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Showing posts from March, 2019



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 …

Praying in Zulu

Pray is tha-nda-za in Zulu.

All religions are on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and other online forums so you don’t have to put on your best clothes and go to church, synagogue, temple or mosque to pray. Praying is also a business, especially on television.
When you visit South Africa, you’ll see a group of people in white robes praying at the edge of the sea.They are called ama-Zayoni (the Zionists).Members of Kwa-Shembe also worship out in the open wearing traditional clothes worn by ama-Zulu a long time ago.

Going to the temple is a staple scene in Hindi movies.Jaya Bhaduri’s character in Sholay, an Indian classic movie escaped death because she was at the temple when the bad guys massacred the whole family.
Let’s bow our heads in prayer still happens in ordinary homes, especially when someone dies.Neighbours or local priests come to pray with grieving families.
Tha-nda-za.You say the first part like tally, the second like Linda and the last one like Zagreb.

ZULU ENGLISH Thandaza. A girl’s nam…

Computers Are Neither Male Nor Female

E-ads or online ads?
We have e-commerce, right?It follows that we should call online advertisements e-ads.

Having said that, let’s look at banks and their devious ways.They believe that only men are their customers. That is why they have these ads with the man in the house punching the computer while the woman looks adoringly at him. Banks are right about one thing, computers and other electronic devices control our lives: how and when we pay the auto loan, hydro, credit card, buy winter boots etc.It is called e-commerce, e-love or e-everything, because it happens in these devices.
However, these e-ads where it is the man operating the computer, are way off base.Computers are gender neutral.There is no male or female. Banks hire advertising agencies to handle their accounts and they come up with suggestions.

Why is it that banks never question why it is only men that are computer-savvy at home?Women only control computers in bank ads when they have their own business. Such ads are unrealist…

Reminder Physical or Emotional Pain in Zulu

Disturbing a wound in thu-nu-ka in Zulu.
Feeling pain is ku-buhlungu.When someone dies, we tell the family ku-buhlungu.When people lose jobs, we say ku-buhlungu.We cannot teach you how to say that in Zulu because there is no equivalent English sound for -hlu-.

U-bu-hlu-ngu is different from disturbing existing pain like a wound or recovering from someone who stood you up at the altar with 200 guests waiting and debts that will take years to pay.

Thu-nu-ka is disturbing a previous pain.Man breaks a leg while skiing in Vemdalen, Sweden.His kids play with his cast, writing their names and drawing emoji’s.His wife scolds them that they are disturbing the pain: Ni-ya-mthunuka. Thunuka. You say the first part like tool, the second like nook and the last one like Kamala Harris, one of the 2020 U.S. presidential candidates.

ZULU ENGLISH Thunukile. A girl’s name meaning her birth reminds the family of previous pain. Thu-nu is the short version. Bathunukile. A girl’s name meaning her birth reminds many p…

Weddings Seating Dilemma

Drama at wedding seating arrangements.

So, you’ve decided on a spring wedding? No problem, love is in the air or you’ve accepted an arranged marriage proposal.The problem is managing your family at the sit-down dinner, managing, because family is not monochrome. Siblings carry the same surname and religion, but they come in different ages, temperament, economic circumstances, education, culture arrogance and where they live at the time of your wedding.
These categories are no help either, for example, putting married couples at the same table might come with a nasty surprise where a couple announces a divorce.Also, married women that are not allowed to breathe a word at home dread wedding seating arrangements that reinforce their nonentity existence.

But married women have no trauma compared to your single girlfriends or divorcees.They feel their unicorn status more in social gatherings such as weddings and parties, where some married women regard them as potential rivals and cling to hu…

Build in Zulu

To build is -kha- in Zulu.

A-kha means build, you build.A-kha-ni is you (many people) build. Building presupposes that you have the right to put up a structure.There were no title deeds in Africa in the olden days.The chief or king held the land in trust for the people.He gave you a piece of land to build some structure and grow some crops.

It is also about neighbourliness.In ancient Africa, people said sakhile ezweni (we have built on our land).Your neighbours were important because they shared your joy and pain.You did not call 911 when your wife had a difficult pregnancy.You sent a child to fetch a neighbour or the midwife.

In the olden days, girls were brought up to get married and build a home for their husbands and kids.That was their career path, period. In Europe and North America, kids learn to play alone.Colourful blocks are favourite toys.Parents buy them for their kids so that they can build skyscrapers, schools, cars, trains etc.
A-kha.The first part is pronounced like art, t…

Pretending to be Busy in Zulu

A translation dilemma!

·to act busy is di-di-ze-la in zulu.
·to be really busy is also di-di-ze-la. Which one should we use for this lesson?My mother’s.She used to watch my shenanigans at being busy and she would ask me.

Nonqaba wenzani?Uyadidizela nje.Angiboni ukuthi wenzani.

(Nonqaba, what are you doing?You are acting busy.What exactly are you doing?)  Haayi!You can never fool the woman who carried you in her belly for nine months and risked her life to bring you into this world in one piece.Women still die in childbirth, unfortunately.
We’ll start with the positive.Monsoon Wedding, directed by Mira Nair is one of my favourite classics because preparations for the wedding remind me of Africa: relatives arriving from afar, being sent to fetch them from the train station or airport, massive pots to cook for the masses, brewing African beer, cousins running around, aunts cooking and trying to understand elders and their eccentrics. My favourite moments with baba-mkhulu, ma’s dad was his quest…

Meghan Markle's Son Commonwealth


That is the most appropriate name for Meghan Markle’s son because his father is the descendant of a family that exercises what is called the divine right of kings, which led to the invasion and subsequent ownership of people who do not look like that family. We don’t know Commonwealth’s last name because his parents are not referred to as Mr. and Mrs. somebody.We also don’t know if they have a social security number or pay tax.

What we know is that Commonwealth’s parents are globe-trotters because the sun never sets on what was known as the British Empire, with tentacles reaching Africa, Australia, Caribbean, Hong Kong, India, North America, New Zealand and everywhere where the British navy landed, took the land through the barrel of the gun, imprisoned local kings, instituted British education to drive the money economy, shaved kids’ heads because their kind of hair supposedly had lice, punished them for speaking African languages and annihilated African culture using the…

Guts in Zulu

Courage is i-si-bi-ndi in Zulu.

Lost in translation.That is what we have here.Maybe we should say i-si-bi-ndi means guts. Courage and bravery might be twin sisters because the outcome is something good/positive. Family encourages someone about to have an operation to have courage.Be brave.People who have lost everything in a fire, tsunami or hurricane are brave because they still hope for a better tomorrow. Women are brave because they give birth.Some die in the process.

However, i-si-bi-ndi is more than courage or bravery. It is having the guts to do something bad, which might be criminal or against society’s norms. I-si-bi-ndi is carrying drugs to Thailand because they don’t play.They will throw you in jail and throw away the key.Forget about your embassy in Bangkok.It won’t save you.

Being a drug mule to Thailand or any other country requires i-si-bi-ndi because of the consequences.If you are lucky, you will be deported.If you are not, you will languish in jail because you did not revea…

Obama 2020 Asset or Liability?

Barack Obama, asset or liability?

The former U.S. president might be a liability for Democrats in the 2020 presidential election, for the simple reason that political wounds take time to heal, scars even longer. Republicans are on record that they wanted Obama to go down in history, as one of the one-term presidents. It didn’t happen, and any strategy by Democrats to tout some of the 44th President’s achievements might be suicidal, because Republicans are working round the clock to re-elect Donald Trump, the heir apparent and torch any idea of making Barack Obama great again.

Obama has not endorsed any of the 2020 presidential hopefuls and if Democrats are wise, they should not pressure him into anointing any candidate.That is better said than done because some of them carry residue pollen from the Obama administration.
Joe Biden, former Vice President is the most obvious example.Republicans are likely to use him to rewind what they perceive as ills of the Obama legacy for example, Afford…

Writers' Cookouts

Writer’s block.

It is something that brings shame. Q: How are you doing?How’s work?
A: Bad. I haven’t written a sentence for a week.

Q: Have you ever thought of getting a real job? See.People who don’t write don’t understand, especially those we live with.That is why writers should take a break from anonymous Twitter and meet face to face with other writers in their city, to give the car some gas that will kick writers’ block to the curb.

How about cooking? After all, writing is about mixing ingredients, boiling and pushing something in the oven to come up with an attractive read. Writers’ Cookouts

They should have writers’ block cooking marathons where they try and cook chicken roti, paella, lasagna, Scottish haggis, Chinese dumplings, roast chicken, quiche, Japanese ramen noodle soup anything, that will take their minds off the writers’ block. Ordinary people are not sympathetic to writers’ block because writing:

·does not feed the starving masses (we can barely feed ourselves)
·it does not pr…