Skip to main content

Two in Zulu

The first thing I learnt in French was how to count.  Two is -bili in Zulu.  Nature is fascinating, especially when we see two birds.  There are millions of them out there, but these two decided to hang out and even have kids.

The crack of dawn is kwa-mabili.  Ancient scientists in the land called Kwa-Zulu noticed that there is a point when day becomes night.  That is why they called the crack of dawn kwa-mabili, literally meaning in-between two phenomena.

The English language says two’s company, three is a crowd.  We have two eyes, two hands.  There are two sexes: male and female.  Nature favours two.  Society also.  He is a recluse, meaning he keeps to himself.   But wait!  Everybody is a recluse now, burying our heads in the sand, cellphone sand, that is.
Bi-li, which means two.  The first part is pronounced as in Bill, but as a soft -b-.  DO NOT SAY bilingual.  The second part is pronounced as in leek.

U-mama no-baba, ba-hamba bo-ba-bili.
Mum and dad are walking together.
Ba-ya-thandana.  Ba-hamba bo-ba-bili.
They like each other.  They walk together.
Both of us.
How many are they?
They are two.
Wo-zani la.  No-ba-bili.
Come here, both of you.
Ngi-cela ama-qanda a-ma-bili.
May I have two eggs please?
Ba-ne-zingane ezi-mbili.
They have two kids.
U-ne-zingane e-zi-ngaki?
How many kids do you have?
Ngi-ne-zingane ezi-mbili.
I have two kids.
Ngi-pheka ka-bili ngo-suku.
I cook twice a day.
Ngi-geza ka-bili ngo-suku.
I bathe twice a day.
Ba-thandaza ka-bili ngo-suku.
They pray twice a day.

By:  Nonqaba waka Msimang.


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…

Toddlers And Thanksgiving

Toddlers wail and holler because of boring parents, not because of presumed reasons.

He is wet.
She must be hungry. Toddlers cry because parents are predictable.Getting into the stroller is either good or bad news.Good news if it is going out of the apartment or house to interact with the world, bad news if it is going back home to spend another day fenced in, like convicted criminals.

They can have beautiful pink or blue rooms with toys bought from Toys “R” Us, before the business filed for bankruptcy, but toddlers want more, to touch and feel the world.They itch for adventure. That is why they smile at strangers, extend their tiny hands to touch the bus window, point at dogs and run around the mall with mum in hot pursuit. Toddlers are not born equal.Toddlers in the north of the world spend most of their time indoors staring at blowing snow while their counterparts down south in Africa drive their brothers and sisters crazy, because they want to follow them everywhere.Rain is the only t…