debe

In Swahili-speaking East Africa, 19th – 20th centuries, a unit of capacity based on the capacity of the gasoline can (petrol tin), = 4 imperial gallons, approximately 18.184 liters. Also called, at least in the 19th century, tanaki and tini.

D. V. Perrott.
Teach Yourself Swahili.
The English Universities Press, London, 1957.

Page 151.

sources

Shopkeepers sell their oil, treacle, &c, by tin-ladlefuls (kikombe), or by the bottle (chupa), or by the tin, i.e. the tins in which American oil is imported to Zanzibar (tanaki, tini, also debe).

Edward Steere.
A Handbook of the Swahili Language as Spoken at Zanzibar. 3rd ed.
London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1884.
Page 457.

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