Definition of zama zama in English:

zama zama

nounplural noun zama zama, plural noun 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’

Pronunciation

zama zama

/ˌzämə ˈzämə/ /ˌzɑmə ˈzɑmə/

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.