Kade sagcinana! Mehlo madala!

It’s been too long since I last wrote anything on here. All that I’ve been able to connect with are a few glances at analytics every now and then, but no writing.

And it’s not because I haven’t had things to write about! It’s rather that I haven’t had the headspace to devote to this precious thing, in between fulfilling my dream job as the Knowledge and Research Manager at an NGO (seriously, that wasn’t sarcasm – I love the job) and adulting. But I’ve hopefully got a bit of a breather, so here’s a brief jeqe over the past few months –

I have three new individual clients, all at school level, all rewardingly bright and interested – the highlight here would be when one particularly visual learner got me thinking about the noun classes in terms of shapes:

umu-/imi- is composed of things with straight lines and even numbers, as opposed to isi-/izi- which is crooked lines and odd numbers (or asymmetry); ili-/ama- is circles and spheres and simple curved lines, where in-/izin- is irregularly curving lines and ulu- is made up of curving lines that change and move like the ocean.

I’m three-quarters of the way through translating a major museum exhibit into isiZulu, diving into 30 000 words of history and voices that mean a lot to me personally. When it’s done, I’ll ask permission to brag about it, but for now you can get a sneak peak of a finished section:

“AmaZulu, aholwa yiNkosi uBhambatha, enqabe ukugoba uphondo, ngakho kwakhula umoya womzabalazo onamandla kubo, kuhle okwempi yaseSandlwana yona eyaletha ugqozi nofuqufuqu ezizukulwaneni zaseNingizimu Afrika.”

In addition to this, I have had wonderful success using some of the izinganekwane that I wrote as texts for my classes – though always accompanied by a live reading, because the stories are meant to be heard. Here’s the beginning of my favourite, Amavukutu:

Kwasuka-sukela… Kwathi ekuqaleni, ekudabukeni ohlangeni, kwakunenkosi enkulu enabafazi abaningi. Le nkosi yayinezinkomo ezingaka nezinkanyezi zasebusuku, namabutho anjengolwandle lwemikhonto. Kwakuyinkosi enkulu ngempela. Kepha kwakunenkinga ebukhosini bayo, ngoba abafazi abazalanga abantwana. Babezala amagwababa kuphela!

… for which I received the greatest praise of all. One of the my students, without telling me, took the story to a Zulu-speaking colleague. Her feedback was that he appreciated the fact that it was told in the traditional manner, and that the story was one he knew. What blew me away was that she also told me that the man has no idea that I am white-skinned.

So there are many things to write about, and hopefully this mid-year gap will allow me to do so!

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