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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 question:  When will you stop going to school, and find a job so that you can give my daughter money?  Ma didn’t like it one bit because she worked menial jobs so that I could go as far as I wanted.  I reached university with the support of her brother: Duke Ngcobo, an editor of the weekly paper, Ilanga lase Natal.

Wedding preparations or the unveiling of a tombstone are legitimate busy-ness: u-ku-di-di-zela.  Then comes laziness when there is a lot of moving about but you cannot pinpoint what people are doing.  It happens in event management.
There are all these people wearing T-shirts about a product launch, some of them even have walkie-talkies but none of them know where the washrooms are or the unique ingredients of the product they are launching.

Di-di-ze-la. The first and second parts are pronounced like di-di an Indian word which means sister, the third part like Zen and the last one like lark.

Ba-ya-di-di-ze-la.  Be-nza-ni?
They are moving about.  What are they doing?
Ba-ya-di-di-ze-la-nje.  A-be-nzi lu-tho.
They are just moving about.  They are not doing anything.
Wa-di-di-ze-la Kim jung.  We-nza-ni?
Kim Jung, you are moving about.  What are you doing?
Ni-ya-di-di-ze-la, ko-dwa u-ku-dla a-ku-ka-lu-ngi.
You are moving about but the food is not ready.
Di-di-ze-la Loti, ko-dwa u-ma-ma u-zo-ku-ba-mba.
Just keep shuffling about Loti, but mother will catch up with you.
Ba-ye-ke ba-di-di-ze-l.  Ve-le a-ma-vi-la.
Let them keep shuffling about.  They are plain lazy.

Si-ya-di-di-ze-la u-mfo-we-thu u-ya-sha-da.
We are working full steam.  Our brother is getting married.
By:  Nonqaba waka Msimang.


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