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Showing posts from 2018

On Company Time

New jobs can be stressful.

The actual interview was stress free because you had all the facts and figures about the company, including suggestions on how to turn it around, bearing in mind blocks of potential customers that have never been tapped, in advertising and future projections. It’s January 2019 and your second day on the job, but still no action because you have five folders on your desk to introduce you to organisational culture.One of them is from the staffing department with various headings, including discipline.

It doesn’t take that long to realise that certain employees do not adhere to the dress code, they announce that they will be on Oprah again, go to the salon on company time, regularly arrive late and have more than two smoking breaks.Other workers just shrug when you ask them about these special employees. They are protected workers.That is the answer to your question.The folders you are currently reading is the company’s way of saying stop.Don’t even think about fol…

To Feel Cold in Zulu

To feel cold is go-do-la in Zulu.

Please note the following:
·Kuyabanda, meaning it’s cold.
·Ngiyagodola, meaning I feel cold. This post is about feeling cold. Canada is notorious for the cold weather and it’s difficult to make people in Africa understand that -19 is not bad.It’s the wind that aggravates matters.They cannot relate to the cold.They take out leather jackets from closets, when they see a few raindrops.
Go-do-la. You say the first part like gondola, the second like door and the last one like lass.

ZULU ENGLISH Ngi-ya-go-do-la. I feel cold. Ba-ya-go-do-la e-Moscow. They feel cold in Moscow. Ba-ya-go-do-la e-Greenland. They feel cold in Greenland. Ba-sa u-mli-lo.Si-ya-go-do-la. Make a fire. We feel cold. Ba-fa-ke a-ma-jersey ngo-ba ba-ya-go-do-la. They are wearing sweaters because they are cold. Si-fa-ke a-ma long Johns ngo-ba si-ya-go-do-la. We are wearing long Johns because we are cold. I-nga-ne i-ya-go-do-la. The child is feeling cold. Vlad va-la i-fa-si-te-la ngi-ya-go-do-la. Vlad, close the…

Clicks in South African Languages

No Zulu lessons today. Happy Holidays.

Ryan Coogler, who directed the blockbuster Disney/Marvel movie Black Panther, is into South Africa these days. We don’t know what fascinates him about the country, maybe it is the languages. We can’t blame him.This blog has a few students interested in South African languages and isi-Zulu in particular.Maybe they are married to someone born there or are hoping to hop on a plane some day and visit the country. 
After having coffee with your friends you say goodbye and say: Si-zo-xhumana, meaning we'll hook up or get in touch.
This is a Happy Holidays’ gift to frustrate you because you can never pronounce these clicks without losing your tongue.So, you better get tongue insurance.

ZULU ENGLISH Xova. Mix as in mix flour and yeast to make bread. Gxuma. Jump as in how high. Qukula. Lift, not just your arms at the gym, but heavy stuff like industrial machinery. Qola. I-qola. Steal. To thief. A thief, like stealing a photo and using photoshop and put your name …

Borrow/Lend in Zulu

Borrow is bo-le-ka in Zulu.

English is my second language and the borrow vs lend debate reminds me of English teachers in Africa.They said you borrow from and lend to someone.  Borrowing happens in December as we accept banks’ offers to increase credit limits, so that we can buy objects for friends and families that demonstrate our love.We will borrow more in February to buy gifts for Valentine’s Day.

What is your credit rating?I was shocked when I came to Canada and businesses asked me this question.I don’t owe anybody. Mama would be appalled.She taught us to live within our means.You don’t borrow from anybody.That was Africa.In North America and Europe, your wealth is measured by your ability to borrow.I’m now a serious borrower to help the economy and my adopted country.Yes indeed!

Friends and family can be funny.They come on bended knee asking for money for an emergency.When it is pay back time, you become the enemy, the irritant. “She is pestering me for $1 000, a measly$1 000.” Life…

Fake News Is Food Colouring

Fake news is like food colouring where the ice cream has a peach and lime flavour.It is not possible to determine the percentage, despite label claims that it is 60% peach and 40% lime, simply because no peaches or limes were chopped and thrown into a blender to produce it.

What is important is that it sells.Health fanatics are not left out.They can pick up potato chips with a kale flavour from supermarket aisles.  Fake news’ designers use colouring to capitalize on the demand for updates about certain people, usually folks created by the camera and live for the camera.We might not know our federal tax number by heart, but we have all the stats about the rich and famous. We even compare notes when two celebrities wear the same $5 000 gown:Who wore it better, A or B?
We consume fake news voraciously even when the headline tells us it is. The magnet is so powerful, common sense flies out of the window.We don’t even mind pseudo journalism, where the piece quotes members of the family that c…

The Head in Zulu

The head is i-kha-nda in Zulu.
My apologies. My bad. I’m sorry.That is the first word I should have taught people learning isiZulu, one of the languages spoken in Southern Africa.Its umbilical cord is buried in a land mass known as Kwa-Zulu, South Africa.
I-kha-nda should have been the first lesson because it is where life begins, the head comes first when a baby is born.Midwives are concerned if it doesn’t.

It is where everything happens, in the head right?You might cause an accident if you think about your problems while driving.You might give a patient the wrong drug or drop a plate of food.What people post tells us a lot about their head space. But right now, I have a headache (Ngi-phe-thwe ikhanda).Somebody who does what she wants is referred to as: khanda limtshel’okwakhe meaning, she dances to her own drum.
Old Bollywood movies have train station porters carrying luggage on their heads.Coolie, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor is a good example of such stories. 

Gone Fishing in Zulu

Fishing is do-ba in Zulu.

I still don’t understand videos of fishermen holding a giant fish then throw it back into the water.That fish is no longer genuine, after breathing polluted air humans find normal.It is now a ‘has been’ and might die soon.Poor thing! Fishing can be dangerous for humans if they are used as bait for some evil deeds.Khakee, a Bollywood movie has Aishwarya Rai playing the bait to lead her boyfriend, the villain (Ajay Devgan), away from the police, led by Amitabh Bachchan.Scary, very scary!

The borderless country called the internet is also injurious to health because millions of thieves are masquerading as friends when they are actually throwing the fishing rod for fraud and sex slaves. Don’t give me the fish.Teach me how to fish.I don’t know how many movies I have seen with those two lines.
Do-ba.You say the first part like doll, the second like Bali, with a soft b.

ZULU ENGLISH U-Bonga u-yo-do-ba. Bonga has gone fishing. U-Themba no-Amal ba-yo-do-ba. Themba and Kamal have…

Look/Watch in Zulu

To look is bhe-ka in Zulu.

Translating this one is tricky.Older kids look after young ones.You look for socks under the bed.You look left and right before crossing the road.It also means watch, as in, don’t try anything because I’m watching you.It also means protecting, I’ve got your back. It also means somebody looked for something, found it and acted upon it like going to live in another part of the country or different continent altogether.

·Wa-bheka e-Sao Paulo (He went to Sao Paulo).
·Wa-bhe-ka e-Kharkiv (He went to Kharkiv). Bhe-ka. You pronounce the first part like bad, the second like kamala, an Indian word.

ZULU ENGLISH Ni-bhe-ke-phi? Where are you going? Si-bhe-ke e-Montreal. We are going to Montreal. Bheka. A boy’s name meaning look/watch. Bhekani. A boy’s name meaning many people should look/watch. Bhe-ka is the shortened name. Bhekumuzi. A boy’s name meaning look after the home.Maybe that is what the parents want the child to do when he grows up. Bhe-ki is the shortened name. Bhekifa. A bo…

Fitness Centres Fill The Void

Roughly, there are two main reasons that drive us to the gym, to lift those weights, pretend to be kickboxers, lay down yoga mats, pound the treadmill and take laps in the heated indoor swimming pool.

The first reason is the desire to be healthy, because the heart is not a donkey.It does not want to be overloaded with stuff and we also don’t want to gain such a lot of weight that we buy a car to accommodate the bulk, cannot walk up a flight of stairs or go through a normal door. Filling a personal void is the other one, more private, which we do not divulge to the sweating bodies around us.The void is our destination after the gym, exacerbated by celebrations like Christmas, the biggest advertisement of a ‘happy home’.

The family is supposed to be the antibiotic for job stress and rude train passengers.It is perceived as a garden of smiles that illuminates our hearts and listens to our litany of complaints about the outside world. That is why the most painful void is the mausoleum of sile…

Dinner With A Cellphone

Paris caf├ęs are famous for people watching.That is why they are popular with writers scouting for characters.They are by no means Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre, but they call themselves writers nonetheless.
The cellphone has come to their rescue.They don’t have to book a flight and disembark at Roissy Airport, to get character ideas.They just wear their designer sunglasses and observe people on their phones, especially dinner dates.Typical scene.

1.She-date confidently follows restaurant host to reserved table, he-date scrolls down his phone.
2.Here’s the menu, your waiter will be with you shortly, thank you says she-date, he-date is still engaged.
3.She-date: Toyima my girlfriend told me about this place.Look at the high ceilings.
4.She-date: Yes.We are ready to order.
5.She-date:Oh! Him?He’ll have the same.
6.She-date:I have a new hair colour.It’s red.Did you notice?
7.She-date: Hmmm! The food is here. Look at that!
8.She-date: Office politics drive me crazy.I’m thinking of start…