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Showing posts from 2019

Zulu Triple Consonants

This blog is just basic Zulu, because of English, and its limitation.
The Queen’s language does not have double and triple consonants, which makes it impossible to teach you words like ingqondo, ngqongqoza, gxuma, gxoba, gxusha etc.

ZULU ENGLISH Qagela. Guess. Qunga. Be brave. Qikelela. Make sure. Qondisa. Make it straight. Gxoba. Crush, using a pestle and mortar to crush leaves to get medicine. Gxuma. Jump. Gxumeka. Plant a pole, like British seamen that landed in Africa and Asia.They just planted the British flag! Ximba. A surname. Ingqondo. Brain. Ngqongqoza. Knock.Knock! Knock! Who’s there?

Support in Zulu

Support is se-ke-la in Zulu.
A table or chair is not stable, so you push something under the leg to support it.English soccer fans love their teams.They sit in the stands and sing, although I never understood their songs when I lived in Durham.

Working in an office is injurious to your health because of politics.You either support the boss or the assistant boss.The boss was hired after a fancy business degree from Brussels.The assistant boss also applied for the position, after doing the work in an acting capacity for two years. He didn’t get it.Maybe it’s because in the interview, he talked about Deutsche Marks, pounds and francs, instead of saying euro, the money now used collectively in the European Union.
Family supports family.That is the storyline in old mafia movies like The Godfather.They were so many, it resulted in stereotypes about Italians.That is what movies do, programme people to think or act in a certain way.
Se-ke-la.You say the first part like sag, the second like the Fr…

My Culture or Nothing

Willingness to adapt.

Compost. We nurture the soil with vegetable peelings from the kitchen, dead leaves from the garden and some water during the dry season, so that it can return the favour and allow seeds to grow into mischievous chillies, proud spinach and lazy pumpkins. It’s the same with culture.There must be a willingness to understand why certain cultures believe 13 is an unlucky number. That is why buildings in North America don’t have a 13th floor.

That understanding should include why other cultures eat with their hands, use what you think are sticks to eat, walk barefoot, sleep on the ground, bow in greeting, pour a drop alcohol on the ground before drinking, call each brother or sister and touch elders’ feet. Canada seems to be the ideal place for that willingness since it is a compost country, but it is not hundred percent because of humans’ selfish nature. It is my culture or nothing, an attitude that presupposes that culture is perfect.

It is not.It leads to women crying o…

Enough in Zulu

Enough in -nele Zulu.
I’ve had enough, is a popular movie line, said in anger.Enough is enough, I’m not cooking anymore, said a woman tired of quiet family dinners because everybody is on cellphones except her.I never do dessert in restaurants because the main dish closes all gates.

Children in South Africa also have names that mean enough.For example, after five daughters, the family will name the new baby girl Anele, meaning we have enough daughters.If it is sons, they will call the new boy Sanele, we have enough sons now.

What I find incredible is that a family of 3 might name the 4th child Sanele (we are enough), whether they have a mix of boys and girls or not. Do you know somebody called Sanele?
Chances are, he/she is the last born and this happened way back when, before u-Thukela River started flowing, long before planned parenthood. Once they name a child enough, nature somehow understands and they don't have any more kids.  Amazing!

Once again, there are other factors that det…


Picking pockets is -khu-thu-za in Zulu.
Tourists should be aware of men with jackets or newspapers over their arms.They can lift your wallet and pass it on to their partners in crime.Cellphones are also in demand in some countries.

Khu-thu-za also means extortion, getting money through blackmail, kidnapping or sheer evil like in the book, The Golden Boy, set in India and Texas.Leena, the main character marries Girish through an arranged marriage. Her parents work extra hard to give her a substantial dowry. Life with her mother-in-law, sister-in-law and husband is pure slavery. To rub salt in the wound they go back to her parents and extort a monthly payment, claiming Leela doesn’t know the basics of housekeeping.She runs away when Girish throws kerosene at her and lights a match.
On-line pickpocketing.That is the name of the game.What is the lesser evil?A street pickpocket or a faceless online one asking for your bank details?Your husband knows you bank at Digital DollarsBank on Main Str…

Predict in Zulu

To predict is bhu-la.

Canada will have a general election in October 2019 and the United States campaign structure for the 2020 presidential election, is already at window level. There will be all kinds of polls predicting the results in both countries.Political staff that babysit candidates also predict jaundiced outcomes, based on their own stats. Therefore, in a way, polls u-ku-bhula.
Bhu-la comes from how amaZulu lived before Christianity, polls, television and the internet.Traditional societies in Africa, Asia and Australia have soothsayers, people who ‘see’ into the future.
Old movies had women who used round glass objects to ‘see’ the present and future.Nigerian movie directors love scenes where native doctors throw bones on a grass mat, to predict what will happen.
Once upon a time, ama-Zulu had a powerful king, u-Shaka ka Senzangakhona.When his brothers killed him to hijack the throne, he told them that they will never be kings because ocean birds were circling the land.He predict…

Don't You Have an English Name?

Mei means beautiful in Mandarin.

Is that the correct term Mandarin?I don’t want to say Chinese.It seems too general.It is like saying I speak African, when there are hundreds of African languages, some related in how they are spoken, others not. Outrun the Moon, the last fiction I read revolves around Mei-Si, which means beautiful thought.Her name is Mercy in the book, to accommodate the English tradition that ‘you come into our world, the Queen’s world.Yours is not interesting or important.’

I once worked with somebody called Sushmita.One day the manager was baffled when I spoke about her. I explained where she worked in the organisation and she said, “Oh! you mean Sue.We call her Sue.” The book taught me the meaning of ‘mei’: beautiful, which explains why many Chinese girls are called Mei Li, re-engineered into May Lee.
This blog is about a bouquet of things, including how kids are given names in Africa.The primary reason is the family. What was happening in the family when the child w…

After Parents' Death

Death? Morbid!Depressing conversation.
The bad blood that gurgles in families after a parent’s death can be attributed to the embargo about death.Life is a song, with a beginning and an end.

Reluctance by both parents and kids to talk about the end of the song results in broken arteries, sometimes involving lawyers, as those left behind fight over a parent’s belongings or property.
I’m reluctant about using property because that legal term sprouts up after somebody has died.What used to be a home, becomes property and it has a second name, value. Properties are bought and sold and the higher the value, the more bitter the fight about who should have it.
That is where a will comes in handy, because it states who will get the parent’s house, the apartment building she owned on Snow Street, her shares in Outside the Box (OTB), a successful bank that does not use ‘traditional’ methods of attracting clients and acres of land she leases to canola farmers in Canada.

The absence of a will is mayh…



don’t vex my behind
with statistics from milan runways
aerobics and bunmasters
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

Repair in Zulu

Repair is -khanda in Zulu.
I-khanda, which means the head, featured in a previous post.This lesson is the verb -khanda.Something is broken.You have to use your head to determine what is wrong.Your toolbox with all the latest electronics will not help if your diagnosis is wrong.

To fix or repair something is -khanda because you use your head (i-kha-nda) to find out why the car won’t start.A possibility is that it doesn’t have gas/petrol.It happens.We live in difficult times.In that case, the car is not broken.You just need to walk to the nearest gas station with a can to buy a few litres.You don’t have $10?Then you are broke, broke, broke and need repairing yourself. Warm weather is coming.There’ll be a lot of boots on the roofs doing repairs.The Maintenance Department where you work deserves respect because they repair broken toilets.
Some things cannot be repaired because they are not meant to be.That is why there are dollar stores in Canada and the U.S.Use and garbage it.Moving figures …