kumbomvu, interjection

Forms:
kobomvu, kubombuShow more Also kobomvu, kubombu, ku bomvu.
Origin:
Xhosa, ZuluShow more Xhosa and Zulu, subjectival concord ku it (is) + adjectival stem -bomvu red.
Among Xhosa- and Zulu-speakers: beware; look out; ‘danger’, a warning cry to signal danger (particularly the approach of police).
1972 Drum 8 Oct. 19In the township the aunties shouted Kobomvu to warn one another.
1977 P.C. Venter Soweto 8Liquor was prohibited in black areas and the police kept a close watch. ‘Kumbomvu!’ was the warning shout. Literally translated, the word means ‘red’. It was enough to scatter the brewers.
1980 Staffrider Vol.3 No.1, 46When somebody saw the police coming they would say ‘kubomvu’, that’s a sign telling there is danger coming.
1985 D. Bikitsha in Sunday Times 15 Sept. 6A three pronged sharp whistle call meant the police were about. The cry ‘Ku Mbomvu’ [printed Ku Mbonvu] (it is red) meant an alarm whenever there was police presence in the area.
beware; look out; ‘danger’, a warning cry to signal danger (particularly the approach of police).

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19721985