Definition of umfundisi in English:



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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Thebu is living with umfundisi and is preparing to be a minister.’
    • ‘Reverend Kumalo, the main character, is addressed as umfundisi many times in the book.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The umfundisi's traumatic journey to Johannesburg rings true to her.’
    • ‘Stephen Kumalo, a black umfundisi, lives in rural South Africa; his children have moved to Johannesburg.’


Early 19th century: from Xhosa and Zulu.