The affordable education loan option
Johannesburg - When Nomzamo Mdladla moved from Hammarsdale, KwaZulu-Natal, to Joburg she soon learnt that tribal divisions weren’t a thing of the past.
It was 2010 and the 21-year-old found herself in a city where she could hardly understand any of the languages that were being spoken.
She also couldn’t understand why the language she spoke made people react negatively towards her.
“Whenever I spoke isiZulu people would turn and look at me,” said the model and freelance artist.
“They would generalise and say Zulus don’t want to learn other languages or that we think we’re better than other cultures.
“At some point I wished I was Xhosa because I didn’t understand why people treated me that way. Now I’m unapologetic about being Zulu.”
She found acceptance only when she encountered other Zulu people who befriended her and even defended her because she spoke a form of isiZulu that is unlike the diluted Joburg version of the language.
Mdladla is very passionate about her language and said that when she heard Joburgers speak what they called isiZulu she was disturbed .
“I was hurt. I felt like they were abusing my language.”
She feels that there is no excuse for not being able to speak your mother tongue properly and fluently.
“They make excuses about being from Jozi but they master English even though they’re not European,” she said passionately.
The 23-year-old wants people to take the responsibility of learning their language and has taken steps in her own life to ensure she protects hers.
“I now write in isiZulu and everything in my art is now in my language. When I have kids I’ll buy them Zulu books and teach them about their language.”
She said she hoped that in future there would be more books in South African languages.
“So many languages are dying and they die with information and wisdom. Of all that’s been taken from us, let’s at least keep our languages,” Mdladla said.
Cadet News Agency