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Denial in Zulu

Denial, is a word I associate with Oprah Winfrey.  She liked saying her guests were in denial about feelings.

All African countries have customs on pregnancy before marriage, and the common link is consultation between the two families. The girl’s family takes her to the boy’s family and he must answer the question: Do you know her?  It’s a great shame if he denies it.
Phi-ka is to deny something or someone.  The first part of the verb is pronounced as in pick or pit, the second part as in the Indian word kamala or, is it kamal?

A boy’s name which means something has been denied.  It might sound harsh but maybe the man who got the woman pregnant denied responsibility.  “It’s not my kid.”  A child lives with its name forever and parents are aware of this.  Therefore, there must be a good reason why they give children names that might embarrass them when they grow up.
The man denied making her pregnant.
Another boy’s name that means the one who was denied.
He is denying it.
They are denying it.
A-ngi-phiki.  Ngi-yi-thathi-le imali.
I’m not denying it.  I took the money.
A-ngi-phiki.  Ngi-li-dlile igwinya.
I’m not denying it.  I ate the doughnut.
Musa u-ku-phika.
Don’t deny it.
U-ye-bile imbuzi.
You stole the goat.
U-phike lani? U-ye-bile imbuzi.
Why are you denying it?  You stole the goat.
u-phike lani?  Umithi.
Why are you denying it?  You are pregnant.
U-ya-phika u-President Trump.
President Trump denies it.
Ngi-ya-mazi u-zo-phika.
I know him.  He will deny it.
U-nga-phiki kusasa.
Don’t deny it tomorrow.

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


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