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Showing posts from April, 2018

Family in Zulu

Describing family as mother, father and kids is restrictive because it is more than that in many cultures.
The family also includes cousins.Igazi lami, means my blood on my mother’s side.  Black people outside Africa can relate to this because they sometimes call each other bloods.  They also call themselves brothers:  mfowethu.

The family is called um-ndeni in Zulu and has the following family members.You do not call them by name:John, Mary, Zinhle, Sipho, Themba etc. That is disrespect.

ZULU ENGLISH Mama. Mother. Mam’ncane. Junior mother.Your mother’s younger sister. Mam’khulu. Senior mother.Your mother’s older sister. Baba. Father/dad. Babo’mkhulu. Grandfather. Babo’mncane. Junior father.Your father’s younger brother. Babe’kazi. Your father’s sister. Gogo. Grandmother. Khulu. Grandmother. Malume. Uncle.Your mother’s brother.

Disability Support Workers Fraud

Casual disability support workers that accompany for a few hours, people with disabilities commit fraud if they sit on their phones and not talk to them. People living with Down Syndrome, autism, Alzheimer’s and other illnesses that erode mental and physical capacity, either live at home or in special institutions.

Such institutions have doctors and other health care providers that monitor their well-being round the clock, but they also hire disability support workers to take them out for coffee, to the park, the mall and other public places. They help them get the wheelchair or motorized chair on mini-buses designed especially for that purpose.If they are taking public transport, workers buy tickets and help them on the bus.But not all of them are on wheel chairs.

The whole exercise is for them to interact with the world outside the institutions.That is why disability support workers take them out for lunch or walks. Some of them are very attentive, even feed their charges if their limbs…

Cleaning Home Garage

The task of cleaning the garage for the summer is daunting if you have a boat moored where the second car is supposed to be, or if you have the old refrigerator you did not throw away when you bought a frost-free fridge.
Garage Cleaning Lunch
The troops shall be fed.It will be a good strategy to tell people who live somewhere around this yard, that there will be a sumptuous lunch afterwards.I wouldn’t call it a bribe.Incentive.Some folks work better if they are incentivised.Is this a real word?Never mind.Dictionary later!
·Place chicken thighs, drumsticks, wings and chicken breasts in a big foil tray or casserole dish.
·Add marinade made with less sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, crushed garlic, sage, rosemary, black pepper and olive oil.
·Marinade in the morning and push the tray in the oven at noon, or an hour before lunch.
·Grated carrots with raisins will make a great bridesmaid.
·Make sure you have ingredients for a Greek salad.
·Dessert is canned yellow cling peaches and fresh cream.Ice …

Socks With Holes

Socks are no longer a secret.They are out in the open.Some Canadian dentists and health clubs have instructions to leave sneakers and shoes at the door and walk with your socks to the torture chair or thread mill.

This is a problem for socks with holes because they will never leave the house.Nobody wants to be scandalized, especially at the gym, which some single people regard as a fishing pond for wives, husbands or partners.Socks where the toe sticks out from a hole, are not romantic like Hollywood’s champagne and candlelit dinners. Socks with holes give the impression that you have not been changing them throughout winter.They have odour because you did not wash them.How could you when they are on your feet all the time? Holes in socks have a big N, negative, which ever way you look at it.

Maybe socks are not the bad guy.Feet are generally neglected.They are not pampered like the face so toe nails grow and attack the poor socks. It’s time for a pedicure.

By:Nonqaba waka Msimang.

April Poetry Month Poor Me


Your white cane tapped the pavement
When I stomped my foot on the platform
Cursing the TTC and vintage clocks
Which are always five minutes behind time
You must have heard me when I cried
Poor me I’m having a bad day

Your guide dog counted its steps gingerly
Down the melting pot known
As Yonge and Bloor
Using my elbow like a sickle
I carved a path for myself
Through the thick maze of
Urban zombies called human beings
Who moan poor me every time
Their plastic card beeps ‘overdrawn’

Your motorized limousine
Hummed past my legs
Just when I cursed the mechanic
And unionized garage workers
For charging by the hour
To custom make my headlights
Poor me I wailed
How will I get to the cottage?

©Nonqaba waka Msimang
From Maple Syrup, a collection of poems

Going Offline

Leaving Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Linked In and other platforms is a personal decision based on reasons for boarding the flight in the first place and one’s perception of social media.Is it a den of thieves or a source of information?

One thing it is not, is a social space.It is an outdoor market where products, including religion are peddled.Money has siblings, thieves. There are information thieves and financial thieves.Information thieves photo-shop blogs and present ideas as theirs.Plagiarism to boot.This could be for profit, career advancement or academic deception.Financial thieves want one thing, the dollars or euros in your bank account or credit card. Information.People stay online if they feel that one day somebody will buy their books, invention, idea of saving polar bears or vote for them. Bloggers keep blogging because they believe they are sharing something valuable.It could be recycling used clothes, recipes, wellness tips, investment advice, quotes or half naked wome…

Chadwick Boseman Is The Boss

King T’Challa played by Chadwick Boseman in the movie Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler, is a frustrating character because he comes up weak, too gentle.He seems to avoid confrontation of any kind.He is not even convincing as a royal candidate, when he accepts the wrestling challenge from either M’baku or Erik Killmonger.  The audience regards him as a weakling because it is conditioned to equate power with violence.It later unfolds that he is low key because he has Wakanda’s interests at heart.He has a double vision on the country, both internally and globally.He cannot be brash like M’Baku or Erik Killmonger, who do not hide personal agendas. T’Challa is both Black Panther and a diplomat.He must.Vibranium, Wakanda’s precious mineral should not fall in wrong hands, which makes it ironic that he sees the American character as an ally.In real life, the U.S. is a big capitalist bully that sends marines to kill locals in order to protect its interests like oil, in countries thousand…

Humour At Home

There is no humour in the woods, that is, Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood and Joziwood. Love however, is abundant and colourful as fish in the sea (before oil drilling).

There are few movies about couples that married for humour like Folakemi Packaging, a Yoruba movie.The woman says she was attracted to him because ‘you make me laugh’.He embraces her and says they will laugh for the rest of their lives. I suppose script writers avoid it because humour is very tricky.It can fall dead on the pavement or people can laugh until tears flow down the cheeks.Humour can offend people.It can be received as racist.Humour can offend religion. There’s also the language issue.People who speak Xhosa can understand the joke but not those that speak Hindi.Translation puts raindrops on humour.

There is no humour in movies because people go there to escape, to forget their miserable lives for two hours.That is why movies concentrate on love, the great Band Aid that promises to fix all problems. But humour …

Meghan Markle And Resilience

Doria Radlan, Meghan Markle’s mama has already advised her daughter about in-laws.Patience.Most cultures tell daughters to exercise patience, observe how things are done and respect immediate and long distance in-laws. 

There’s a Zulu saying that marriage is kwamfaz’ongemama, translated into, it’s not your mother’s house.Meghan Markle will spend a lot of time in Buckingham Palace and other mini-palaces after her wedding to Prince Harry on the 19th of May 2018. Little girls who were brought up to believe that they will meet prince charming and live in castles might envy her, but Meghan Markle needs prayers and a thick skin, not envy because she is entering a house that is short on love but long on appearances.

She doesn’t have to worry about the love aspect because Prince Harry is really into her.She should just fine tune the strategy on appearances, and pretend that all is well with the Queen’s family.Meghan Markle must understand that nothing is personal.It has nothing to do with being …

Oil Spills And Canadian Voters

Justin Trudeau’s statement that “Canada is a country of the rule of law and the federal government will act in the national interest,” seems to be challenging the constitution, which allows Canadians to vote for one party in provinces and territories where they live and a different party for Ottawa, the seat of the national government and the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s quote on Twitter was about Kinder Morgan, the Texas-based company that moves crude oil from Canada to the U.S. in what is known as the Trans Mountain pipeline.The oil, which the company calls the ‘product’ passes through British Columbia, one of the Canadian provinces. Kinder Morgan is in the process of expanding the pipeline and related infrastructure such as pump stations and storage terminals.The national government in Ottawa gave the expansion its blessing just before Christmas in 2016, so did the Alberta provincial government headed by Premier Rachel Notley.

However, British Columbia is totally against …

April Poetry Month Techies


We really don’t need attachments
Fathers and mothers in law,
uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces
we are stand alone hardware
nourished by tv dinners
French movies at the carlton
a spin in the bmw
chocolates and roses
for valentine’s day
winter holidays in the Bahamas
health clubs on king street
a fur coat for her birthday
a basement gym for his

our love is one megabyte strong

a hard disk against interfering
relatives and long lost cousins
the only modem we need
is a once a month contact
with the friends we met
through the dating service
computer wizards like ourselves
with a cottage in barrie
they inherited from a grandmother
who died in a home
surrounded by photographs
of attachments she didn’t need

©Nonqaba waka Msimang, from Maple Syrup, a collection of poems.

Restaurants and People Who Don't Eat

Restaurant house rules.Don’t show up if not eating.

This is one of the rules on the wall of an eatery that opened in town beginning of April.Very funny.It isn’t, unfortunately.It happens.People want to lose weight, so they nurse a glass of water the whole evening, while friends or family tuck in. We were collectively embarrassed some years ago when a friend did not even do that at a dinner party held in a posh hotel.The boyfriend seemed to enjoy the buffet, so did we.

The restaurant in question has a reason for that rule on the wall.It is bad for business. Simple and straight forward. A table of four is taken, but only two people are eating.If they had stayed at home, the waiter would have shown them a table for two. The restaurant still loses money if a couple is having dinner and only one person is eating. Eating out is also a social thing.Diners enjoy the buzz: waiters rushing about with wine buckets and bread baskets, table 4 laughing loudly, waiters singing happy birthday at table 6,…

Riyadh and The Hollywood Screenplay

Black Panther is going to be part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s entertainment history on the 18th of April 2018, when Saudis go back to school.Delete that, make it go back to movie theatres.

It will be the first film, adult Saudis will see after 35 years without popcorn.Public cinema was banned because the country believed that it corrupted the mind. No doubt Black Panther’s gala opening in Riyadh will be attended by the rich and religious, but women will not be wearing gowns that show top and bottom flesh.It’s haram (forbidden). They will be wearing the abaya khalijia and make-up will be picture perfect under the head cover known as the shayla.

It is back to the cinema for Saudi Arabia, but it is also a wake-up call for producers.It is not business as usual in terms of the screenplay.Hollywood and Netflix should throw out the tired dialogue and come up with something original that will be enjoyed by the whole world, across racial, cultural and religious lines. Black Panther, directed…

April Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. MEASUREMENTS

Yours is not to ask
If I know what I have
Behind my back
How can i?
I’m not a crab which walks sideways
I’m an African gazelle
My neck is my binoculars
To assess my immediate
Surroundings and where
I want to go to look
For food, love and sleep

Don’t vex my behind
With statistics from Milan runways
Aerobics and bun-masters
Bathroom scales
And diet drinks

Yours is to question

My origin and when you do
You ought to lie down
At Africa’s feet to thank her
For the genius which
Is my behind

© Nonqaba waka Msimang, from Maple Syrup, a collection of poems.

Publishers and Imbecile Readers

Italics in fiction are very distracting. The eye is on top of the page, but it cannot concentrate because some words in the third paragraph demand attention.They are in italics. They are urgent.They are more important than anything on the page.

Publishers have never sent out a press release why they came up with that idea, absent in classics like A Suitable Boy, War and Peace and the Zulu novel Mntanami Mntanami. Readers can only assume that publishers regard them as imbeciles that cannot detect why particular words in a novel are more important than others.Therefore, publishers can be triangular dictators.They are the author, publisher and reader.

Words on a page stand for emotions, intentions, places, moving vehicles, traditions of a country and other building blocks that make up fiction.Publishers’ italics rob readers of walking leisurely along the beach or driving on a highway without traffic lights and stop signs.Italics force readers to see the story through publishers’ eyes.Look …

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…

Airlines and Business Class

Flying business class.

Let’s call it first class because airlines have no proof that passengers are travelling on business.Maybe the destination is gigabyte fun masked as business, at the company’s expense.Worse still, the business might be political, travelling to overthrow an unsuspecting government.

I once had a taste of flying first class.To tell the truth, I was upgraded from economy.I don’t know how that works but I can’t describe my joy.I was going back home after a disastrous business trip in Birmingham, U.K.The air stewardess showed me a seat at the front of the plane.I did a double take on the ticket and yes indeed, the seat number was in first class.
I put my carry-on  luggage in the overhead bin and organised myself.I was fastening the seat belt when glasses of champagne and orange juice materialized before me.The juice was definitely freshly squeezed because of the pulp.I’m a great pulp fan.I took a sip and looked at the economy neighbours trooping past first class to take t…