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Showing posts from 2018

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…

Gain Something in Zulu

To gainsomething is -zuza in Zulu.

What you have gained is known as i-nzu-zo, which is a noun.A baby girl’s name is No-nzu-zo and you know it is a girl because of the prefix -no.My name is No-nqaba, a girl.Well! used to be, at least.Ha! Ha! You buy fish for 20 Naira (Nigerian currency) from fishermen, sell it in small packets and get N40, a 100% profit.Politicians support companies that pollute rivers, the sea and the air we breathe because of the gain: votes.

British, Canadian and U.S. designers make a big deal when Meghan Markle is wearing their creations but do not shout on top of rooftops that their clothes are made in minimum wage conditions in Asia and eastern Europe. When we take wrong decisions and parents tell us we will reap what we sow, which means gaining or having those decisions backfire.
Zu-za.You pronounce the first part as in zoo, the last part of the verb as Zara.

ZULU ENGLISH No-nzu-zo. A girl’s name about something the family hopes to gain from her birth or has gained alr…

Remember in Zulu

Back to school, kids must remember to take their back-packs.

Remember is khumbula in Zulu. It is remembering something that happened some time ago or missing somebody.First day at school will see some tears as little ones miss their parents and vice versa.

Prosecutors and lawyers want people to remember where they were when the crime was committed, even the time.I find that ridiculous because no clock or watches show the same time, and people don’t look at the watches or cellphones when a crime is committed or when they are shot by stray bullets. Khu-mbu-la. You say the first part like cook, the second part like embers, but with a -u- and the last part as in lass.

ZULU ENGLISH Khumbulani. A girl’s name which means a family must remember. Khumbula. A boy’s name which means you must remember. Si-khumbuzo. A boy’s name, the thing that makes us remember or a symbol of remembrance. A-ngi-sa-khu-mbu-li. I don’t remember anymore (old people sometimes forget). Ngi-ya-ba-khu-mbula. I miss them. Si-ya-ba-khu-m…

Data vs Date

In development.

This is what movie producers say when they do coffee with other film types.They might buy my book Sweetness and turn it into a movie starring me of course or ask someone with little clothes on, but has a million views a day to headline the project. We saw a great potential for a movie the other day.We are staring at a traffic light counting seconds for it to turn green for pedestrians, but the eye was caught by something more captivating than the city’s robots, as they say down south in Africa.

Boy and girl are at a coffee shop.Boy is making love to his phone.Girl touches her hair as they do in the movies.Boy continues to scroll down the phone.Girls moves her chair closer to boy.Boy frowns and moves his chair away.Girls smiles, thinking it’s because boy wants to make room for her.Girl puts her arm around boy’s shoulders. Traffic light opens.These Canadian avenues are massive and by the time we cross over, boy and girl have stood up and are walking away.Girl puts her arm ar…

Asking Nicely in Zulu

Ask for something politely in Zulu is ce-la.Some fundamentals first, which you will need for all other lessons.

Si-: is we, asking for something.

Ngi-: is me, asking for something.
Ba-: they, many people asking for something. Ni-: you, many people asking for something
U-: you one person, asking for something.

Kids are brought up to ask nicely, not to demand things which is fu-na in Zulu. If you value your behind, you don’t storm into the house and demand food from your mother.Go and look for it in the forest, is the standard reply from most parents.

When visiting a home in South Africa, you’ll see kids knocking on the door.They have come to ask for their friend, to go and play.Si-ce-la u-Duma.
Ce-la:the first part sounds like the exclamation Ci! Ci! Ci! Ci!The second part of the verb is pronounced like lass.

ZULU ENGLISH Celiwe. A girl’s name, meaning the one we asked for. Sicelo. A boy’s name, meaning a request. Ngi-ce-la i-tiye ne-muffin. May I have tea and a muffin please. Si-ce-la u-Duma. We would …