Skip to main content

Smell in Zulu


Smelling in Zulu is -nuka.  It depends on the context, because it is used for both good and bad smell. I once overheard a man on his phone at the Toronto Public Library saying his girlfriend had an offensive smell.  What is also sad is when somebody is wrongly accused: she has been smelled, u-nu-ki-we.
The smell from the oven or pots on the stove makes the family and visitors happy.  Lovers call each other names, when love flies out of the window.  A president who killed the last dictator might smell a rat that he might be overthrown or killed, himself.

We wash, use roll-on and spray some perfume and cologne because our bodies have natural odours. Putting your hand on your nose when you see food from other cultures is bad, but closing your eyes and smiling at foreign cuisine is good.

Nu-ka.  The first part is pronounced as is ‘bienvenue’, a French word.  The second part is pronounced as in the Indian word kamala.

ZULU
ENGLISH
Kwa-nuka ka-mnandi.
Something smells good.
U-mama u-bhaka i-si-nkwa.
Mother is baking bread.
Kwa-nuka ka-mnandi.
Something smells good.
Ba-shisa inyama.
They are grilling meat (at a BBQ or braai).
U-nuka ka-mnandi.
You smell nice.
I-cologne yami.
It’s my cologne.
Kwa-nuka ama-orontshi.
I smell oranges.
Yebo.  Nge-nza i-orange juice.
Yes. I’m making freshly squeezed orange juice.
Misa i-moto.  Kukhona o-ku-nuka-yo.
Stop the car.  Something is smelling.
Ku-nuka ama-thaya. Aphelile.
It’s the tyres.  They are finished.
Ku-nuka-ni?
What is that smell?
Ku-nuka a-ma-teki.
It's sneakers or running shoes.
A-ka-gezi. Unuka kabi.
He doesn’t bathe.  He smells bad.
U-nu-kiwe.  A-ka-yona i-sellout.
He was wrongly accused.  He is not a sellout.

By:  Nonqaba waka Msimang.

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…