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To hold in Zulu

To hold something is phatha in Zulu.  Somebody like Bill Gates holds serious money, u-phethe imali.

Mothers cry at weddings because they don’t know how daughters will be treated by in-laws.  They hope husbands will hold them dear, treat them well.  Pha-tha is holding something in your hand.  Eggs are fragile so we hold them carefully, unless we want to make a monster omelette.
Kids are mercenaries.  They want to know what you brought for them from town.  Pha-tha also refers to the state of your health.  If you are sick, it means you are not holding well.

Miriam Makeba, who introduced the world to isi-Xhosa, her language had a hit song called Phatha Phatha, which means holding somebody here and there.  She went back to South Africa after 1994, but was not honoured because she refused to belong to one political party, which was ironic because she spoke for all oppressed people when she was in exile, not just one political persuasion.

Pha-tha the first part of the verb is pronounced as in paternity, the second as in time.

A girl’s name which means one who is being held.
A boy’s name which means the family should hold something.
U-Beyonce u-phethe i-mali.
Beyonce holds money (she is rich).
Maha, u-phe-the-ni?
Maha, what are you holding?
Ngi-phe-the ama-dates.
I have dates in my hand.
Boris, pha-tha ingane.
Boris, hold the baby.
Namrata, pha-tha ingane.
Namrata, hold the baby.
Phata i-mali ka-petrol.
Take money for gas.
Ma-lu-me, u-ngi-pha-the-le-ni?
Uncle, what did you bring for me?
Jong Li, u-ngi-pha-the-le-ni e-Dubai?
Jong Li, what did you bring me from Dubai?
Ngi-ku-pha-the-le umbila.
I brought you corn.
Ba-pha-the-ne kahle.
They (usually couples) treat each other well.
Ba-pha-the-ne kabi.
They treat each other badly.
U-le-le. U-phe-thwe i-khanda.
She is asleep. She has a headache.
He is asleep.  He has a headache.
A-ngi-pha-the-ki-le kahle.
I’m not feeling too well.

By:  Nonqaba waka Msimang


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