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Showing posts from July, 2017

Blogger Unplugged

I need a label, classification, designation, hashtag, anything to make me Google-able.Folks lose interest as soon as I say I write about everything. The label, general blogger, doesn’t grab attention.People are not interested in anything that doesn’t have the possibility of attracting T.V. entertainment programmes, Oprah, a record deal or book deal. Nobody wants me in their selfie to prove to social media that they met THE ONE AND ONLY general blogger.

Their loss.I know it doesn’t make a great hashtag but blow that bull horn, I’m a general blogger.I cannot be a celebrity travel or food blogger because I’m grateful for each day, which is not the same as yesterday and has no possibility of being like tomorrow.
Clouds are not the same size and colour despite the anger in the sky, that precedes torrential rain.The zinnia in full bloom yesterday wilted while I was asleep.A toddler in a stroller said, ‘thank you’ to the bus driver when he left with his dad.Someone held the door for me at the m…

Understanding The United States

“Are you from Jamaica?” “Are you from Sudan?” “Are you from Trinidad?” A cashier asked me about the last country yesterday at the grocery store, after admiring my accent.I just said one word ‘debit’, meaning I was going to use my debit card. There’s a lot riding on this accent thing, but the most pressing issue for this post is ignorance, or the deliberate refusal to learn about other people, despite online information, that is abundant as sand on the beach. I am one of culprits.I don’t know much about U.S. politics despite what I learnt in high school and college.I have no excuse because of the internet, let alone libraries with whole sections on U.S. history.I’ve decided to remedy the situation and dust off The Audacity of Hope, by former U.S. President Barack Obama. I bought the book when he was first elected but didn’t finish it because it is a maze of information about Congress, or should I say behind the scenes playoffs, before the actual voting.Now I have no choice.I must re-read…

Boring Home Decor

Cash people who live in Connecticut mansions, have Central Park apartments in New York City and cottages on Martha’s Vineyard have a lot of space. Are there grapes on that vineyard?Sorry.Back to space. Cashless folks have limited space.No problem. Fingers are not the same height.The problem is boring home décor, the result of habit.That chair sits over there.Who moved it? The bookcase has been in the same spot since Bushy was born, you proudly tell visitors.(He is now in the U.S. Senate, and hopefully not the White House).

I must come up with a plan for fixing this boring home décor, without putting more injury on the credit card.Flip the script, as kids on the block put it.How about putting things where they are not supposed to be? The night table is a table period.How about moving both night tables to the lounge?Visitors won’t object to their drinks sitting there.I don’t think so.
OMG!The chairs and table don’t match!Just ignore the home décor police and put handbags when they will real…

Send Someone in Zulu

Send on an errand is thuma in Zulu.

The joy of having kids in Africa is sending them on errands.This is part of upbringing to teach them about how things are done in their culture, how to cook; how to greet elders; who their relatives are; what plants cure stomach ache or snake bite; the moods of the river; the habits of the sun and the moon; helping them with homework and budgeting. Thuma.The boss might send you to a conference.The first part is pronounced as it tool, the second part as in manage.

ZULU ENGLISH Thuma ingane. Send a child. Thuma u-Robert. Send Robert. Thuma u-Anastasia. Send Anastasia. Ngi-zo-thuma bani? Who will I send? Ngi-zo-thuma izi-ngane zami. I will send my kids. Ngi-zo-thumela u-Pierre no-Fleur. I will send Pierre and Fleur. Ba-thume-la ama-sotsha. They send soldiers. Ba-thume-la ama-sela. They send thieves. Thuma mina Jesu. Jesus, send me. U-ya-phi? Where are you going? U-mama -ungi-thumile.

Choices in Zulu

Choice or choosing is khetha in Zulu.

Some immigrants seem overwhelmed by the notion that kids in Canada and the U.S. have a choice especially girls, and cannot be forced to marry at a certain age and to their parents’ choice. Royal families across the world like to choose marriage partners for their kids.Religion also likes to choose religion. Khetha.You can also have two job offers but you choose one.You choose make-up to complement your skin colour, not kill it.You choose to go to a university in Australia, and not Egypt because of the language.
Khe-tha. The first part is pronounced as in cap, the second part as in tally.

ZULU ENGLISH Khethiwe. A girl’s name.The chosen one. Khethani. A boy’s name, in fact khethani means many people should choose.We don’t know what was happening in the family when the child was born, but family members were asked to choose. Khetha, u-ice cream noma i-yoghurt. Choose.Ice cream or yoghurt? Khetha o-mthanda-yo. Choose the one you love. U-khetha bani? Who do you…

Patriotism vs The Lowest Price

Made in Canada. Made in Germany. Made in Romania.Made in Poland.Made in Ireland.Made in Brazil, in a nutshell, buying locally.

If you have members of the family who were laid off some time ago, you know the importance of buying locally, buying that table which will take two weeks to make within your country, instead of getting the cheaper pre-packaged one, from that mega furniture store.
It’s difficult to be patriotic when money is tight, even credit.Yes, even credit has a limit.Remember when the cashier said to you:I’m sorry sir.Your card has been declined. The price is the determining factor for ordinary folks, that is why they wait for Boxing Day or Black Friday sales.A friend of mine once accused me of being bad news for the economy because I don’t go for 50% off.Let’s see, 70% is more my thing.

Buying locally means thinking about someone’s job, before deciding on which table to buy, but that is the last thing on our minds.We look at the price and smile when the shop assistant says th…

Cut in Zulu

To cut something is sika in Zulu.

Fashion designers in Milan and Montreal cut cloth or fabric to make amazing outfits.Mothers cut meat into equal pieces for all the children. Once upon a time in Africa, kings owned land on behalf of the people, so they would cut some and give it to someone.It was borrowing because land was not sold.Real estate came with settlers from Europe.

Si-ka.The first part is pronounced as sea, sick or see.The second part is in Kalamata.

ZULU ENGLISH Sika ka-ncane. Cut a little bit. Sika le-ngubo. Cut this dress. Albrun, sika u-tshani. Albrun, cut the grass (mow lawn). Aileen, sika i-sinkwa. Aileen, slice some bread. Prince, sika i-sinkwa. Prince, slice some bread. Sika u-mhlaba. Cut some land (could be for condo development). Sika a-ma-credit cards. Cut up your credit cards. Sika kwe-li-noni-le. Take the best. U-zi-sike-la kwe-li-noni-le. He’s taking the best for himself/herself. Ngi-ya-sikwa. I’m being cut up (pregnant woman on labour pains).

Kids And Parents - A Movie Review

A retirement package.Western influence on African culture.Polygamy.Olorun Oba Eto, a Yoruba movie has fans and critics for many reasons.Fans love it because of the cultural or religious licence for a man to have more than one wife.

Critics feel it re-stamps women’s reality that whatever educational and economic heights they reach, society expects them to be in a marriage, any marriage. Al-Hassan B. Taiwo (also known as Ogogo) came up with the story in Olorun Oba Eto. He is not here to answer questions so his intention is all we can work with.
The movie is about a man with electronic stores and other businesses in Nigeria.He is married with four children and is very generous to his relatives and in-laws.In one of the scenes he tells his son that what he does for in-laws makes his wife, who is his mother, very happy.

He decides to slow down and hands over the business to his son Toheeb.While his wife is away abroad, he meets Tundun a small businesswoman, played by Temitayo Adeniyi.
The child…

Ugly in Zulu

Ugly is just two letters in Zulu bi, and it makes sense when you add the necessary prefix.DON’T say it like bill, bike or bipolar.It’s a soft ‘b’.

ZULU ENGLISH Mu-bi. He is ugly. She is ugly. Ba-bi. They are ugly. Ngi-mubi. I am ugly.
It is quite sad when a kid utters that last example.It usually happens in Europe and North America where kids of African or Asian parentage are in the minority.
One little boy ran to his mother crying, “He said I’m Chinese.”The mother, a colleague born in Hong Kong said it’s very hard, despite all the reassurances they give him at home.
Last week, a teenager who might be from Sudan or Congo, was taken off the bus by a Transit inspector because she refused to pay.She had green contact lenses and a blonde weave.Some people born in Africa still bleach their skin. The Zulu word -bi also means bad or evil.

ZULU ENGLISH Izulu li-bi. The weather is bad. Lo-kudla ku-bi. This food is bad (tasteless). I-manager yi-mbi. The manager is bad (very angry). A-ba-sebenzi ba-bi. Workers are ver…

Hollywood and Presidential Elections

The Hollywood Political Party (HPP) will be launched in Chicago in November 2017.

HPP?The party will educate voters that pre-election rallies with their streamers, t-shirts, water bottles, candidates’ fire and brimstone rhetoric, sponsored dinner parties and kissing babies are just showbiz, like scenes in Hollywood movies.
Reality is another matter.Voting for a party or president means changing policies that will affect all Americans, which brings us to President Trump and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), dubbed Obamacare. The man is just delivering on one his campaign promises, promises Republicans took to their constituencies and they voted “Yea”.

It is now baffling that those same Republicans backed down when President Trump set the ball rolling to annihilate from history, that piece of legislation called the Affordable Care Act.Americans wanted Donald Trump. That is why his party controls Congress, but in March 2017, the rookie president withdrew from the floor a bill to replace ACA, be…

Hurry Up in Zulu

Hurry up.Shesha in Zulu.We are always in a hurry.Why?To chase money, I suppose.Anyway, kids must hurry up because the school bus leaves on time.Parents have trains to catch or need extra time to accommodate driving during the summer, because construction is in every corner.

She-sha.The first part is pronounced as in shed, the second part as is shallow or shaadi (Hindi?).
ZULU ENGLISH U-hamba ka-ncane Maeve. You walk slowly Maeve. Shesha Maeve. Hurry up Maeve. Shesha Dimitri. Hurry up Dimitri. Shesha, nge-mali yami. Hurry up with my money. Shesha, nge-moto yami. Hurry up with my car. She-shisa, u-mama u-lindile. Hurry up, mama is waiting. She-shisa, ingane iyakhala. Hurry up, the child is crying. Ngi-zo-shesha. I will hurry up. Ba-zo-shesha. They will hurry up. Ni-sheshe Shane no Colleen. Please hurry up Shane and Colleen.

Following The Boss Online

The boss wants you to follow him on Twitter, FB, Instagram and wherever he flies on the internet.He won’t send an email but he will drop hints.

“You didn’t see the tomatoes from my garden?They are on FB.”
"Our trip to Niagara Falls was great.It’s on Instagram.” Then you realise that work is not about producing products like cheese, dresses, cars, serving customers well or providing a government service.It is about power.He wants to extend the statutory 9-5 power to 24/7.Should you add him as a follower?He might make life miserable for you, if you don’t.

Your co-workers also compound matters because they follow the boss and are always gushing about his posts before the staff meeting.What is funny is that the boss never comments about their posts.He doesn’t check them.Why should he?He is the boss. It’s a good thing he is only interested in beating his own drum, online drum that is, because if you follow him and he monitors your activity, he will realise that you don’t like him.He will a…

Giving Birth in Zulu

Giving birth is beletha in Zulu. The process is uku-beletha.
It is also the act where the mother carries the baby on her back.Beletha is an inclusive word that goes beyond the baby’s arrival.It recognises that the child was safe and warm in the mother’s womb.It is now in a strange place and proximity to the mother’s body helps its adjustment.

The mother breastfeeds the child.She sleeps with the child and carries it on her back.Therefore, the warmth and security that was in the womb continues. The child grows up and sleeps with brothers and cousins, a process which teaches it to love and deal with other people besides its parents.Academics call it socialization. Traditional societies in Africa and Asia had certain customs about giving birth.Their sole purpose was to protect the mother and child because without children, there is no family, no race, no nation. Nobody worried about the husband because he had more than one wife.

The dual meaning of be-le-tha should be seen in that context. T…