Thi and its routes, again.

“…bakhona abanohlelo oluTHIze…”

There are people with certain ‘agendas’, as opposed to ‘plans’,

…as part of a conversation between uKhozi FM’s political analyst and the Vuka Mzansi presenter, Linda Sibiya, Mr Magic.

The relative (a type of qualificative word in isiZulu – adjectives, relatives, enumeratives and possessives all ‘qualify’ the nouns to which they are linked by means of specific concords) alters the meaning of the noun to the point where the same noun is interpreted as something completely different from its meaning with other qualificatives.

Here’s an explanation:

Uhlelo oluhle – a good plan, a good programme
Uhlelo olude – a long programme, a long plan
Uhlelo oluthize – a certain agenda, about which there has been much talk.

And at this time of Mangaung, these little fragments of ‘irregular’ qualificatives bely a kind of understanding of the phenomena being witnessed there – even amidst all the back room gossip and rumors and intrigue, where nobody is exactly sure where people stand in terms of allegiance to different factions, there is an unshakeable belief in the clarity to be offered by stating exactly what was said.

Because ‘thi’, the stem of the relative -thize, means “to say”, and is different from the verb-stem ‘sho’ in “that the actual words uttered follow thi, and not just some reference to or description of them”.
It is only in its secondary meaning that the verb also signifies “mean, intend, think, imagine, mention or understand”.

And yet -thize (as distinct from -thile) has both the lexical meaning “that-which-has-been-meant” and the understood meaning of something negative, something for which one has distaste in some way, or which one is tired of discussing further. It’s a catch all adjective referencing what has been spoken of.

Are we talking too much? Are we tired of talking? I hope not.

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