Skip to main content

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?

ZULU
ENGLISH
Phika.
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.
U-phiki-we.
The man denied making her pregnant.
Mphikwa.
Another boy’s name that means the one who was denied.
U-ya-phika.
He is denying it.
Ba-ya-phika.
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.
www.amazon.com

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Black Panther Africa Here and There

Black Panther is about Wakanda a fictionalized country in Africa, but it has delightful snippets of the real Africa.

The movie has tall people, like Kenya’s and Sudan’s sons and daughters. Dora Milaje, the royal guard supervised by Okoye (Danai Gurira) is composed of tall women.Okoye is a common surname or family name in Nigeria, as in Oge Okoye, the actress. There are also scenes where men on horseback are wearing colourful blankets, a common sight in Lesotho, the country surrounded by South Africa.Locals, the Basotho, call these blankets seana marena.The country’s beauty sinks in as one drives from Maseru the capital, up to Leribe and further up the mountains.Great roads too.

Costume design.That’s another snippet about Africa. There is Angela Bassett’s character looking regal, in what is called isicholo in Zulu.Well! it looks like isicholo, a married woman’s headdress. You probably saw the re-mixed version of isicholo in what Beyonce is wearing in the Sorry video. They also speak isiXh…

Black Panther Casting

Chadwick Boseman sure looks like a younger John Kani in Black Panther.That is why the movie won the Best Casting category in my little awards.  Envelope please!

Kani plays King T’Chaka.Boseman is T’Challa, his son.What a striking resemblance.It reminds me of my arrival in New York City some years ago.I used to stare at African Americans because they looked like a cousin, uncle, neighbour, teacher, friend, doctor or someone on the bus. Sure, we learnt about slavery at school, how slave traders stole Africans and how internal wars between chiefs also led to humans being taken to another continent in chains. But being in America, seeing people who look like your world, in Africa, was painful.

“Death is better than bondage.” That is what one character said in Black Panther.Was it Erik Killmonger?I’m not sure but I will double check when I go back.Yes, again.The movie is a cinematic buffet.Don’t talk with your mouth full, as mama would say. We gave the film the Best Casting category for other…

2018 Lions and Bed Bugs

The new year 2018 is waiting in the wings, watching with glee another round of happy new year wishes which will never come to fruition because human beings do not have the stoicism, intellect, tenacity, and sting of lions and bed bugs.

They believe in instant gratification, the now-now.That is why they have Nespresso coffee makers, T.V. dinners, plastic knives, forks and glasses, pre-approved credit, disposable Christmas trees and online love.Lions and bed bugs are more realistic.They are patient. They still believe that good things come to those who wait.
It might seem ridiculous to equate the two but they have the same survival strategy.Master planners.They observe the prey: its mating, family, favourite food, watering hole and its residential address.  Careless tourists with cameras are a plus. Prey surveillance is much easier for bed bugs because what’s wrong with not making my bed for a month, let alone regularly washing bedsheets and comforters and hanging them in the sun?Coin laun…