Lessons in being Zulu

When Thabi’s neighbour heard that she had an old friend visiting, she wanted to meet with me. When she heard via the grapevine that I was white, she must have put some thought into receiving me as a visitor, because when Thabi and I arrived, she had a piece of wood and a few buckets waiting for me. Yes, she was ready to teach me how to teza – which is isiZulu for collecting wood – and how to collect water in a bucket from down by the river. However, she made a special allowance for me when it came to the water. She specially found a smaller bucket to make it easier for me to carry the water. Not that it helped! I could not carry the water on my head. She must have liked me anyway and wanted me to stay, because she also showed me how to build a house from wattle and rocks. She is busy building one for a family member. She is one of the sprightliest 60-somethings I’ve ever met.