At least humble yourself enough to try pronounce African names!


“Uthin’ mhlekaz’?” I asked the gardener as he summoned me outside. It turned out he wanted me to move the laundry dryer so that he could water the lawn in anticipation of summer. “Shap, bhuthi,” I concluded as I returned to my laptop indoors, flushed with the success of yet another outing for my handful of Xhosa words. It’s a limited vocabulary, straddling that difficult line between “shame he’s trying” and “is he making fun of us?” but it’s good to give the old vocab a run, and sometimes there’s a tiny kernel of new knowledge to add to the…

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