical structure is, in its main outlines, everywhere the same. But to speak of a 'Bantu race' is misleading. The Bantu-speaking peoples vary greatly in physical type: some of them hardly differ from some of the 'Sudanic'-speaking Negroes of West Africa (who, again, are by no means all of one pattern), while others show a type which has been [incomplete]
[1. Most of these languages, which had long seemed to be a hopeless chaos, have been found to belong to one family, called by Professor Westermann the 'Sudanic.' Typical members of this family are Twi (spoken in the Gold Coast Colony), Ewe, and Yoruba.]
At any rate, I'm going to have fun reading and studying this book and encourage others to also do so!
Here is the Index for that book:
II. WHERE MAN CAME FROM, AND HOS DEATH CAME
III. LEGENDS OF THE HIGH GODS
IV. THE HEAVEN COUNTRY AND THE HEAVEN PEOPLE
V. MORTALS WHO HAVE ASCENDED TO HEAVEN
VI. THE GHOSTS AND THEGHOST COUNTRY
VII. THE AVENGER OF BLOOD
VIII. HEROES AND DEMI-GODS
IX. THE WAKILINDI SAGA
X. THE STORY OF LIONGO FUOMO
XI. THE TRICKSTERS HLAKANYANA ANDHUVEANE
XII. THE AMAZIMU
XIII. OF WERE-WOLVES,HALF-MEN, GNOMES, GOBLINS, AND OTHER MONSTERS
XIV. THE SWALLOWING MONSTER
XV. LIGHTNING, THUNDER, RAIN, AND THERAINBOW
XVI. DOCTORS, PROPHETS, AND WITCHES
XVII. BRER RABBIT IN AFRICA
XVIII. LEGENDS OF THETORTOISE
XIX STORIES OF SOME OTHER ANIMALS
XX. SOME STORIES WHICH HAVE TRAVELLED