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From the name of Soshangani, the leader of the Revolt against Chaka Zulu, who fled to Zimbabwe. Alternatively from Zulu: shangane: a wanderer.

Proper noun[edit]


  1. An African tribe or clan or nation.
  2. The language of the Shangaan.
    • There are up to 14 minority dialects in the country, which include Kalanga spoken in Bulilimamangwe district in Matabeleland South, Hwesa in the Nyanga district, Sotho in Gwanda South, Shangani in Chiredzi, Chitoko-Tonga (Mudzi Tonga) in Mudzi district, Venda in Beitbridge and Tonga in the Binga, Omay and Nyaminyami districts. - 18k -


Shangaan (plural Shangani or Shangans)

  1. A member of this tribe.

Usage notes[edit]

Shang is a sub standard spelling of the plural. Shangani is the preferred plural. Shangans is an alternative accepted plural.


  • Branford, Jean (ed.), 1976, A Dictionary of South African English.