Definitions for sjambok
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A stout whip, especially made of rhinoceros or hippopotamus hide.
To whip with a sjambok; to horsewhip.
Origin: from the cambuk, and as borrowed in : modern and . Originally spelt in the colonial Dutch transliteration tscamboek. Term 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.
The sjambok or litupa is the official heavy leather whip of South Africa, sometimes seen as synonymous with apartheid but actually much older and still used outside the official judiciary. It is traditionally made from an adult hippopotamus hide, but is also commonly made out of plastic. A strip of the animal's hide is cut and carved into a strip 3 to 5 feet long, tapering from about 1 inch thick at the handle to about ³⁄8 in at the tip. This strip is then rolled until reaching a tapered-cylindrical form. The resulting whip is both flexible and durable. A plastic version was made for the South African Police Service, and used for riot control. The sjambok had a variety of uses, with the most obvious being cattle driving. It was heavily used by the Voortrekkers driving their oxen while migrating from the Cape of Good Hope. Even today, the sjambok is used by herdsmen to drive cattle. They are widely available in South Africa from informal traders to regular stores from a variety of materials, lengths and thicknesses. They are an effective weapon to kill snakes and ward off dogs and other attackers and are still carried in public by many Black South Africans. Many South African households keep a sjambok. The sjambok is also used today in South Africa by those who mete out discipline imposed by extralegal courts.
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