Today I was White Zulu MC at the IEB’s User Group Conference at Birchwood, and I learnt many things. Before I fall asleep, I wanted to share some of them with you.

I learnt that there is no one isithakazelo for Ndaba, and one must know the particular Ndaba in question before deciding on which of the four to deploy in any given instant.

I discovered the maiden-name of someone I used to work with, and was thus able to use “MaMacingwana” when addressing her. She smiled when she usually doesn’t.

I learnt that there is a simple equation for creating ululation in a crowd of abesifazane bamaZulu – speak in uninterrupted isiZulu (for any length of time) and throw in as many idioms and izithakazelo and proverbs as you can manage. kikikikiki!!!!

I learnt that no person ever stops learning – not the examiners, not the teachers, and not the learned men and women who come to speak to us. And that some people should realise that and be humbler.

I figured out that all I need to do is relax – all the words I will ever need are in my head. Sometimes those words surprise even those who know how I speak, and what choices I make when I do – like when I used the phrase ingcindezi yesikhathi, only to have my co-MC express pleasant surprise (see this post on Hawu! for more specifics) at my vocabulary choice. You see, I didn’t want to use olukamJoji (King George’s tongue), which prevented me from saying i-pressure yesikhathi or, even worse, i-time-pressure.

At the challenge of my Khethiwe, I spoke almost no words of English the whole day (and in none of the formal instances, at all), and am pleased to observe a distinctly positive impact of speaking unpolluted isiZulu.

Most of all, I learnt that I am capable.

Bring it on. Yilethe.