Tag Archive | ghetto

Xmas in the Hood

There’s no christmas tree or a chimney. You won’t find grandfather frost or any snow man. There’s no going from house to house singing christmas carols or the serving of mince pies as dessert. Its very anormal (and quite disturbing for some) seeing a house with christmas lights and decorations. And just so you know in the hood, we have absolutely no use for christmas crackers and there is also not a single drop of snow just an abundance of sunshine.

You will find presents, they are just not in a stocking under some christmas tree. If you’re hoping for a delicious taste of some good fresh roast turkey, forget it. There is however a variety of tasty meaty dishes. You also have the option to have all of our most favourable salads (mashed potatoes, coleslaw and a beetroot salad) in one plate to form part of our rare ‘seven colours’ meal.

There’s a tradition of love, sharing and ubuntu but how each of these is practised lies solely to the specifications and desires of each household. One thing’s for certain is most urban dwellers return to their ancestral villages to taste that rare embrace only found in each ones roots.

There’s pure smiles, great laughter, through-back stories, catch-up conversations and a real great feast. If you’ve never celebrated christmas in a South African kasi style, I’m sorry to be the bear of bad news but you don’t know life.

We celebrate christmas in a way that only we know how. The christmas trees, decorations and santa claus does not form part of our christmas, its just something we see western people do on western movies and fortunately we haven’t made it part of our traditional way of embracing christmas but that doesn’t mean the commercial world has stopped trying to enforce it unto our lifestyle.

In the hood christmas means an excuse for the kids (and everyone else) to get new clothes, be swagged up and connect with loved ones. Neighbours gather around a table and exchange not only gossip about whose lost a lot of weight but share delicious homemade soul food. Kids walk on the streets to show off their new clothes. ‘Bakers choice assorted’ and a glass of expensive juice is what you get if you go to the neighbours for whatever reason. You also get to be invited for ‘christmas’ by that very friendly neighbour you haven’t seen in a while. And for once, you get to have a well balanced meal.

Christmas is mostly celebrated because it brings families together and love is the main purpose of the day. Some families start the day with a morning church service and others dive straight into christmas lunch preparations. At the end of the day, everyone just wants to be merry.

So still on that christmas(y) note; merry christmas to you, I hope you eat, drink and be very merry.


I’m Ghetto? What Does That Mean?

Let me tell you how it all began: in one of these newly formed instant messaging applications, a supposedly “friend” of mine was departing the conversation, and after a seemingly long attempt of halting a simple instant messaging chat, I texted the words; ‘sure boss’ [note: this was written with isiZulu in mind]. Now this could have been a ghetto move except I did not know it. “You sound so ghetto sometimes dude” [should have read with an Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice impersonation] after this very instant reply I was flummoxed.

This was peculiar, befuddling and conventional at the same time. Could the way I text render my roots bare to a person out of sight?

It is not a matter of debate, however public speaking inclined individuals are welcome to reason otherwise. We have become a nation who will despise you if you apply the native language’s tone, voice and pitch in pronouncing and or speaking the queen’s language.

Our modernised activities of engagement serve as proof that our adopted Shakespearean nature propels dominance over our African indigenous constituents. Could we be heading for the one way journey which its destiny will see us right in the middle of confusion and illusion?

We prefer meeting the model C standards whenever we can more exceptionally in the vicinity of our highly educated compatriots who fully understand but refuse to associate with our indigenous languages which we absorbed before birth through our beloved mothers.

The above will of course apply to people of colour, whose hue falls on the dark to very darker side of the spectrum for I know their behavior when it comes to declining native components.

My ‘love to hate you’ relationship with English is not long running as I did not go to a model C school and up until the age of twelve I could not really get my way around the queen’s language.

I would like to think that I never struggled with English, however, after listening to me speak or perhaps reading the work I’ve written, you could appraise differently since it is evident that my English vocabulary is nowhere near first grade.

English is a tool that became somewhat important in trading as it was understood diversely, this widespread was the fruits of ascendancy and colonialism. Today we globally witness the embrace of English’s superiority over our own languages.

The dearth of the alembicated English vocabulary in me is due to the preference of defeating the daily struggles in my mother tongue, isiZulu, even through encounters where a native African man would recommend the sophistication of the English language.

I am of colour therefore never took bullying seriously until of course I got this pretty girl they call education under my sleeve. Now that I think about it, I’ve been bullied severely that my esteem was dented for a while, I just did not know it.

Henceforth, unlike most of my fellow countrymen, my life has always been like that of a mistress’s child caught up in a decaying marriage; strange. As a result, I was called many things from an early age, with my skin tone taking most of the credit. Remembering an incident that occurred when I was five, colourfulness a very strong almost navy brown hue then. Walking with my sister to the nearby tuck shop. Before the many constructions which saw us the luxury of tarred roads and the aches of e-toll tariffs, when walking, with the exception of a gravel main road, you walked one after the other for the ground on either side of this narrow street resembling path was buried by a grass so long it might as well have housed a green mamba and its offsprings.

As I walk behind my sister, who’s a few months younger and of lighter skin tone than me. A lady approaches us. When passing by my sister, she drops a compliment; “you’re beautiful”, this would of course bring butterflies in any lady’s (young or not) tummy. My sister with a smile makes way for her and to the lady’s surprise I appear, “hhay’ umubi wena” (you’re ugly!) she says, I make way for her and she passes. My heart sank, I turned every second to take a glimpse of her behind me but she disappeared into the sunset and never turned to take back a heart throbbing joke (or was it not), or tell me something else, something that will make me smile too, I was five and didn’t understand cruelty.

My dark skin colour has earned me more criticism than any magnitude advantaged growing little fellow so you’d share my sentiment; I’m used to being at the trough of compliments. As a result, I do not appreciate compliments (good, great or out of this world) regarding my body or a body feature [hint: keep them to yourself].

I’ve recently added another definition to the almost full basket of society views about everything one was created with or was taught. I was called by this now widely used word which seems to describe something that every body does not want to be associated with; ghetto. I did not know what this meant. I’ve seen, witnessed and heard its usage but I could never put my finger to its real meaning when used to describe an individual.

Google has directed me to many web pages that proved clarity about the word and its description, however, it lacked pages that could define for me the referral of this word to individuals.

So I took a pen and paper in hope to find answers to defining one as ghetto. Could it be the bad English I speak which is usually accompanied and worsen by the isiZulu influenced accent?

I unnecessarily have no problem with the word as I’m used to my fellow compatriots and their emotional anguish which is expressed verbally in conversations that could very well deprive an individual of their altitude. I just need only the word ghetto and its link in adjectively describing an individual who has never lived in a or a ghetto lifestyle. I’m only but a born and bred rural girl, what constituents could qualify me as ghetto?

I just need those who have a thorough understanding to share with me their knowledge. So that in my future, I completely understand when one refers to me as ghetto.