sa’bon, sa’bonaShow more Also sa’bon, sa’bona, sacabona, sachabona, sackaboni, saka bona, sakobona, sako bono, sakubona, sanibona, sanibonani, sa’ubona, se’bona, zakubona.
Zulu, Show more Zulu (earlier form sakubona, contraction of siyakubona), ‘we see you’ (plural sanibona, sanibonani ‘we see you all’). Most of the variant spellings arise from attempts by English-speakers to represent Zulu pronunciation.
The singular and plural forms of the greeting are often used interchangeably by English-speakers.
1850J.E. MethleyNew Col. of Port Natal 46When they meet any one, they give the usual salutation of ‘Zaku bona Umgaan,’ with a free and lively air.
1870C. HamiltonLife & Sport in S.-E. Afr. 241A Kaffir will never pass the settler or stranger, if he likes his appearance, without the friendly greeting of ‘sachabona inkosi’, or ‘hamba gooschly inkosi’.
1887J.W. MatthewsIncwadi Yami 326Seeing some wounded men accompanying the ambulances one Zulu..shouted out ‘Sakubona,’ (‘I see you’, a form of greeting).
1908D. BlackburnLeaven (1991) He went up boldly and said: ‘Saku bona, baas. I want work and I am very hungry.’
1930S.T. PlaatjeMhudi (1975) 112Behold, here comes Umpitimpiti, the one man in this city who has the freedom of the royal harem. ‘Sakubona (good day), Mpitimpiti.’
1949O. WalkerProud Zulu (1951) 22‘Se’bona. I see you, child of Mister Dunn.’ greeted Umbuyazi.
c1957D. SwansonHighveld, Lowveld & Jungle 9The Zulu guard..smiled widely...‘Sakabona, inkosikas,’ he greeted her in Zulu. ‘Sakabona, Joseph. Is Baas Maclean in his office?’
1961D. BeeChildren of Yesterday 217‘Sabona, ’Kosi!’ Johannes greeted him cheerfully. ‘Sabona, Johannes!’ It was the proper good morning.
1970M. KuneneZulu Poems 12When a Zulu greets, he says (even if he is alone) ‘sawubona’ meaning ‘we see you’, or more accurately, ‘I on behalf of my family or community pay our respects to you.’ He may even say ‘sanibona’ meaning ‘I on behalf of my family pay our respects to you and your family.’
1971The 1820Vol.43No.12, 26‘Ha’, I thought, ‘let’s hear what the Zulus have to say.’ I went up to him. ‘Sakubona kehla’, I greeted him.
1977P.C. VenterSoweto 173‘Edward? Sanibonani.’ Which means ‘I see you’ and doesn’t really apply to a telephone conversation, but the Zulu language is old and not easily bent to modern technology’s will.
1984F. Jay inStaffriderVol.6No.1, 20I raised my hand and murmured, ‘Sawubona, umfaan’. Didn’t I know your name?
1990P. Cullinan inM. LevesonFiretalk 18‘Sa’bona, Barnabas, good afternoon.’ ‘Sa’bona, Muravukela. You have come in good time.’
1990M. Stanton inEstcourt High School Mag.No.49, 46We didn’t speak the same language, but that didn’t matter, we were friends. ‘Sawubona Lindiwe’, you’d say. ‘Yes, sawubona Togo’, I’d answer.
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