Tuesday was a fairy ordinary day for life in the township. I needed to go into town so I could use an ATM for rent money. There are several ATM’s all around Stellenbosch and even a few that are a bit closer to Kayamandi but there are only a couple I feel safe using. I’m not worried about getting held up or mugged; I’m just concerned the machines could be tampered with. You often hear about certain machines that you should beware of and I tend to avoid the ones that are more secluded. Even with my caution I still managed to get my card numbers stolen 2 years ago… I remember in Cape Town after I’d finish using a machine several people would try to “help” me. Saying that the blinking light meant I had to go put my card back in. This was just a clever ploy. I never paid any attention to them but I imagine it was one of these times that I could have used the wrong machine. Anyway, I went about using the machines in the mall that are surrounded by loads of people and in my theory more difficult to tamper with. We’ll see if this theory is any good. The 200 Rand has a leopard on one side, and Nelson Mandela on the other. Those are some cool cats!
Once I got back home a few new students came by. I remembered all of them but could only put a name to two of them. It’s so much easier for them to learn one name than for me to learn hundreds. I generally avoid using their names unless I’m 100% sure because most of the time I can’t pronounce them.
Xhosa is the dominate language in Kayamandi and although it’s a relative basic language there are still many words that are just plain difficult to pronounce. Three letters in their alphabet are clicks. Meaning you make a sound with your mouth to substitute that letter. Those letters are C, Q, and X.
Here’s a quick guide so you can practice with me:
-To pronounce the C, press the tip of your tongue against the front of your teeth, and then withdraw it sharply. This sound is best compared to the sound you make when sucking something from your upper teeth, or the sound when someone says ‘tsk-tsk’. I live on Cedile street, so when I’m being driven home this is often the last mistake I make before getting off the minibus haha. Nceda means please in Xhosa, so it’s another phrase I often struggle with.
-To pronounce the Q, press the tip of your tongue against the front palate and then do the same movement like the C. This sound is best compared to the sound a person would make imitating a cork being pulled from a bottle. This is a very difficult thing to do in the middle of a word, but lucky for me I haven’t had to use it too often. Today however, Aphiwe told me he was changing his name to, Q.
-To pronounce the X, place the tip of your tongue against the hard palate as if you are going to make the n sound. This one is difficult to describe but it sounds like the sound you make if you were to spur a horse. This if the first letter of their language, Xhosa, and it’s probably the most pronounced letter. I’ve been getting by with just producing a rough sounding c. You’ll just have to take my word for it.
Without a doubt the word I use the most is Enkosi, usually followed by kakhulu. It means; Thank you very much.
I decided I’d use some time to teach the kids the beginnings of how to make the bracelets. It’s a pretty complicated design for a first timer, if I do so say myself! There are 3 different patterns you have to follow! Haha. Anyway, I had them practice the most basic pattern today. They were all pretty good, but much practice is on the way!
For dinner that night I sat down in front of a baked casserole. I wasn’t sure what it was but I was hungry so I served myself up a nice large portion. Once it was on my place I saw there were noodles throughout it and it looked layered. I thought maybe this was yet another version of lasagna I’d be trying. Once I took my first bite I knew it wasn’t lasagna but I still wasn’t sure exactly what it was. I didn’t dislike it… but I also didn’t love it. When I was just about halfway through my serving Mama Zulu came in the room and asked me, “Chris, do you eat the fish?” I thought there was something fishey about this dish. I told her that I’d eat anything but fish isn’t my favorite. It turns out that it was just a version of tuna noodle casserole, and I ate three helpings of it. Three helpings sounds like a lot to you and me, but when I was clearing the table Mama Zulu was shocked that I ate so little! She told me she wouldn’t cook me any more fish and I decided it might be best (thinking of Dan too) if I didn’t disagree.
After dinner I read a bit more of Inferno, and worked a bit on the bracelets. Didn’t really do anything too interesting but I’ll tell you a bit of what a night is like in Kayamandi.
I’m about to reference 101 Dalmatians so I hope you’re ready. In the beginning of the movie, when Pongo and Perdita are in search for their lost puppies, they use the “Twilight Bark’ (normally a canine gossip line) to ask for help from other dogs in London. Every night in the township is like falling asleep to the sounds of the Twilight Bark. There
are so many stray dogs in Kayamandi and it seems as if they all decide to talk once the sun goes down. During the day all they do is sleep, but it’s probably because they are up all night. I feel bad for these dogs because they all look in such rough shape. I think their main food source is the garbage. Together, an excess of dogs and garbage are just a couple of the Kayamandi’s problems. I was thinking about taking pictures of the dogs but my immediate thought went to that sad commercial you always see on TV with Sarah McLachlan playing in the background. I think that song is titled, Sad Dog Song. I’m might steal a little puppy for my time here though. As far as the loud dogs barking at night, I have a ton of music on my hard drive and that usually does the trick.
(Btw, I just had a fantastic Wednesday!)