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.

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

Page 151.

sources

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