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Colour words in Xhosa

black mnyama - black

white mhlophe - white


  • ihobe elimhlophe - (white) dove
  • mhlophe gede - white as snow

red bomvu - red


  • Ukuba bomvu - to be illiterate (to be red)

yellow lubhelu / mthubi - yellow


  • icesina emthubi - yellow fever

blue luhlaza - blue; green; raw; rude; uneducated


brown ntsundu - brown

pink bomvana / pinki - pink

orange orenji - orange

grey ngwevu - grey

purple mfusa - purple

amber tyheli - amber

auburn bomvu-gwanqa - auburn

azure zulu - azure

beige ibala elilubhelu-bungwevu - beige

bronze umbala wobhedu - bronze

cream nocwambu - cream

crimson ngqombela - crimson

puce limfusa-mdaka - puce

imbala/umbala = color

Xhosa colours provided by Venessa R.

Information about the use of colours in Xhosa and Zulu beadwork

Colour words in other languages

Information about the Xhosa language | Xhosa phrases