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Tuesday, 04 March 2008

Interpreter, Please! Learning Zulu in South Africa - Page 4

Written by Kelly N. Patterson
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“Where are you going this time?”  Family and friends asked.

“Well, I can’t exactly pronounce it,” I confessed.  “But I can spell it:  H-L-A-B-I-S-A.”

“Where?” they chorused.

“It’s a rural area in north-western Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa.”

Blank looks followed by further questioning: “But where in South Africa?  I mean which country?  Zimbabwe?  Zambia?”

“OK,” I am getting frustrated. “Which ‘dat way’…and where is a robot?”

I am imagining Star Wars’ R2D2 standing on the side of the road, next to a Kentucky Fried Chicken, pointing “dat way.”

“OK, is it left dat way, or right dat way?” I plead.

“Just dat way,” they are exhausted with me.

And here is a hint: “robot” is the South African term for “stoplight.”  I don’t know how long I walked until I realized I was not going to find CP30 further down this street.

So honestly, it has taken me nearly two years just to be able to communicate efficiently in English with South Africans.  I promise you.

I am practicing daily by watching the South African soaps and going to plenty of “braais” with my “brus.”  I am confident I will be fluent by the end of the year.

So next time you come towards Hluhluwhe-Umfolozi Game Park in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa, please drop in.  Just take the N2 north from Durban and once you see the sign for “St. Lucia Wetlands”, just turn dat way.

© Kelly N. Patterson

(Page 4 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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