hamba, verb intransitive

amba, amberShow more Also amba, amber, humba.
Xhosa, ZuluShow more Xhosa and Zulu, ‘go’.
1. To go; frequently imperative, ‘go on’, ‘push off’. So also the emphatic hambake /ˈhambake/ also hambarkai [Zulu enclitic formative -ke], ‘go immediately’. Cf. suka sense a, voetsak sense 1 a.
1827 G. Thompson Trav. 376The Caffers..say hamba for get you gone.
1855 G. Brown Personal Adventure 105I attempted to speak to him; but with a most emphatic ‘hambake!’ (go away now), he beckoned me off with his hand.
1857 R.J. Mullins Diary. 31 MayKafirs starving on all sides, and glad to pick up crumbs under your table, who six months ago would have told you to ‘hamba’ if you had proposed such a thing to them.
1878 H.A. Roche On Trek in Tvl 239‘Hamba! Hamba! Taaté,’ a quick-march order which even a dog understands here.
1899 G.H. Russell Under Sjambok 22‘Hambarkai!’ (Go on) I shouted to my native driver and ‘voorlooper.’
1920 R.Y. Stormberg Mrs Pieter de Bruyn 30She loops..voetzaks — hamba’s — i.e. gets the push, the end of this blissful month.
a1931 S. Black in S. Gray Three Plays (1984) 143Jeremiah: Two jobs and one hundred pound! Abraham: Yes, I promise. Go on, hamba!
1963 A.M. Louw 20 Days 104And what does the Black man get for his work? It is:..Here, Kaffir, after your work is done, you no longer belong in this place, so hamba!
1979 F. Dike First S. African 24Sorry tata, I went to fetch my register from school, I forgot...Hlazo: Hamba jou bloody fool.
1984 F. Jay in Staffrider Vol.6 No.1, 20‘Boy! Umfaan! Get down from there. Hamba! Can’t you see the nkosazaan is swimming now.’..‘Hamba! Go and do your hedge-cutting somewhere else.’
1994 Style Oct. 30Get Ahead has taken a three-year lease in the Cape..and next? Hamba London-side.
2. in the phrase hamba kahle /ˌhʌmbəˈɡɑːʃli/, /ˌhambaˈɡɑːɬe/, also hamba couthley, hamba gachle, hamba gahle, hamba gahlé, hamba gahli, hamba gashli, hamba gashly, hamba gathle, hamba gooshly, hamba gthlie, hamba kahale, hamba khole [Zulu or (occasionally) Xhosa kahle, see gashle (in Xhosa more commonly hamba kakuhle); when addressing more than one person, the form hambani kahle is used], used in the following ways:
a. As an interjectional phrase: go well. Cf. sala kahle.
Now often used as a respectful farewell to a deceased person.
1836 A.F. Gardiner Journey to Zoolu Country 142His last words were ‘Amba couthley’ (I wish you a pleasant journey).
1855 J.W. Colenso Ten Weeks in Natal 45I bade him come for a blanket to-morrow and then dismissed him with ‘hamba kahle — walk pleasantly,’ to which he replied with ‘tsala kahle — sit pleasantly’.
1860 A.W. Drayson Sporting Scenes 223All the women and children kept close in their kraals, they shouted to us ‘Hambani gathle’ (Go on well).
1880 E.F. Sandeman Eight Months in Ox-Waggon 352Their cheerful ‘Amba gashly, amba gashly,’ the usual mode of parting salutation meaning, ‘Go gently or peaceably,’ rang upon my ears.
1893 J.F. Ingram Story of Gold Concession 127I..set out amidst a barking of dogs, a lowing of cattle, and a chorus of ‘Hambanie gthlie, Myieesa!’ (‘Go in peace, Myieesa!’)
1898 B. Mitford Induna’s Wife 160Then the Amabuna rose and shook the King by the hand, and we, as they took leave of us, all called out, ‘Hambani-gahli’ with right good-will. [Note] ‘Go ye in peace.’
1937 C. Birkby Zulu Journey 283‘Hamba gahle,’ I called to them in goodbye.
1941 A.G. Bee Kalahari Camp Fires (1943) 214He shouted the Matabele word ‘Salaniguthle,’ meaning ‘goodbye’ and there came in chorus from our battered regiments the answer, ‘Hamba gathle,’ ‘Go prosperously.’
[1956 A. Sampson Drum 92‘Hamba Kahle’ (‘Go Well,’ the African ‘good-bye’).]
1978 Daily Dispatch 1 Aug. 3In a written message from the Lord Chief Justice..it was said that..Mr Titterton had brought lustre to the law in Transkei. ‘Hamba kahle,’ (go well) Mr Titterton was told in the message.
[1982 M. Mzamane Children of Soweto 216As the coffin was being lowered into the grave, the church choir of St. Francis sang ‘Hamba, hamba kahle’ (Farewell, farewell).]
1990 Weekly Mail 2 Feb. 26Your spirit lives on — Hambe Kahle. Condolences to family and friends.
1990 UDUSA News Nov. 2Obituary. S— T— N—, a founder member of the PAC, was brutally murdered on October 4th in Umtata, Transkei..Our sympathies go to the family. Hamba Kahle.
1993 Weekly Mail 18 June 12He is survived by his girlfriend and a kid. Hamba kahle Qawe.
b. As v. phr. (usually imperative):
Sometimes partially translated, see go gashle (gashle).
i. Travel safely, ‘go well’. Also transferred sense, see quotation 1969.
1838 G. Champion in J. Bird Annals of Natal (1888) I. 224The king expected I would leave the country, and told me to ‘Hamba gahli’.
1958 A. Sampson Treason Cage 55Kadalie..became persuaded by his European friends to drop the weapons of militancy and to keep to a policy of Hamba Kahle — hasten slowly — which amounted in effect to doing nothing.
1969 Post 7 Dec. 9Mr M.C. Botha, Minister of Bantu Development, sees 1969 as the year of resettlement hamba kahle...He is on record as saying: ‘We have on occasions had to do a great deal of persuading to get them to move — but they are volunteers. The Bantu like moving.’
1970 J.V. Winters Informant, KimberleyHamba Kahle. Zulu expression adopted by road safety and Springs Town City Council meaning Drive slowly.
1971 Daily Dispatch 15 Nov. 12Paramount Chief Kaiser Matanzima..intends to ‘hamba kahle’ still. He is well advised to take no chances.
ii. A warning: ‘go carefully’, ‘watch out’.
1899 G.H. Russell Under Sjambok 24‘Hamba gashli, Inkoss!’ (Go easy, Sir) yelled Basket, my native driver.
1967 J.A. Broster Red Blanket Valley 185Suddenly the children were shy,..but the brave ones stepped resolutely forward, took my hand and with the tenderness of childhood said ‘Hamba kahle’ (Go carefully).
1978 Sunday Times 23 Apr. (Mag. Sect.) 3There’s a Table Mountain guide..and a map of the mountain can be obtained from the local publicity association. Hamba gahle.
3. In the phrase hamba kaya /ˌhʌmbəˈkaɪa/, also hamba kyah [see kaya], go home. Also (nonce) as adjective. See also kaya sense 2.
1908 D. Blackburn Leaven 299I should be only a kitchen boy, as I was in Maritzburg, with the police always waiting to catch me for being out after the ‘hamba kyah’ bell had rung.
1951 L.G. Green Grow Lovely 156The plague frightened Cape Town and thousands of native labourers shouted ‘Hamba Kya’ and clamoured for passes so that they could return to their homes.
4. In the phrase forever hamba [especially in early uses, a pun on the book title Forever Amber], used jokingly (as noun phrase and verbal phrase) to allude to the forcible removal of people in terms of the policies of apartheid.
1952 Kaapenaar in Drum Sept. 10This is the story of the educated African who walked the streets of Johannesburg in search of a job...And do you know what he has decided to call his masterpiece?..‘Forever Hamba!’ of course.
1964 Drum Nov. 4520,000 people removed after a century — the country cries Will we forever ‘hamba’?
1974 Drum 8 Aug. 48‘The people are just not in a mood to start from scratch once more. They are sick and tired of being a nation of forever hambas,’ he said pounding his fist into his palm.
1981 Voice 12 Aug. 2So it’s forever hamba. The removals of Blacks continue unabated.
1989 Sunday Times 19 Nov. 12Another best-seller, Forever Hamba, also known as the Oshikati Exodus, is said to be a fascinating sequel to Good-bye Dolly Gray and is being fine-toothcombed by SA Intelligence.
5. In the imperative phrase hamba dompas /ˌhamba ˈdɔmpas/ [Afrikaans dompas see dompas; see New Nation quotation 1987], ‘push off, dompas’, a slogan adopted by the National Party government to publicize the end of the law requiring black people to carry identity documents at all times. Also attributive. See also pass sense 3.
1986 Pace Aug. 4Anyhow, me too, I say Hamba Dompas (but no welcome to the new-one stinker either).
1987 New Nation 9 July 7He rubbed shoulders with Peter Sepuma in a popular play, ‘Hamba Dompas’...The title of the play was later used by the South African government during the phasing out of ‘stinka’ or ‘ndzangana’ as the passbook is called.
1987 Pace Nov. 14No amount of expense or ‘positive’ Hamba Dompas advertising could convince or coerce blacks into believing..that they should flock in droves to apply for the new ID.
To go; frequently imperative, ‘go on’, ‘push off’. So also the emphatic hambakeˈhambake also hambarkai enclitic formative -ke, ‘go immediately’.
go well.
Travel safely, ‘go well’. Also transferred sense, see quotation 1969.
A warning: ‘go carefully’, ‘watch out’.
go home. Also (nonce) as adjective.
used jokingly (as noun phrase and verbal phrase) to allude to the forcible removal of people in terms of the policies of apartheid.
‘push off, dompas’, a slogan adopted by the National Party government to publicize the end of the law requiring black people to carry identity documents at all times. Also attributive.

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