One of the signs of privilege in a country is the expectation that everyone else will address you in your mother tongue. This is typically true for white english-speakers in South Africa and not even remotely for black mother tongue Xhosa speakers. i would hate to find out the statistics for white people who can’t even say the basics of “Hello” “What is your name?” “My name is…” in an African language but fortunately this i can do.
But not much more. My isiXhosa is, how you say, ncinci.
And that is embarrassing. Or it should be. And is. And should be!
But the training wheels are going on this bike.
As these beautiful words greeted me in my inbox this morning:
Many thanks for your booking and welcome on board!
You and Valerie are signed up for Course 1: Essential Social Xhosa starting on Tuesday evening, August 25th at 6pm. It runs for six consecutive weeks, ending on September 29th. Please arrive a few minutes early to settle in with a cup of tea or coffee before we begin!
The cost is R1380 per person. This amount includes tuition, materials (handbook, workbook, audio CD and pocket phrase book), weekly recap emails, refreshments and an attendance certificate, as long as you have attended a minimum of five out of the six lessons.
That’s right, tbV and i are going back to school. And the reason for this post is not so much to brag about it [because this does feel shamefully, horribly late – i think i have known for a long time this was necessary but really had the idea kicked into absolutely necessary on our recent trip to the states and then a mate from Durban had a conversation with me on Facebook that felt like the accountability needed to just kick it into gear – but the reason for this post is to invite you to join us]
WE NEED [or could really use] YOU!
Since writing this post, our friend Al Gardener has jumped in and so we have moved to the Tuesday one so we can do it together and there are still a couple of spaces…
So if any of you have had this gnawing at your minds, here is a boot-to-the-stomach wake up call and opportunity to put your hand up and come and learn with us. i honestly believe that if we are serious about reconciliation and restitution and unity in this country, then one of the very first steps we need to do is at least make an attempt to learn the African language that is most prevalent in the area we live.
i’m pretty nervous, i won’t lie. What if i suck? What if the words don’t stick? What if i don’t get it? But the importance and necessity outweighs the need and i am just RIDICULOUSLY SORRY AND ASHAMED that i have waited this long. Ndicela uxolo. But i am going to face my fear and will be going with Dwight on this one…
If you wanna come play with these Andersons, visit www.xhosafundis.co.za and sign up for the class starting in the evening on Tuesday 25th of August.
Overdue, but not too late… [With big thankx to Megan Furniss for the reference]