clever, noun

Forms:
cleva, clevahShow more Also cleva, clevah, uclever /ʊˈkleva/.
Plurals:
clevers, or (occasionally) ooclever /ʊːˈkleva/.
Origin:
Isicamtho, EnglishShow more Adaptation of Isicamtho uclever, Sintu-language (Bantu-language) noun prefix u- + English clever.
slang
In urban (especially township) English: a ‘city slicker’; a young street-wise male. Cf. tsotsi sense 1.
1963 Wilson & Mafeje Langa 22The townees or tsotsis are also called ‘location boys’, ooclever, bright boys and spoilers.
1963 Wilson & Mafeje Langa 35The Xhosa are spoken of as ‘a very hard people’, ‘ooclever’, precocious.
1979 F. Dike First S. African 4That’s a small time clever. He thinks he’s going to jive me.
1979 S. Sillie InformantThis clever man (uclever) — is a person who is town-rooted — he can either be a tsotsi himself or may not be. He knows the liquor outlets and the dagga smugglers.
1982 M.O. Mtshali in Chapman & Dangor Voices from Within 75He’s a ‘clever’ not a ‘moegie’; he never says baas to no bloody white man.
1983 Drum June 38Today Masekela cuts an image of the ‘clevers of the 50s and 60s’. His manner of talking, walking and dancing is that of those hectic-dizzy yester-years.
1984 M. Mthethwa in Frontline July 29Dumani belongs to the township clevers — the Pantsulas and their girlfriends, the Mshozas.
1988 J. Khumalo in Pace Oct. 60Places like Sophiatown and Alex..were famous for the city slickers — known as ‘clevers’ and carbon copies of their American movie heroes.
1990 J. Naidoo Coolie Location 130From his speech, tone and general manner it was evident that he was one of those smooth-talking smart ones, a cleva, a sophisticated tsotsi. I detected a mocking wily glint in his eyes.
a ‘city slicker’; a young street-wise male.
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