Hope in Zulu

Themba is to hope.  Brides hope it doesn’t rain on their wedding day.  Politicians hope they will win elections.  Pregnant women in rigid cultures hope they’ll give birth to boys, because girls mean financial problems.  We plan and plan and plan, but still hope everything goes well.

I-themba is the noun.  The verb is themba. The first part is pronounced as in template or tell, the second part is in the German town Hamburg. 

A boy’s name.
A girl’s name which means many people must hope.
Nicolae i-themba lami.
Nicolae is my hope.
Petra i-themba lami.
Petra is my hope.
Vuma i-themba lami.
Vuma is my hope.
Terence i-themba lami.
Terence is my hope.
I-themba alibulali.
Hope doesn’t kill.
Themba mnta-nami.
Themba my child (usually a mother’s lament).
Siya-themba bazo-fika.
We hope they will arrive.
Siya-themba nizo-phasa.
We hope you will pass.
Thembela e-nkosini.
Put your faith in God.

Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author of Sweetness, a South African novel.


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