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Out in the Bundus

Bundu is a Bantu word meaning “a largely uninhabited wild region far from town.” It was adopted into South African slang and ultimately into British English, and appears in the phrase out in the bundus, with the same meaning. Although it...

Seditty, Saddity

Semby from Los Angeles, California, wants to know about the term saditty, also spelled seditty, which refers to someone who is stuck up or puts on airs. Used almost exclusively among African Americans, this term may simply be a fancy pronunciation...

Episode 1531

Loaded for Bear

One way to make your new business look trendy is to use two nouns separated by an ampersand, like Peach & Creature or Rainstorm & Egg or … just about any other two-word combination. A tongue-in-cheek website will generate names like...

The Given Name “Bornface”

Jonathan in Fall River, Wisconsin, says when he worked in Zambia he met many people named Bornface, supposedly because they were born face-up. In The African Book of Names, Ashkari Johnson Hodari explains that it’s common throughout sub...

Episode 1524

Kite in a Phone Booth

Stunt performers in movies have their own jargon for talking about their dangerous work. In New York City, the slang term brick means “cold,” and dumb brick means “really cold.” Plus: the East and Central African tradition...

Sasha and Zamani, and Three Deaths

In his book African Religions and Philosophy, Kenyan-born philosopher John Samuel Mbiti describes the East and Central African concepts of sasha, those ancestors who remain alive in human memory, and zamani, the vast ocean of time into which...