sawubona, interjection and & noun

Forms:
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.
Origin:
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.
Note:
The singular and plural forms of the greeting are often used interchangeably by English-speakers.
A. interjection Among Zulu-speakers: a polite greeting or salutation; dakubona interjection.
1837 F. Owen Diary (1926) 90As soon as they reached the waggon where I was sitting, they ceased and saluted me in the usual way ‘Säkubona Umfundis,’ ‘We see you Teacher.’
1850 J.E. Methley New Col. of Port Natal 46When they meet any one, they give the usual salutation of ‘Zaku bona Umgaan,’ with a free and lively air.
1870 C. Hamilton Life & 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’.
1887 J.W. Matthews Incwadi Yami 326Seeing some wounded men accompanying the ambulances one Zulu..shouted out ‘Sakubona,’ (‘I see you’, a form of greeting).
1908 D. Blackburn Leaven (1991) He went up boldly and said: ‘Saku bona, baas. I want work and I am very hungry.’
1930 S.T. Plaatje Mhudi (1975) 112Behold, here comes Umpitimpiti, the one man in this city who has the freedom of the royal harem. ‘Sakubona (good day), Mpitimpiti.’
1949 O. Walker Proud Zulu (1951) 22‘Se’bona. I see you, child of Mister Dunn.’ greeted Umbuyazi.
c1957 D. Swanson Highveld, Lowveld & Jungle 9The Zulu guard..smiled widely...‘Sakabona, inkosikas,’ he greeted her in Zulu. ‘Sakabona, Joseph. Is Baas Maclean in his office?’
1961 D. Bee Children of Yesterday 217‘Sabona, ’Kosi!’ Johannes greeted him cheerfully. ‘Sabona, Johannes!’ It was the proper good morning.
1970 M. Kunene Zulu 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.’
1971 The 1820 Vol.43 No.12, 26‘Ha’, I thought, ‘let’s hear what the Zulus have to say.’ I went up to him. ‘Sakubona kehla’, I greeted him.
1977 P.C. Venter Soweto 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.
1984 F. Jay in Staffrider Vol.6 No.1, 20I raised my hand and murmured, ‘Sawubona, umfaan’. Didn’t I know your name?
1990 P. Cullinan in M. Leveson Firetalk 18‘Sa’bona, Barnabas, good afternoon.’ ‘Sa’bona, Muravukela. You have come in good time.’
1990 M. Stanton in Estcourt 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.
1993 Natal Witness 8 Apr. (Learn with Echo) 1Hello, sawubona.
B. noun An utterance of this greeting; dakubona noun.
1877 Lady Barker Yr’s Hsekeeping 164Every cow-herd on the veldt has his ‘sako bono’, or good morning, as he passes one fern or grass-seed hunting in the early morning.
1907 J.P. Fitzpatrick Jock of Bushveld 404As I passed he rose slowly and gave his ‘Sakubona! Inkos!’ with that curious controlled air.
1937 C. Birkby Zulu Journey 67I walked around and smiled a greeting in answer to their polite ‘Sa’bon,’ which is the slurred way in which the Zulus say ‘Sakubona — I see you.’
a polite greeting or salutation; dakubonainterjection.
An utterance of this greeting; dakubonanoun.
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18371993