Vocab and a funny Ndebele/ Zulu video

Salibonani bangane (It is nice to see you/ hello friends). As always, if you are new, please read the siNdebele lessons from the bottom (scroll down) and work up to this, the newest post. As usual, the Ndebele words are in bold where possible and translated in brackets.

Lamuhla kulamavocabulary kuphela (today there is vocabulary only):

(uku)donsa - (to) pull
(uku)tshova - (to) push. The old taxis used to breakdown often so were called "Tshovas" because you had to push them often.
imfe - sugar cane. Yum!
(uku)khipha - (to) take out/ remove
(uku)dobha - (to) pick up
(uku)thatha - (to) take/ grab
unwabu - chameleon. Also, because chameleons move slowly, they are known as "hamba bijana" in chilapalapa slang i.e. "go slowly".
upahla - roof
igwayi - tobacco (there is an area in Zimbabwe called "Gwayi")
(uku)dubula - (to) shoot with a gun
UNkulunkulu - God. e.g. UNkulunkulu angeke ehluleke = God can't fail.
ijodo/ amajodo - pig melon/ pig melons. Some people like to use this to describe a fat person in a mildly derogatory fashion.
ithambo - bone e.g. of animals
inyathi - buffalo
inja - dog. e.g. Inja isayidla inyama (the dog is still eating the meat)
umuthi - medicine
idlozi/ amadlozi - spirit/ spirits of ancestors or just ghosts
ukhokho/ izikhokho - ancestor/ ancestors. For some fun, see the "Izikhokho" youtube videos of the South African comic artist, Mdu, such as: http://goo.gl/4r2nDW.

On that funny note, ngizakuhamba bangane (I will go friends)


  1. ukhokho/okhokho hatshi izikhokho

  2. Ukutshova is to cycle or pedal as in pedalling a bicycle not to push as ukufuqa is to push. In the case of taxis, they were given the name otshova or imtshova because they cycled round and round picking up passengers and dropping them off in both directions between their terminals.

  3. Utshova could also mean move forward or make more space for others meaning utshova has to be really packed with as many passengers as it can accommodate.

  4. Ukutshova is an act of pushing passengers to move so as to allow space for more commuters to get on .


Comment lapha please