Definition of Thembu in English:


(also Tembu)


  • A member of a Xhosa-speaking people originating in present-day KwaZulu-Natal and now living in the Transkei.

    • ‘All Thembus were free to come - and a great many did, on horseback or on foot.’
    • ‘The king of the Tembus was told by a high court judge here yesterday that he would be treated like anyone else facing charges, regardless of who he was.’
    • ‘Four Clarke generations lived among the Thembu before Broster, as a young bride, moved to the village of Qebe in 1952 to run a family store.’
    • ‘Only two protested at meetings in their own tribal areas - Paramount Chief Sabata Dalindyebo of the Tembu and Paramount Chief Victor Poto of the Western Pondo.’
    • ‘The last Paramount Chief of the Tembus, Jongolizwe Mtirara, died in July 1928, four months before Sabata Dalindyebo was born.’
    • ‘Broster noted that the Thembu were reluctant to sell beadwork.’
    • ‘Her later books lack the detail of her books on the Thembu.’


  • Relating to the Thembu.

    • ‘Here Tembu goalkeeper Andile Sakhile was magnificent.’
    • ‘Broster's work provides detailed evidence of how status could be read from dress in Thembu society.’
    • ‘Sheep-shearing was also often done by migrant Mfengu and Thembu men.’
    • ‘Born in Qunu, Transkei, on 18 July 1918, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was descended from the Thembu royal lineage.’
    • ‘And on this day, kings, queens and chiefs from those clans gather to honor a Thembu son with their symbol of bravery.’
    • ‘As Thembu men and women aged, their beadwork remained predominantly navy and white, but now contrasted with pink.’
    • ‘He was then cared for by his uncle, Jongintaba Dalindyebo, chief of the Thembu people.’
    • ‘In 1910 he became the only African ever elected to a seat on the Cape Provincial Council (representing the Thembu people).’
    • ‘There she studied Thembu traditions, developed a passion for beadwork, and collected and annotated local costumes that demonstrate how minutely beadwork mapped social identity within this Xhosa-speaking community.’
    • ‘The writings of Mandela often assert the rich and proud history of the Thembu monarchy.’
    • ‘A typical Thembu cultural village could be established, and a library or museum provided to showcase and market the historical and cultural heritage of the local communities.’
    • ‘Bereaved family members could not see their loved ones being buried as the Tembu custom forbids women from witnessing the burial of lightning victims.’


From Xhosa umThembu.