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Treated as plural. Especially among the Nguni peoples: witches or wizards as a class; practitioners of evil magic.
Mid 19th century. From Xhosa abathakathi and its cognate Zulu abathakathi practitioners of magic collectively from aba-, plural class prefix + thakathi witch, wizard. Compare Xhosa umthakathi, Zulu umthakathi an individual witch or wizard, and also Zulu ubuthakathi witchcraft.
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