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Alternative forms[edit]


From Afrikaans, from the Javanese cambuk, and as borrowed in Malay: modern Indonesian and Malay. Originally spelt in the colonial Dutch transliteration tscamboek. The term was imported by VOC officials, Dutch merchants, the Maardijkers (Maluku (Moluccan) freemen and burghers), and Inlanders (Javanese and other modern Indonesian slaves and political exiles expelled to Dutch South Africa).



sjambok ‎(plural sjamboks)

  1. A stout whip, especially made of rhinoceros or hippopotamus hide.
    • 1938, Xavier Herbert, Capricornia, chapter II, pp. 25-6,
      He learnt that he was a slave, in spite of all the petty airs he might assume, a slave shackled to a yoke, to be scolded when he lagged, flogged when he rebelled with the sjambok of the modern driver, Threat of the Sack.
    • 1963, Thomas Pynchon, V.:
      Foppl stood holding a sjambok or cattle whip of giraffe hide, tapping the handle against his leg in a steady, syncopated figure.
    • 1979, André Brink, A Dry White Season, Vintage 1998, page 113:
      Several accusations had been brought in against her and every time she'd denied them she had been beaten with a sjambok.
    • 1989, United States Congress Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Subcommittee on African Affairs, United States Policy Toward South Africa: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on African Affairs, page 333:
      If dialogue is ever to have a chance, South Africans must find a way to turn away from violence in all its forms — the brutal violence of the sjambok
    • 2006 May 13/14, Weekend Argus, page 1:
      Police arrested almost 40 locals yesterday after a crowd took part in illegal marches and refused to disperse. The locals were armed with sticks, sjamboks and other weapons.

See also[edit]


sjambok ‎(third-person singular simple present sjamboks, present participle sjambokking, simple past and past participle sjambokked)

  1. (transitive) To whip with a sjambok; to horsewhip.


  • 1989-1990, South African Department of Information (Apartheid era), South Africa 1989-90: official yearbook of the Republic of South Africa, volume 15 (1989; ISBN: 0797017291 and 9780797017290). Page 74: "bobotie, kiaal, sjambok, sosatie from Malay".
  • 1983, Robert Ross, Cape of Torments: slavery and resistance in South Africa. International library of anthropology (Routledge, 1983; ISBN: 0710094078 and 9780710094070)
  • 1978, Jean Branford, A Dictionary of South African English
  • 1971, Roy Lewis, Yvonne Foy, Painting Africa white: the human side of British colonialism (Universe Books, 1971, ISBN: 0876631448 and 9780876631447)
  • 1883, JKW Quarles van Ufford, Koloniale kroniek - De Economist (Springer, [1], [2])