Date: 18 June 2015 Read: 2029
I would like to understand why a Limpopo-based newspaper would run a story under the headline “Muti”. My understanding of the word is that this is a Zulu word with a similar meaning to the Tshivenda word, “Mushonga”.
I believe that the newspaper, being based in Limpopo and the story having happened in Venda, should have used a more relevant word that we can associate with.
Hope my concern is sound and future use of wording can nicely be chosen.
- Godfrey Musoliwa
You are correct when stating the origin of the word. It is derived from the isiZulu word “umuthi”, which means “plant or medicine”. The word, however, has been fully incorporated in most southern African languages as far north as Lake Tanganyika. A more correct spelling would probably be “muthi”, but the spelling was influenced by various other language conventions.
I am not sure whether the word “mushonga” would have the exact same meaning. The word “muti” has become such an integral part of the local vocabulary (i.e. soccer players using muti before a match), that I think it will be confusing to substitute it.
Perhaps some of our other readers can help? - Editor
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