skebenga, noun

Forms:
scabanga, skabangaShow more Also scabanga, skabanga, skabenga, skebengo, skebengu.
Origin:
ZuluShow more Adaptation of Zulu isigebengu bandit, plunderer, from gebenga live a plundering life, assault (someone).
A gangster, bandit, or robber; a scoundrel or rascal. Also attributive. Cf. amalaita, spoiler.
1953 R. Campbell Mamba’s Precipice 151The alarm is out for Mahakaan, the skebenga who murdered the two cousins of the Ninevite gang of ritual murderers.
1953 R. Campbell Mamba’s Precipice 170Like a trapped wolf, the skebenga died, knowing he was caught, but growling curses. [Note] Skebenga means foot-pad or bandit.
1962 J. Taylor Tsotsi Style’. (lyrics)I got no more food in my stomach Tell me what me to do The skebengas got all the money So I became a tsotsi too.
1964 G. Campbell Old Dusty 89These practices must not be confounded with those of the ordinary skebenga, the latter being merely a low-class thief and foot-pad who would rob his mother’s hen-roost.
1970 Informant, DurbanHe will not stay at home alone as he fears that a skebenga may come.
1975 J. McClure Snake (1981) 164Hau, hau, hau, but he was a real skabenga when he was small, that one.
1978 L. Barnes in The 1820 Vol.51 No.12, 19Many Zulu words have crept into South African Indian English...Some of the most commonly used are: Skoten (from isikhoteni) — a rogue,..skebengu — thief, [etc.].
1980 D.B. Coplan Urbanization of African Performing Arts. 142Following his apprenticeship as an accomplice of White criminals in Johannesburg, a Zulu houseboy, Jan Note, assumed leadership of a community of migrant contract deserters and landless laborers living as ‘skebengos’ (Zulu: izigebhengu, ‘bandits’) in the hills south of the city...Gradually these rural-based peasant marginals were joined by urban proletarians drawn from the informal sectors of the economy...The gang made the transition to an urban-based, multi-ethnic underworld alliance...The gang organized burglaries, robbery, prostitution, gambling, illicit liquor, and dagga smuggling throughout the southern Transvaal.
1982 Sunday Times 14 Nov. (Mag. Sect.) 10There were pimps and bums...There were scabangas and scruffs and sophisticates.
1988 W. Bizley in Laband & Haswell Pietermaritzburg 1838–1988 80The serene life could take a violent turn, as on Sunday afternoons, when ‘kitchen boys’ formed gangs to have skabenga stick fights.
1994 A. Levin in Style Oct. 96An over-friendly Skabanga in Seventies shades and a tatty woman’s blazer.
A gangster, bandit, or robber; a scoundrel or rascal. Also attributive.
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19531994