Xhosa, ZuluShow more Xhosa and Zulu umlungu (plural abelungu, singular vocative mlungu), perhaps from lunga get or be in order, become or be correct or good; or related tothe noun stem -lungu canoe, ship, found in some other Sintu (Bantu) languages; for notes on singular and plural forms, see aba-, abe-, and um-.
1836A.F. GardinerJourney to Zoolu Country 245Being informed of my intentions and asked if he had any message to the Great Chief of the Abalungu (white people — literally people who do right).
1836N. IsaacsTrav. (1937) II.He conversed with me..on..the bravery of the Malongoes or white people.
1856R.J. Mullins Diary. 22 Oct.I said his people would then eat aloe leaves. He said ‘They will not, they will steal and then there will be war, but he would go to the Abalongu.’
1859‘B.’ inCape Monthly Mag.V. Jan. 43These princesses came to beg a present from the Umlungu (white man).
1875D. LeslieAmong Zulus 9I heard that a Moloonga, with a boy, had just passed the day before.
1889‘Mynheer Stals’ inH.A. BrydenKloof & Karroo 63It could only have been English ūmlūngos or drunken men who would have taken the drift on such a night. [Note] ūmlūngos is a very expressive Kaffir word, signifying a sort of gentlemanly know-nothing or green-horn.
1899A. WernerCaptain of Locusts 193I bade him begone; and he began to utter evil words of the abelungu.
1910J. AngoveIn Early Days 68They would get as many diamonds as they could, in order to ingratiate themselves with the ‘umlungu’, who took such a great interest in them.
1919Illust. London News (U.K.) 17 Oct. 5We must therefore avoid waiting for the Abelungu to do everything for us: we must help ourselves and he will think the better of us.
1961D. BeeChildren of Yesterday 284Who knows how these doctors of the Abelungu keep blood in bottles for so long that they can take it from one man this month and put it in another man the next month?
1973Sunday Times 22 July 16Near Ixopo we spoke to Norman Mkwayane who has worked for R6 a month for the past 18 years without leave. He said the mlungu ‘became angry’ when workers asked for leave — so he never asked.
1980M. Matshoba inM. MutloatseForced Landing 115‘We live like hogs, wild dogs or any other neglected animals. The pets of abeLungu live better then we,’ Somdali would say to me.
1983C.Z. Rolo inDaily Dispatch 23 June 24We blacks don’t hate whites. We love them and call them umlungu (good person).
1987I. Fynn inSowetan 5 May 6Black South Africans must be relieved that the all-white election is almost over. Whites themselves probably feel the same way...It’s a wonder the mlungus haven’t called for a general stayaway yesterday to get over it all.
1988Pace Nov. 11There is what we call petty thieving. Abelungu call it habitual stealing.
1949T. MofoloChaka Zulu (1965) 124Chaka said: ‘It is your hope that by killing me you will become chiefs when I am dead. But your hopes are false, for Umlungu will come, and it is he who will rule, and you will be his slaves.’
1952H. KleinLand of Silver Mist 71He told him how the white man, the umlungu, had conquered the Zulu armies, but had never broken the Zulu spirit.
1959L. LongmoreDispossessed 245Umlungu (the white man)! Don’t tell me about him. He is the biggest umthakathi (wizard) I have ever known of. He stabs you in order to stitch you up.
1973Drum 18 Jan. 33Then somebody decreed that I go to my bantustan and leave the mlungu in the towns.
1985Drum July 25While he is still pondering the double standards applied by mlungu, he is told that Cape Town has decided that he is a citizen of a nebulous republic called Bophuthatswana and is not entitled to a South African passport.
1988O. Musi inFrontline Oct. 32It did strike me that the white guy singing lustily alongside would probably change his tune if he found me at the bar of the nearby Royal Hotel. That place had been a mlungu-only haven for ever.
1878A. AylwardTvl of Today 202The black villain saluted me as ‘Umlunga’ (white man) although he could plainly see by my dress I was an Inkosi and a teacher.
1940F.B. YoungCity of Gold 114‘Where are you going and what do you want here, Umlungu?’ ‘We go north, but more towards the rising sun. We do you no harm. We are travellers.’
1955J.B. ShephardLand of Tikoloshe 76My friend went on. ‘I don’t call him “Jim” or “Boy” but “Umteto”, his real name. That is polite, but if I called him “Kaffir” he would, quite rightly, think I was being rude, and then he would probably call me “Umlungu” — White man — and that would be rude too.’
4.rare.A member of a people of the Transkei coast (see quotation).
1945N. DevittPeople & Places 124In various parts of the coastal areas, and in particular about 60 miles west of St. John is to be found a small tribe of natives known as the Abelungu (the white men). Ironically enough these people are of an extremely dark pigmentation. They pride themselves on their racial forbears. They contend they are descendants of white men, ship-wrecked people.
B.adjectivea.Of a person: white.b.Of or pertaining to white people.
1973Drum 22 Dec. 40Those faces of the hurt Mlungu reporters also keep playing tricks with my imagination. Something’s gotta be done.
1983Frontline Feb. 38Often the Izibonda (civic leaders) or Bomabalane, act in concert with Abelungu officials, men who have open access to records, as the medium through which the impossible is made possible.
1985Drum Jan. 32Peter is mlungu. His football buddies are pluralstanians.
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