mompara, noun

mampara, mamparraShow more Also mampara, mamparra, mangpara, mompaara, momparra.
FanakaloShow more Fanakalo, ‘a fool’; ‘waste material’.
The origin is uncertain; the first part of the word is probably made up of the Sotho personal noun prefix mo- + linking phoneme -m-; -para is perhaps Northern Sotho -para the stick on which a blanket is carried (referring to inexperienced recruits’ luggage or, metaphorically, to recruits as objects which are of no use on their own). Other possible sources of -para are adaptations of: Afrikaans baar raw, inexperienced (see baar); Afrikaans padda frog, explained by the fact that in about 1876, after a time of drought, recruits arriving at the diamond-diggings jumped into the water ‘like frogs’; Xhosa iphala wanderer; or Zulu phala, ideophone of searching with the eyes (perhaps used of one who is confused or looking for work).
1. derogatory. Used of black workers (especially in the mining industry): a greenhorn or inexperienced recruit; an unsophisticated country person; an incompetent. Also attributive. Cf. bari.
1899 G.H. Russell Under Sjambok 29Except for the ordinary Kafir mouchi, he wore no clothing, and I could see that he was a mompara.
1914 Farmer’s Annual 130The shepherd must be, not the recently engaged ‘mompara’ whose only language is unintelligible..but the most intelligent native available.
1927 U. Lamb in Outspan 29 Apr. 25Once she had wept in his absence on his desk. He had merely said in a manly grumble: ‘If that mompara Jim will wash my desk, I wish to goodness he would dry it!’
1934 G.G. Munnik Mem. of Senator 187Faithful natives who went in and out of Pretoria and acted the part of momparas dressed in kraal attire and with letters stitched in between the soles of their rough sandals.
1934 C.P. Swart Supplement to Pettman. 111Mampara,..A term very commonly applied, especially on the mines, to a clumsy, stupid native servant.
1939 C. Delbridge in Outspan 20 Oct. 41The white man laboured frantically beside them, alternately cursing and imploring — ‘Come on — harder, harder! Pull, you “momparas!”’
1941 Bantu World in Forum 6 Sept. 21When the players and their mampara supporters shout ‘Offside, Referee,’ he (the referee) may sit down, consult the book on ‘Offsides’ and then blow his whistle.
1962 A.P. Cartwright Gold Miners 223A native actor plays the part of the mine worker who does everything wrong and there is no comedian living or dead who raises such howls of laughter as this ‘mompara’ (the Fanakalo word for one who is dim-witted).
1964 G. Gordon Four People 130You can get clothes and there are nice shops, you can be a gentleman, not just a mampara like in the country.
1970 L. Mangiwatywa Informant, DurbanMampara is somebody ignorant of his or her work or surroundings.
1974 Evening Post 9 Aug. 6When I explained I had come from the toilet, he said something like, ‘You are a lazy, stupid kaffir, baboon, mampara.’
1990 [see lapa adv.].
2. transferred sense. Used loosely, sometimes affectionately: a fool, an idiot; also used as a term of address.
1942 U. Krige Dream & Desert (1953) 119It makes me sick..when I think of those smug mamparas sitting there in Parliament six thousand miles away from the nearest bullet, making a decision like that!
1949 O. Walker Wanton City 198He just stood like a momparra looking up in the sky.
1954 A. Segal Jhb. FridayHe had no leisure to waste on a mompara, on a fool.
1968 K. McMagh Dinner of Herbs 96She promptly..began howling. I told her not to be such a ‘mompaara’.
1970 E.J. Le Roux Informant, BellvilleIf you call someone a ‘mamparra’ it means he is stupid (in a nice way).
1973 E. Prov. Herald 7 July 2One of them said he was a freedom fighter, to which I said ‘No you are not, you are a mompara.’
1986 F. Karodia Daughters of Twilight 62‘That man is a mangpara,’ Papa said as they stepped in the door.
1987 Informant, GrahamstownMy dad always told us not to be such a mampara if we did something stupid.
1989 J. Hobbs Thoughts in Makeshift Mortuary 300‘You and I are quite alike, considering.’ ‘Considering our different degrees of tan?’ ‘No, mompara! Our different backgrounds.’
1989 J. Hobbs Thoughts in Makeshift Mortuary 351I can’t risk some half-trained mompara wrecking the mission and messing up the life she’s built for herself.
1991 V. Warren Informant, AlbertonShe can’t knit, she is a real mampara. (Said with fondness.)
a greenhorn or inexperienced recruit; an unsophisticated country person; an incompetent. Also attributive.
Used loosely, sometimes affectionately: a fool, an idiot; also used as a term of address.
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