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Used as a form of respectful address in parts of Africa.

[Swahili, from Arabic 'abūnā, our father : 'abū, bound form of 'ab, father; see ʔb in Semitic roots + -nā, our.]


(in E Africa) a master, often used as a respectful form of address corresponding to sir
[Swahili, from Arabic abūna our father]


(ˈbwɑ nə)

n., pl. -nas.
(in Africa) master; boss.
[1875–80; < Swahili < Arabic abūnā our father]
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References in classic literature ?
Mugambi, the ebon Hercules, who had shared the dangers and vicissitudes of his beloved Bwana, from Jungle Island, almost to the headwaters of the Ugambi, was the first to note the bold approach of the sinister caravan.
They come for no good purpose in the absence of the Great Bwana.
The black had been looking at Tarzan with wide eyes, evidently not comprehending how this god could appear in so material a form, and with the voice of a white bwana and the uniform of a warrior of this city to which he quite evidently did not belong.
No, bwana," replied Kaviri, "the white child was not with this man's party--it was with the other party.
How did Orwell come to admire the courage and endurance of the sahibs and bwanas of the Empire he loathed?
There is an Internet trade in providing would-be bwanas with a chance to travel to Africa and elsewhere to shoot lions, tigers or other big game as a package holiday.
The chieftain, who made the statement some fifty years after Livingstone's death in 1873, added: "I only know what I saw and what I have told all the bwanas who have asked me.
Fletcher pleaded with him to stay, but the African simply shrugged and replied, "Sometimes people bring us bwanas like you, bwanas who have been smashed up by elephants.