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Origin uncertain. Compare Shona tsotsi (criminal)



tsotsi (plural tsotsis)

  1. (South Africa) A hoodlum or street thug, especially one from the townships; a township skollie.
    • 1979, André Brink, A Dry White Season, Vintage 1998, p. 39:
      A gang of tsotsis – hooligans – attacked a group of older men, and when the owner tried to throw them out they ran amok in the place, smashing everything in their way.
    • 1994, Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, Abacus 2010, p. 88:
      Gangsters – known as tsotsis – carrying flick-knives or switchblades were plentiful and prominent [...].
    • 2006 Cape Times, 17 Mar 2006:
      Mandela, standing up for all the tsotsis out there, said: "Don't dismiss any youngsters who are not behaving according to your wishes."

Derived terms[edit]



tsotsi class 5

  1. criminal, thug, gangster, hooligan, hoodlum
    Synonym: horomori