Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2018

Trump Behind The Camera

The outcome of the November 2018 U.S. midterm election will be largely determined by interior and exterior political extras that put Donald Trump in the White House.

Interior and exterior is film lingua franca and is the most apt way to describe how he came to power.Movie directors tell stories through scenes shot inside buildings or on the street and park benches.Remember the park bench scene in Forrest Gump? Directors also use lights for exterior scenes but not as much as they do for interior shots. Analysis on elections tends to focus on exterior shots: previous elections’ statistics, age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, geographical position of these United States of America (as people down south call the U.S), new American citizens, polls and other quantifiable data.

The Trump effect is an enigma for political pundits.They have a difficult time trying to pinpoint how extras in interior scenes feel.These voters or extras are more intense.They are concentrated like dams,…

Angry in Zulu

Mad/anger is thu-ku-the-le in Zulu.

There’s a lot of anger in sports, despite fines.A date is soured already when the other party is late, because of the old excuse, traffic.Kids get mad after sitting a long time in the stroller. Renting an apartment is a hit or miss situation.People come to work mad as hell.Many reasons.They didn’t sleep because neighbours were making noise drinking, fighting or neighbours’ dogs barking the whole night.

Cellphones make lovers mad all the time because you give your online lover more time than the in-house one.All is well I suppose, until you take a plane to see a stranger who might not look like his or her profile pic. Scary stuff. Thu-ku-the-le.You say the first part like tool, the second like kudos the third like Tess, and the last one like leg.The noun is u-ku-thu-ku-the-la. There is another noun, but it is difficult for non-Zulu speakers: intukuthelo.

ZULU ENGLISH U-Thukela. A mighty river in the land of ama-Zulu, historic battles fought on its banks ag…

Tear in Zulu

To tear something in Zulu is da-bu-la.
Donald Trump ran on a tear up everything former U.S. President Obama had ever done ticket:Affordable Health Care, Immigration, everything.
Letters are old school e-mail that came in an envelope addressed to somebody or Mr. & Mrs. Girls would receive letters from boys.They could be accepted with a smile or torn up without reading them.
When a couple divorces, friends and family say the marriage certificate is torn up.The British brought the bible to Africa and taught kids about their English ancestor who tore a river up in two.We see homeless people with torn clothes.
There are many instances where politics tear a country into two because of religion or land disputes.
Da-bu-la also means taking a short cut through houses, something that is common in Asia and Africa where there are no picket fences.I see it a lot in Yoruba movies. Da-bu-la. You say the first part like darling, the second like booing and the third one like lark.

Nothing in Zulu

Nothing is lutho in Zulu.

What’s wrong? Characters in movies like saying it’s nothing when clearly something is bothering them.I don’t mind the question.It is only when it is asked three times that I freak out. Women used to be on their feet 24/7.Not anymore and some men are not pleased at all, like a character in Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? The man told his friends that his new young wife doesn’t know anything.‘She doesn’t cook, doesn’t clean.’

You enter a room.Friends stop talking.What’s the matter? Nothing.Somebody answers.Busted.They were talking about you. Lu-tho.The first part is pronounced like loom the second one like tall.The noun is u-tho, something. You say the first part like ooze and the second part like tall.

ZULU ENGLISH A-nga-zi lu-tho. I know nothing. Zenith, u-ba-ni o-su-zi-le? Zenith who farted? A-nga-zi lu-tho. I don’t know anything. Yi-ni-ndaba? What’s the matter? A-ku-lutho. It’s nothing. Boris, yi-ni ndaba, wathula? Boris what’s the matter?You are quiet. Lu-tho. Nothing…

Me And World Peace


The personal is one of the things that binds people through languages despite our belief that we are not the same. You believe that your culture is better than mine and vice versa.You think the colour of your skin is better than other colours.

We are happy to see a group of people because it shifts the superiority gear to five.You understand this because you have driven stick shift cars and you know that 5 is the top gear that makes speed cops lick their fingers, as they focus their speed traps to catch your behind. Me in English has an -e but an i- in most languages.Here are some examples.

·Me in Zulu is mi-na.
·Home in Spanish is mi-casa.
·My father in Yoruba, the Nigerian language is baba-mi.
·Me is mig in Swedish. I cannot provide more -mi examples but, these few indicate that villages, societies and nations begin with the individual, the one person that is necessary to form a collective, a collective of peace.

If most languages call the individual -mi, what is the point of racism and…

Roar in Zulu

Roar is bho-nga in Zulu.

Lions don’t yawn when they wake up.They roar, and hopefully you are not around taking a selfie against a tree. Kids and women in abusive households keep quiet when the man of the house arrives and roars.To stir up trouble is bho-ngo-za. Bho-nga. The first part is pronounced like ball, the second like singer, soul, opera or jazz singer. To cause trouble is bho-ngo-za, the first part is like ball, the second like longitude but with an -o-, and the last part like Zara.

ZULU ENGLISH Bhongoza. A boy’s name. Maybe someone in the family or the country was causing trouble when he was born. A-ma-bhu-be-si a-ya-bho-nga e-hla-thi-ni. Lions roar in the forest. U-ba-ni u-bho-ngo-za? Who is the chief troublemaker? U-Drew u-ye-na u-bho-ngo-za. Drew is the chief troublemaker. U-Sienna u-ye-na u-bho-ngo-za. Sienna is the chief troublemaker. Ba-ya bho-ngoza a-ba-se-be-nzi. Working are roaring/angry. A-ma-pho-yi-sa a-ba-mbe- u-bho-ngo-za. The police caught the chief troublemaker. A-ma-pho-yi-sa …

What Are You Saying in Zulu

U-thi-ni? What are you saying?

The root of the question is -thi-.The poor tourist might be clutching his guide book and talking to the locals in Spanish. The look on their faces say we don’t understand. U-thi-ni?What are you saying?That is what they will ask the tourist in South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, where the language isi-Zulu is spoken.

First day at school can be rough. One parent related her son’s experience.He was crying when she picked him up because other kids said he was Chinese.‘But you are.’She said that is when she decided to start on the identity of being Chinese and Canadian. Men stop scrolling on their phones or reading the paper when women say we need to talk. When a woman says she needs some space, the man will probably say, U-thi-ni?
U-thi-ni?You pronounce the first part like ooze, the second like tin and the last part like niece.

ZULU ENGLISH Bathini. A girl’s name meaning what are they saying?Maybe, there were some unanswered family questions when she was born. …

Milk in Zulu

Milk in Zulu is u-bi-si.

Babies love milk. They feed and sleep, feed and sleep. They don’t pay taxes at all.Some cultures use milk in cooking a lot. I remember a scene from Mississippi Masala, one of Mira Nair’s films.The character is at the cashier with big plastic bottles of milk.The cashier says something like: ‘Are you running a diary?’The character was not amused.

U-bi-si. The first part of the noun is pronounced like ooze, the second part like Ibiza and the third part like si, the Spanish si.

ZULU ENGLISH I-tiye no-bi-si. Tea and milk. I-kho-fi no-bi-si. Coffee and milk. I-zi-nko-mo zi-no-bi-si. Cows have milk. U-shi-zi we-nzi-wa ngo-bi-si. Cheese is made with milk. Ngi-ce-la u-bi-si o-lu-ba-nda-yo. May I have cold milk please? Ngi-ce-la u-bi-si o-lu-shi-sa-yo. May I have hot milk please? Ludmilla, bilisa u-bi-si. Ludmilla boil some milk. Arslan, bilisa u-bi-si. Arslan boil some milk. A-ngi-na-lo u-bisi. I don’t have milk (nursing mothers). Ngi-no-bi-si o-lu-ni-ngi.

Push in Zulu

To push or forge ahead is -du-du-la in Zulu.

Twitter is the current wrestling ground for pushing and shoving.It is not nice, to see people pushing their way through, and not standing behind drugstore or bus lines. Wait for your turn is what Canadians say. Kids in Africa have a lot of fun when a car breaks down.They join adults and push it, making you smile when you see six-year old boys in the effort.
Du-du-la. You pronounce the first two bits like do and the last one like laugh.

ZULU ENGLISH Du-du-la. A boy’s name that means forge ahead or push.The new born baby is given that name because there was conflict in the family, some disagreement.Maybe the parents were struggling, pushing an idea which might give them money. Du-du-la-ni. Many people should push. Du-du-la sisi. Push sister (women in labour). Ba-du-du-la i-moto. They are pushing a car. Mama, u-Yelen u-ya-ngi-du-du-la. Mother, Yelen is pushing me. Yelen, mu-sa u-ku-du-du-la u-Moshe. Yelen, don’t push Moshe. Zi-nga-ne, mu-sa-ni u-ku-du-du-l…