Definition of Nguni in English:


Pronunciation /əNGˈɡo͞onē/ /əŋˈɡuni/


  • 1A member of a group of peoples living mainly in southern Africa.

    ‘Southern tribes include the Tsonga, the Karanga, the Chopi, the Shona, and the Nguni.’
    • ‘About three-quarters of the clan groups are Nguni; the remainder are Sotho and Tsonga.’
    • ‘An additional 24 African DNA samples (from the Nguni, Sotho-Tswanga, and Tsonga groups of South Africa) were provided by H. Soodyall.’
    • ‘After you have looked at the whole poster, visit the SAAO web-site where they tell us the full story of the legends of the San, the Sotho, the Nguni, the Tswana and so on.’
    • ‘The arrival of the Nguni, a people with numerous cattle herds and great thirst for land, put the Bushman under great stress and severe disadvantage.’
    • ‘Legend has it that the Nguni believed the sudden darkness that fell as they crossed the Zambezi into Mozambique was a bad omen, if not a curse of Shaka Zulu.’
    • ‘The Nguni, ancestors of the Zulu and Xhosa, occupied most of the eastern coast by 1500.’
  • 2The group of closely related Bantu languages, including Ndebele, Swazi, Xhosa, and Zulu, spoken by the Nguni.

    ‘The population of South Africa is made up of the indigenous inhabitants who speak two major Bantu languages, Nguni and Sotho, and European settlers, consisting mainly of Dutch and English.’
    • ‘Outside in the garden is a peace pole, a two-metre high cement pole with four messages on each edge, in four different languages: Nguni, English, Sotho and Chinese.’
    • ‘The two guys also file their stories in vernacular, i.e. Nguni as well as in SeSotho.’


  • Relating to the Nguni or their languages.

    ‘We are supposed to sing this insulting hymn of surrender in FOUR languages - two Nguni languages, Afrikaans and English - and no other country I can think of, or any you could tell me of, has sunk so low!’
    • ‘Zambia was settled by Nguni people in flight from Zululand in 1835, but was also subject throughout much of the 19th century to Arab slave-traders.’
    • ‘Black Umfolosi exemplifies the mbubu tradition of Nguni vocals and harmony sung a cappella.’
    • ‘Even birds that fly the highest have to come down to drink, says the old Nguni proverb, and the Standard Bank Jazz Festival at the National Arts Festival (in Grahamstown from June 30 to July 9) is a preferred watering hole for top jazz birds.’
    • ‘While the multiple groups that came to form the Zulu nation shared a common Nguni culture, there were distinctive local variations in pronunciation of words and in cultural customs.’
    • ‘Ama-Mpondo were never, at any time in the history of the Nguni people, subjugated into the rule of Ama-Xhosa as is the case with some ethnic groups during the reign of Tshaka, in what is known as Mfecane.’
    • ‘‘This is Nomkhubulwane, the female Goddess worshipped by the Nguni people,’ Letlhake explains pointing at a huge statue in front of us.’
    • ‘In any case, the name ‘Kapa’ has never been used by Nguni speakers to refer to the former Cape Province.’
    • ‘‘Umhlangano’, as the show is titled takes its cue from the Nguni word for meeting.’
    • ‘In the early nineteenth century a young Zulu prince, Shaka, came onto the scene and welded most of the Nguni tribes into the powerful Zulu Kingdom.’
    • ‘SiSwati, a Southern Bantu language, is a member of the Nguni subgroup.’
    • ‘But in the holy dance, wearers of old-style North Nguni folk attire were still a minority.’
    • ‘Among Nguni and Sotho speakers, 72% said that they were not the slightest bit interested in mucking around in pyjamas.’
    • ‘Our illiterate parents, who have ensured that their children obtain the education they have today, have only 30 minutes of watching television a day, and that is during news time on Nguni or Sotho channels.’
    • ‘The first wave had little impact but the arrival of Nguni and Sotho peoples 800 years ago substantially changed power balances in the eastern part of the country.’
    • ‘It is a tonal Bantu language of the Nguni group, closely related to Zulu.’
    • ‘His grandson, Sobhuza I, unified the resident Nguni and Sotho people within a central government.’
    • ‘Fleming, who worked in the UK, awarded a R5 million grant to the University of Fort Hare's Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences in 2003 to establish an Nguni Research Institute.’
    • ‘Still others contend that the origins of Nguni and Zulu collective-tribal music can be found even further back in history.’
    • ‘This Zulu chief conquered the Nguni peoples between the Tugela and Pongola rivers in the beginning of the 19th century, and created a militaristic kingdom.’


From Zulu.