A sjambok or litupa is a type of single-tail whip made of rhinoceros or hippopotamus hide, used in Africa, especially in South Africa. It is a very painful type of whip because it's comparatively heavyweight and stiff, and can break the delinquent's skin when used for corporal punishment.
A strip of the animal's hide is cut and carved into a strip 3 to 5 feet (0.91 to 1.5 m) long, tapering from about 1 inch (25 mm) thick at the handle to about 3⁄8 inch (9.5 mm) at the tip. This strip is then rolled (possibly between heavy metal plates) until reaching a near circular form. It is then soaked in salt for about a month. The resulting whip is as flexible as whalebone, and very tough.
A plastic version was made for the South African Police Service, which is used for riot control.
The sjambok in literatureEdit
Use of the sjambok for corporal punishment is mentioned, for example, in the novel The Power of One, where the protagonist, a then 5-year-old boy, is beaten with a sjambok in his boarding school for wetting his bed.