Cooking in Zulu

Cooking is pheka in Zulu.  Kids eat, play and sleep.  It’s a kids’ thing.  That is why it is funny listening to them bragging about what their mothers and aunts are cooking for dinner.        

Sorry! Putting lettuce in a bowl and adding tomatoes and cucumbers is not cooking.  Burn, burn, burn!  That is cooking.  There must be some heat to nudge things into action.
Phe-ka.  The first part of the verb is pronounced like perk, the second part like the name Kasim.

We-nza-ni ubaba?
What is dad doing?
He is cooking.
We-nza-ni Joyce?
Joyce what are you doing?
I’m cooking.
We-nza-ni uSamantha?
What is Samantha doing?
U-se-khishini.  U-ya-pheka.
She is in the kitchen, cooking.
Pheka i-phalishi.
Cook some grits.
Pheka i-lasagna.
Cook some lasagna.
Pheka i-thanga.
Cook some pumpkin.
U-Thami u-pheka u-peas.
Thami is cooking peas.
U-Arsenio u-pheka i-pasta.
Arsenio is cooking pasta.
U-Sharon u-pheka i-turkey.
Sharon is cooking turkey.
What will you cook?
Ngi-zo-pheka i-sobho.
I will cook soup.
Ngi-zo-pheka i-nkukhu.
I will cook chicken.
I’m still cooking.
They are still cooking.
Nobody cooked, (Imagine kids’ faces)

Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author of Sweetness the novel.


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