nounhistorical South African
With singular and plural concord. In traditional Nguni societies: the council or inner circle of advisers of a chief or other eminent person; the members of this council, regarded collectively. Also: (in singular) a member of such a council, a trusted and influential adviser (rare).
Mid 19th century. From Xhosa amaphakathi, plural from ama- plural class prefix + -phakathi.