bra, noun

/bra/, /brɑː/
Forms:
Also bla, blah.
Origin:
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.
colloquial
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, sis noun2.
1956 Drum Apr. 61Story by ‘bra’ D. Can Themba. Pictures by ‘bra’ Gopal S. Naransamy.
1963 B. Modisane Blame Me on Hist. (1986) 13‘Look, Bra-Bloke, this is money,’ Lloyd said.
1974 K.M.C. Motsisi in M. Mutloatse Casey & 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.
1980 M. Melamu in M. Mutloatse Forced Landing 44She told me that Bra Rufus..who drives the huge Buick taxi, has graciously usurped my conjugal responsibilities.
1988 J. Seroke in Staffrider Vol.7 No.3, 304In the early seventies, black poets withdrew from a poetry reading at Wits University. You were invited to read too, bra Sipho.
1990 New African 18 June 13Pat Matshikiza, affectionately known as Bra Pat to his many fans and colleagues.
1993 [see α quot. at fanakalo].
2. ‘Mate’, ‘buddy’, ‘pal’, ‘friend’: an informal or familiar term of address or reference to a man or boy.
a. Mainly in urban (especially township) speech: used as a term of reference. Cf. bricate sense b.
1974 Drum 22 Sept. 10Like, you and your bra’s move into a koesta where ander mannes are doing their thing.
1979 F. Dike First S. African 37‘Which Carla are you talking about?’...‘Oh Carla is ’n bra, he works at the docks.’
1984 H. Zille in Frontline Mar. 12If you are driving your own car and have an accident with a taxi, he will come with his bras and make you a hospital case in no time.
1987 New Nation 3 Dec. 10Bassist and vocalist Mac Mackenzie turns from the microphone to his ‘bras’ onstage.
b. Orig. mainly in township slang, but now widespread: as a term of address. Often in the phrase my bra. Cf. boeta sense b, bricate sense a, bro, broer sense 1.
1978 C. Van Wyk in Staffrider Vol.1 No.2, 36Bob: I’m even tired of that mosque of yours; that noise over the loudspeaker. Ebrahim: Believe in Allah, my bra and that will no longer be noise.
1980 M. Melamu in M. Mutloatse Forced Landing 41They are talking full-blast, real township style. No inhibitions, my bla.
1983 W. Schwegmann in Frontline Feb. 52Any whitey with a camera is plagued by pleading voices: ‘Hey brother..bra..baas..here, baas..take my picture..for front page.’
1987 Informant, Jeffrey’s BayHey bra, how’s the surf?
1989 J. Hobbs Thoughts in Makeshift Mortuary 272His cousin..said, ‘Listen, bra, I’ve got my Ma coming for a few days and I’ll need your bedroom.’
3. main man.
1974 Drum 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’.
1978 C. Van Wyk in Staffrider Vol.1 No.2, 36Heit fana. Ek sê, who’s the other bra?
1984 Drum 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.
Note:
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.
1983 Natal 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.
1984 Drum 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.
main man.
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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