01 July 2006

Nyala, o tla nyela

Many white South Africans still hold misinformed perceptions about living with black people in a black township. To counter that misconception, Fanie Kruger left his family in Pienaarspoort and moved in with black people in the Mamelodi township.

Fanie Kruger has been living in Mamelodi for the past twenty years and still enjoys every moment of his stay. 'Bra Fannie', as many people call him, says he cannot believe how quickly he managed to learn the Sotho language in the first year of living there. By the sound of his accent, it is not easy by any stretch of imagination to think he is not an original Sotho speaking person.

"I enjoy my life and staying here and everybody loves me," says Fanie. He is a mechanic by profession. "I do not like working for other people, I enjoy working for myself," he says. He works from his home in Mamelodi East where he repairs vehicles with engine and break problems. "I like working with people but the problem is that most people here like to complain, especially when I have to charge them a fee after repairing their vehicles. I then just laugh and finally we have to reach a compromise."

He says he grew up on a farm in Pienaarspoort where most of his friends were black people. "With that background, it was easy for me to adapt to the lifestyle of the people in Mamelodi," he says. About his personal life, Fanie says he has been blessed with a child with his black girlfriend. "I am not planning to rush into marriage yet," he says adding that ba boletse bare, nyala o tla nyela, which means life turns out to be a bit more difficult when you are married. [www.rekord.co.za]

Editor's note: the verb ho nyala means to marry, whereas the verb ho nyela means to defecate. It is common in Sesotho to say U tla nyela, playfully or aggressively, to convey a message similar to the English "I'm gonna beat the shit out of you." The phrase literally says, "You'll shit." The less literal but more contextual meaning would be the one suggested in the article above, "Life turns out to be a bit more difficult when you are married."


Stephen Bess said...

Haa haaa!!! There so many words in the language that are so close in sound and spelling. This example is one of the funnier ones. Thanks!

Stephen Bess said...

I shared this with my Ntshiuwa and she laughed for 5 mins.

Rethabile said...

Bless her. I may send in an email with questions about her name, if I may.

Anonymous said...

Fanie, did you have any brothers and sisters and do you still see them? What a lovely story to be so unbiased. You are a good person. Kind regards, Jules.