It all started the other day. I ran into a young man on campus.
We made small talk the way all normal people do. Then when I told him my name, he seemed shocked at the fact that I was Ndebele.
His exact words were “UrimNdex?”
Ok,so first off, there is NO universe in which it is funny, cool or appropriate to call someone “MuNdex”, NGILINDEBELE, simple!
Secondly the way he said it just threw me, he said it like it was an accusation. Like I had something to apologise for, Like I owed him an explanation for my ethnicity. Sorry bhudi, angkukoloti lutho. But seriously it was bad, I felt like Denver the last dinosaur, all past my extinction date .
Omunye ngothi “Ndebele is such a hot language”, SIMMER DOWN PERVERT! It’s a language, it’s not supposed to be hot , it’s supposed be beautiful -and it is, but you’ll never know because you’re too busy with the heat aesthetic to learn anything further than the few Zulu swear words you caught on Zone 14 then blindly assumed they were Ndebele, because well, it all just sounds the same, doesn’t it.
Then there’s my favourite, “please teach me Ndebele “. WHO THE HELL DO I LOOK LIKE? I’m not teaching anyone anything. I speak four languages, and I have not in the course of my twenty years been taught a language. I gathered enough interest to listen closely to the language and learn it myself.

Here’s the thing, I feel like we have been reduced to second class citizens and it just riles me.
I admire the South African set up where two people can have a conversation in two different languages but still understand each other.
I’m not saying learn to speak the language if you don’t want to, I’m just saying don’t look at me like I’m speaking Rhino when I do.
Because this is how identities disappear. ..You have so many people screaming in your ear that there’s something wrong with you and where you come from…until eventually you start believing it.
So njengoba ngitshilo “I’m an angry black woman”