Listening in Zulu


Listen. Lalela.
Julia Mathunjwa (centre), one of the singers that made
South African music popular abroad. 
She was part of the  group Shikisha, which also provided back-up
for Miriam Makeba.
Friends don’t listen.  Kids do not listen to their parents.  The government doesn’t listen. Tourists in Botswana do not listen to the game park guide about close-up shots of lions.  Husbands and wives do not listen to each other. Peace shall reign only when one person listens and the other one goes on and on.  Sometimes the talker picks up that the listener has switched off.

“You are not listening to me.”

“I am dear.”

I must go to a listening workshop myself.  La-le-la means listen in the language isiZulu.  The first part of the verb is pronounced as in lark or laugh, the second part as in leg and the third part as in lark again.

ZULU
ENGLISH
Lalelani.
A boy’s name.  There might be discord in the family because members disagree on certain things.  The birth of a baby might encourage them to listen to each other.
La-le-la sisi.
Listen sister.
La-le-la bhuti.
Listen brother.
La-le-la-ni zingane.
Kids, listen up.
La-le-la-ni ma-Africa.
Africans, listen up.
La-le-la Angela Merkel.
Listen Angela Merkel.
La-le-la Emmanuel Macron.
Listen Emmanuel Macron.
La-le-la Kim Jong-un.
Listen Kim Jong-un.
La-le-la Donald Trump.
Listen Donald Trump.
Ngi-la-le-le.
I’m listening.
Ba-la-le-le.
They are listening.
Awu-la-leli José.
You don’t listen José.
Awu-la-le-li Samir.
You don’t listen Samir.
Si-la-le-le umculo.
We are listening to music.
Si-la-le-le u-pastor.
We are listening to the pastor.

Exercise:  You friend or partner doesn’t listen to you.  Tell him or her to listen.
Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author the South African novel, Sweetness.



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