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Mzungu in Africa

Mzungu is a Bantu word that means "wanderer" originally pertaining to spirits. In the modern, more expansive sense, any white person, European.


  • Since this man, like all Tanzanians, spoke Swahili, I did not fail to ask the interlocutor about the intricacies of his language. The term "mzungu" is well known not only to me, but to everyone who has visited at least one of the equatorial countries of the African continent. Black children, and sometimes even adults, shout this word on the streets of African settlements, referring to a person of European appearance. The opponent replied that there was nothing offensive in this, and cited a fictitious dialogue as an example: “Mom, can I invite my friend to the holiday? — Yes, but who is he? — Mzungu. — Oh, mzungu, let him come.” — “So be it, — objected in response, — but why sometimes in the villages the children run after me, shouting “this” with such an intonation, as if they saw a madman?”— “Any word can have a negative connotation,” — the man replied.[1]

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