Earth’s story encompasses events in Germany, England, America, and South Africa between 1740 and 1838 and their reverberation in the lives of Marie, Lanier, and Clayton in the US and South Africa in 1999. The search for historical and ecological connections takes a reader into often unknown territory, so here are some suggestions for pronunciation of names and terms and something about their meaning. Many of these names and terms have received several different spellings in the course of their literary life.
For historical background consult the titles mentioned in the Discussion Group Guide.
Ani-Yunwi-ya – Cherokee for “principal people,” or “primary (original) people.”
Apartheid – (pron. Apar-tayt). System of racial-ethnic segregation in South Africa instated between 1948 and 1994.
Dingane (Dingaan) – Shaka’s brother and assassin. Ruler of Zulus until 1838.
Duyukta – Cherokee word for “path of harmony,” or “way of right relationship.”
Kaffir – Originally from the Arabic for “infidel,” but became a deeply derogatory term used by Europeans about South Africa’s native peoples. The American equivalent is nigger. Both are excluded today from civil discourse.
Mthetwa – (pron. Mmtay-twa) Ethnic group (ama-Mthetwa) from the region presently lying between South Africa and Mozambique. They were absorbed into the Zulu nation under Shaka.
Mzili – (pron. Mm-zeelee). Thembinkosi’s lover.
Nanye-hi – (pron. Nan-ye-hee). “Nancy” in Cherokee. Valentine Trask’s second wife.
Ndwandwe – [pron “N-dwan-dway) The amaNdwandwe are Thembinkosi’s people. Often in conflict with the Mthetwa, they are drawn into Shaka’s empire.
Nokuthula – (pron. Noku-too-lah). “Mother of peace,” Thembinkosi’s friend at the slave lodge in Cape Town.
Nomkhulbulwana – (pron. Nohm-kool-bool-wana). “Great Princess of the Heavens” associated with fields and harvest, especially the production of corn and with it, of beer. Thembinkosi draws on her powers through her prayers.
Nunnehi – (pron. Noo-ne-hee). The little spirit people of the forest in Cherokee myth and legend.
Shaka (Tschaka) – Consolidator and military ruler of the Zulu peoples 1816-1828.
Thembinkosi – (pron. Tembee-en-koh-si) “trust in the Lord/God.” Woman’s name of Zulu and Xhosa origin.
Tsalagi – Western pronounciation of Cherokee. The “l” and “r” sounds tend to converge in traditional usage.
Umhlabati – (pron. Mm-shla-bah-tee). The Earth, in Zulu tradition. Thembinkosi speaks often with Umhlabati.
Unkulunkulu – (pron. Nn-koo-loo-koo-loo). The Great Great One. God above all gods, in Zulu culture.