In Swahili trading ports along the eastern coast of Africa, ? – 19ᵗʰ century, a unit of mass, about 64 pounds. Chaney says it = “7½ keilas”,¹ a word from the Arabic. In Lamu (in present-day Kenya) = “7½ or 8 pishi, or 64 pounds”.² Farther south, e.g. in Zanzibar, the word does not seem to have been used. 2 ngoma = 1 mzigo.
Ylvisaker notes that the ngoma was “Also originally a wooden container”. In Swahili, “ngoma” chiefly means "drum" and is often encountered as the name of a ceremony involving music.
1. Henry J Chaney.
Weights and Measures, in
Encyclopædia Britannica, vol. 28, page 493.
Cambridge (UK): University Press, 1911.
2. Marguerite Ylvisaker.
Lamu in the nineteenth century: land, trade, and politics.
African Research Studies #13.
[Boston]: African Studies Center, Boston University, 1979.
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