05 September 2006

Nonyana (bird)

Like a bird rushing to catch the fattest worm, Lucas Nonyana surged early
and left his opponents eating dust as he pounded the 42,2 km Two Countries
Marathon route from Zimbabwe to South Africa to win the 10th race last Saturday.

As his namesake - Nonyana is a bird in Sesotho - the Liberty Life Athletics
Club athlete rushed forward to lead the other 45 runners as soon as the Musina
Local Municipality's Mayor Caroline Mahasela pulled the trigger at 7.00am to
start the annual race from Beitbridge to Musina. [Source]

Nonyana belongs to noun class number 9, just like thuhlo (giraffe) and kolobe (pig) and many other animals. The plural of nonyana is linonyana in Lesotho and dinonyana in South Africa. Same pronunciation, though: /dee-noh-nyanah/. Two giraffes are lithuhlo (dithuhlo), and two pigs are likolobe (dikolobe).
Here's a Sesotho proverb with the word "nonyana" in it: sehlaha sa nonyana se okamela boliba (bodiba), a bird's nest overlooks an abyss. Can you guess the meaning? Sesotho Web puts it down as a riddle, though.
Other mentions of "nonyana" are: eslweb.net , websters-online-dictionary.org , nonyanariverestate.co.za.

3 comments:

trigeek said...

I just returned from Lesotho and love the language. Thanks for such a great site! Keep up the good work!

Rethabile said...

Thank you. You are kind.

Anonymous said...

hela ueso. re ea leboha with so much insight provided !
oa kueneng motho.
proud mosotho child. currently a masters student in tourism.