…On being Xhosa…


So I decided to change my blog name to ‘being Xhosa and all- big lights could be blinding’, I would really, really like to believe that there is a perceptible decision behind this name change. You have to admit though that ‘andiswablogs’felt trite, not well thought – like just take your name and add blogs right at the end how is that for lack of creativity? I mean who does that? Anyway there is a reason behind me changing my blog name .

I have always  wanted to study at Wits after high school but my parents wouldn’t hear of it – Johannesburg is rough, there’s no family there how are you going to survive etc, so I had to stick it out in the Cape for a while. At Tech though Johannesburg (ers) would make you hate being born and raised in the Cape, the way they will go on and on about how lovely Johannesburg was, beautiful this, beautiful that and I would be thinking – shut up already. But no I remember this other one would be on some ‘what you wear chuck Taylors, in Jhb its only Tsotsi’s who wear those kind of sneakers, CT people are so backwards’

Fast forward 2007 December decision made to relocate to Johannesburg, January 2008 ,when I took that BA flight with my son(11 months at the time) in tow it felt unreal. Excited and scared at the same time, the other part of me felt that I was not ready, while the other me was on some – you can never know until you try right. So there I was the Capital city of South Africa the big J baby. Even that much excitement could not prepare me for what I was to experience JHB to be. I still remember even today I arrived on a Wednesday, Thursday I had to go and view an apartment in Northriding,  Neli had told me what sign to use to catch a taxi to the CBD were I was to get another taxi to Northriding, what she did not warn me about though was  – Never ever don’t even think about speaking in English or Xhosa ,that’s right . So as I hopped of the taxi in the overly crowded Noord taxi rank, I asked the taxi driver where I could get a taxi to Northriding, when he gave me a blank stare I assumed he did not understand Xhosa, so I changed to English, boy oh boy! did that make it worse of what. Within a split second I was faced with an angry driver whom I did not understand where the anger came from ( and I thought to myself kanti ndenzeni why is this person so mad at me, the only thing I did was ask, what could be so wrong about that?) . Long story short that was my

 Lesson #1

Do not ever; don’t even dream about speaking Xhosa or English especially not at the taxi rank in Johannesburg unless you want war or not to get where ever you are going. The theory is that Xhosa people think that they are better than everyone else, they think that they are the closest thing to white – which is the best thing ever( this is according to Gauteng mentality) I am yet to find out how it all came about.

You would think that it would be different in the working environment right? Wrong. I am not one for elites I like to interact with people from different walks of life; I thought that Jhb would allow me that. Let me tell you it’s hard. I couldn’t not help but notice that every time I introduced myself to people at the office, when they realised where I was from all of a sudden their interaction towards me changes .They will be on some ‘oh okay so uyathetha sana (meaning so you speak Xhosa?) I never knew how to receive that? I just didn’t get why it was important for them to know what my home language was, and get so excited and irritated at the awareness of it.

Lesson #2

At work environment act as dumb as you can, that way everyone who is black will relax because that means that their jobs are safe. Not only do we think that we are cleverer than our fellow blacks but we take peoples jobs away from them, I am yet to see how we do this – actually I would like to try it and see how it feels, must be very illuminating.

Lesson #3

If you are a new X-hoza in JHB do not ever make the mistake of going to a party all on your own. Rent a gay friend if need be, that way all the other girls who do not speak Xhosa will be comfortable in knowing that their husband/boyfriends are innocuous, remember being Xhosa means that you are a man snatcher .While you are at it please do not forget to apologise for all the sins that your fellow Xhosa women have ever committed in this sector. Apologise for their looks as well as their bubble openhearted personalities.

Lesson #4

When a guy hits on you, if you happen to have a kid multiply that number by 2 because there is no way a Xhosa chick will have one child. If you were married like me, please lie about it because Xhosa women don’t get married no body marries those promiscuous types. Take it as far as saying that your baby daddy happened to be your Sotho friend’s husband whom you were keeping it on the low with.Oh yes please do tell him that you have two other bf’s this will confirm that you are a true Xhosa.

Lesson # 5

Please live up to the stereo type – be a gold digger as much as you can. When a guy asks you out for coffee or something, be sure to make that call to your parents (while you are at that table with him) and tell them that you have found a job (a job being him) .Don’t let him pay for anything because if you do you are a gold digger, no but wait you are a gold digger you don’t have to do anything to qualify for that label just be Xhosa and automatically you succeed.

I could go on and on but I just want to leave it here for now. Forget racism for a second try being a single Xhosa women in Johannesburg , the thing is I never chose to be born speaking the language that I do ,nevertheless I think that given a chance to choose, I would chose exactly the same family , same circumstances because that has shaped me to be who I am today.

So “Being Xhosa and all, don’t let the(Johannesburg) big lights blind you, continue being you, stay focused ,keep your eyes on the ball, make sure you Rock in whatever space you find yourself in…


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