Crying in Zulu

Crying is -khala in Zulu.

It doesn’t have to be about bad news.  You could be crying because of those onions you are slicing, laughing at jokes delivered by Chris Rock, a stand-up comedian or crying in a movie scene like Angela Bassett, a great actress.
Kha-la.  The first part is pronounced as in car or come, the second part as in lass.

I-ngane i-ya-khala.
The child is crying.
Why is it crying?
It is hungry.
Why are they crying?
Why are you crying?
Ba-ya-khala. Ku-sho-ni-we.
They are crying.  Somebody died.
Musa u-ku-khala.
Don’t cry.
Thula.  Musa u-ku-khala.
Keep quiet.  Don’t cry.
I-nsimbi i-ya-khala.
The bell is ringing.
U-khala ngani?
What do you need?  What are your concerns?
You are going to cry (brother warning younger brother or sister).
U-ya-khala ebusuku.
She cries at night.
Ngi-khala ngi-nga-shayiwe.
I cry without anybody beating me (when you are broke or dirt poor).
U-khala e-nga-sha-yiwe.
He is broke, or dirt poor.

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


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