English, Show more Shortened form of English brother; bl- forms result from the regular change of /r/ to /l/ found when English words are used in the Nguni languages.
1. Mainly in urban (especially township) usage: ‘Brother’: an informal or familiar title, used with a first name, nickname, or full name, usually when speaking to or of a black man.Cf. boet sense 2, mfowethu sense 1, sisnoun2.
1956Drum Apr. 61Story by ‘bra’ D. Can Themba. Pictures by ‘bra’ Gopal S. Naransamy.
1963B. ModisaneBlame Me on Hist. (1986) 13‘Look, Bra-Bloke, this is money,’ Lloyd said.
1974K.M.C. Motsisi inM. MutloatseCasey & Co. (1978) 56He has a nipinyana of ‘madolo’ which is the name non-voters prefer to call wine and which wine he buys from Bra Victor at the bottle store attached to this beer garden.
1980M. Melamu inM. MutloatseForced Landing 44She told me that Bra Rufus..who drives the huge Buick taxi, has graciously usurped my conjugal responsibilities.
1988J. Seroke inStaffriderVol.7No.3, 304In the early seventies, black poets withdrew from a poetry reading at Wits University. You were invited to read too, bra Sipho.
1990New African 18 June 13Pat Matshikiza, affectionately known as Bra Pat to his many fans and colleagues.
1974Drum 22 Sept. 10There was this..ou..who used to bully me, take my money, beat me up...He was like one of ‘Die manne’, and I had no alternative...If you’re one of ‘die bra’s’ no one else is going to mess you around.
4.A man; a ‘guy’.
1978C. Van Wyk inStaffriderVol.1No.2, 36Heit fana. Ek sê, who’s the other bra?
1984Drum Jan. 6When he was 17 years old a Mafia member took him..to the house of the Mafia ‘grootkop’...The member was told..: It is not the right time now. Bring the ‘bra’ tonight.
5.A black man who is acknowledged to be particularly street-wise and adept at making the most of urban life while remaining part of working-class black society.
Such a person is distinguished partly by the adoption of attitudes, behaviour, and language (see tsotsi-taal at tsotsi sense 2) rooted in township life rather than in traditional African society or in modern western society.
1983Natal Mercury 8 JuneQ: Why was that word ‘bra’ so important? A: Because it’s saying to the cop: ‘Hey man, I’m black like you.’..Also, it’s showing him that he’s dealing with a bright guy, someone who is ‘one of the boys’. Q: You mean not all blacks call each other ‘bra’? A:..Some people don’t even speak the township lingo...They are the dumb ones, who just speak the vernacular. You can’t regard them as ‘bras’...The youngsters don’t speak the lingo properly any more, but they look up to a grootman who is a bra.
1984Drum Sept. 26Dave Mokale was what we all called a bra. A real mjieta who could swing...He left teaching to join bantustan politics, but he still remained a bra.
‘Brother’: an informal or familiar title, used with a first name, nickname, or full name, usually when speaking to or of a black man.
an informal or familiar term of address or reference to a man or boy.
used as a term of reference.
as a term of address. Often in the phrase my bra.
A man; a ‘guy’.
A black man who is acknowledged to be particularly street-wise and adept at making the most of urban life while remaining part of working-class black society.
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