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 Explaining Amabutho in one word??

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Simonsole



Posts : 12
Join date : 2020-06-14

Explaining Amabutho in one word?? Empty
PostSubject: Explaining Amabutho in one word??   Explaining Amabutho in one word?? EmptySun Sep 06, 2020 10:14 am

I wonder if there are suggestions of the right English word for Amabutho and impi. The latter seems simple to translate; regiment. An impi is somewhat large for a regiment in most armies but well understood by civilians.

Amabutho, as we understand it was where groups of age based Zulu men were gathered to live work and train pending military service and then marriage. Our candidate words include:

militia. Seems close since it is basically military but has a more civilian connection. But it does not capture that the men had already been moved from their original homes, families and clans. Most militias are normal citizens when not serving and that is not the case here.

clan; clearly wrong since it was precisely to dilute clan identity that Amabutho were formed.

guilds. lacks military connotation.

( to be clear the word Amabutho in our script will be spoken in Zulu and then translated as Amabutho but we then want put an explanation in brackets afterwards. most viewers will not understand what Amabutho means)


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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

Posts : 7741
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 74
Location : Cape Town South Africa

Explaining Amabutho in one word?? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Explaining Amabutho in one word??   Explaining Amabutho in one word?? EmptySun Sep 06, 2020 5:07 pm

David Jackson in Hill of the sphinx looks at the force that attacked iSandlwana and breaks it down as:
Companies, Regiments and Corps or Brigades.
The Undi Corps for instance was composed of 4 regiments, each regiment composed of between 50 and 20 companies and each company having approx 40 members.
The companies were age grouped and would be the Amabuthu you refer to.
Hope that helps.
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ADMIN

ADMIN

Posts : 4175
Join date : 2008-11-01
Age : 62
Location : KENT

Explaining Amabutho in one word?? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Explaining Amabutho in one word??   Explaining Amabutho in one word?? EmptySun Sep 06, 2020 7:40 pm

Amabutho = Soldiers
Amabutho Ahlomile = Armed Forces.

Impi = Army
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John Young

John Young

Posts : 2244
Join date : 2013-09-08
Age : 65
Location : Lower Sheering, Essex

Explaining Amabutho in one word?? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Explaining Amabutho in one word??   Explaining Amabutho in one word?? EmptySun Sep 06, 2020 9:15 pm

Simon,

The Zulu army of 1879 was a trained citizen militia called to arms at the behest of their king.

The Zulu singular word for a regiment is ibutho, each ibutho was subdivided into amaviyo which best translates to companies.

The word amabutho best translates to regiments.

JY
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Simonsole



Posts : 12
Join date : 2020-06-14

Explaining Amabutho in one word?? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Explaining Amabutho in one word??   Explaining Amabutho in one word?? EmptySun Sep 06, 2020 9:27 pm

Thank you everyone for these comments which are all helpful. Thank you. So little space in the script each word must count!!
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

Posts : 7741
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 74
Location : Cape Town South Africa

Explaining Amabutho in one word?? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Explaining Amabutho in one word??   Explaining Amabutho in one word?? EmptyMon Sep 07, 2020 7:28 am

Morning John
I would suggest that amabuthu is just a plural of ibuthu rather than a regiment, two or more ibuthu wouldnt really make a regiment just amabuthu?
Complex language in its simplicity.
Regards
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John Young

John Young

Posts : 2244
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Location : Lower Sheering, Essex

Explaining Amabutho in one word?? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Explaining Amabutho in one word??   Explaining Amabutho in one word?? EmptyMon Sep 07, 2020 8:04 am

Frank,

Sorry you lost me there?

Before I answered I sought the advice of a Zulu linguist, and he thought the best understandable translation of ibutho would be regiment, thus amabutho becomes regiments.

I think Simon is merely trying to put the simplest terms for his non-Zulu speaking audience.

JY
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

Posts : 7741
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 74
Location : Cape Town South Africa

Explaining Amabutho in one word?? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Explaining Amabutho in one word??   Explaining Amabutho in one word?? EmptyMon Sep 07, 2020 10:25 am

My linguist thought the best description would have been "A bunch of blokes getting together to bugger up the Brits." Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

Cheers Mate
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John Young

John Young

Posts : 2244
Join date : 2013-09-08
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Location : Lower Sheering, Essex

Explaining Amabutho in one word?? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Explaining Amabutho in one word??   Explaining Amabutho in one word?? EmptyMon Sep 07, 2020 11:34 am

Frank,

In the words of the Pretoria-born actor who appeared in Zulu. “No comedians please.”

JY Joker Joker Joker
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SRB1965

SRB1965

Posts : 879
Join date : 2017-05-13
Age : 56
Location : Uttoxeter - the last place God made and he couldn't be bothered to finish it.....

Explaining Amabutho in one word?? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Explaining Amabutho in one word??   Explaining Amabutho in one word?? EmptyMon Sep 07, 2020 11:49 am

Hmmm....I see the difficulty....it was the equivalent of the UK National Service......with the older men being the reservists - living at home but liable for call up in nation crisis.

Were the Zulus were in fact conscripts? - they don't seem to have had a choice but to go (even though it was seen as a civil duty - I'm sure some didn't want to go).

Military service?

Ta

Sime
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