Definition of umfundisi in English:



South African
  • (among speakers of Xhosa and Zulu) a teacher, priest, or missionary.

    • ‘The Swazi crow is a large black bird with a white collar and he is also called umfundisi, because he looks like a Catholic priest.’
    • ‘Stephen Kumalo, a black umfundisi, lives in rural South Africa; his children have moved to Johannesburg.’
    • ‘The umfundisi's traumatic journey to Johannesburg rings true to her.’
    • ‘Reverend Kumalo, the main character, is addressed as umfundisi many times in the book.’
    • ‘Thebu is living with umfundisi and is preparing to be a minister.’
    • ‘He is the predikant who questions the teachings of the bible, the teacher who desires that his students unravel his puzzles, the umfundisi for whom knowledge is powerful but always elusive.’


Early 19th century: from Xhosa and Zulu.