Definition of zama zama in English:

zama zama

Pronunciation /ˌzämə ˈzämə/ /ˌzɑmə ˈzɑmə/

nounzama zama, zama zamas

informal South African
  • A person who works illegally in abandoned mineshafts in order to retrieve metals or minerals.

    • ‘the team entered the mine intending to evict the zama zamas’

Origin

Zulu, from a reduplication of -zama, stem of ukuzama ‘try, strive, make an attempt to obtain something’. Zama Zama was used from 1994 as the name of a national lottery in South Africa.