Growing in Zulu

Grow up is khula in Zulu.  Kids grow up overnight I swear.  Summer family reunions are full of exclamations:  Is this Aquarius?  My! How she has grown!  Incidentally, weeds are called u-khula.

Cutting your hair is no problem.  It will grow again.  What should not be allowed to grow is the tiff between North Korea and the United States because the nuclear game has no winners.  
Khu-la, the first part is pronounced in Kumbaaya, the second part as in laugh.

A boy’s name, which means many people should grow, multiply.
A girl’s name, which means something has grown.
U-su-khuli-le Sandra.
You have grown up Sandra.
Wa-khuli-swa ngubani?
Who brought you up?
Nga-khuli-swa u-gogo.
I was brought up by my grandmother.
Nga-khuli-swa u-malume.
I was brought up by my uncle.
Nga-khuli-swa ama-foster parents.
I was brought up by foster parents.
U-zo-khula u-ma u-dla i-mifino.
You’ll grow if you eat greens (parents trying to coax kids to eat greens, spinach or broccoli).
U-ya-khula lo-mona.
This jealousy is growing.
U-ya-khula lo-muthi.
This tree is growing.
U-ya-khula lo-moba.
This sugarcane is growing.
U-gogo u-se-khuli-le.
Grandmother is old.
Ngi-zo-khula ngibe i-Prime Minister ya-se-Canada.
I will be a Prime Minister of Canada when I grow up.
Ng-zo-khula ngibe I Chancellor yase-Germany.
I will be a Chancellor of Germany when I grow up.
Ngi-zo-khula ngibe u-nesi.
I will be a nurse when I grow up.

Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author of Sweetness, a novel set in South Africa.


Popular Posts