Local Grassy Park racehorse owner Ashwin Reynolds with 2021 Vodacom Durban July Handicap winner Kommetdieding. SUPPLIED
Local Grassy Park racehorse owner Ashwin Reynolds with 2021 Vodacom Durban July Handicap winner Kommetdieding. SUPPLIED

Bring it on with a horse named Kommetdieding

By Murphy Nganga Time of article published Jul 10, 2021

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Cape Town - Following the spectacular victory at South Africa's biggest horse race, local horse owner Ashwin Reynolds is attempting to leave an imprint in history by having his horse's name, Kommetdieding included in the Oxford English dictionary.

Derived from a dare, Reynolds said that although the name Kommetdieding was not perfect for a horse, it was distinctive in its own right, much like the horse.

“I was sitting with a couple of mates and one of my mates dared me to call one of my horses Kommetdieding. At first, I laughed it off because it was such an unusual name, but you know in the coloured community, if you dare us to do something, we will do it,” said Reynolds.

Local Grassy Park racehorse owner Ashwin Reynolds with 2021 Vodacom Durban July Handicap winner Kommetdieding. SUPPLIED

Kommetdieding is an actual slang term for “bring it on,” or “I’m not afraid of you,” and it came as no surprise when Kommetdieding defied the odds and leaped over obstacles despite not being the ideal horse Reynolds initially was looking for.

“When Harold Crawford (horse trainer) offered to get a horse, at first I was quite hesitant and I told him yes, but nothing over R80 000. To my surprise, he said he had a bargain going at R55 000. When I heard this, I agreed because this was a deal that only came once in a lifetime and I didn’t want to miss this opportunity. So we committed and followed through with purchasing the horse. Upon my arrival at the stable, I almost fell on my back because when I saw this horse, it was a real ugly duckling but despite this, Kommetdieding began showing his abilities, and it quickly became an ‘ugly duckling to a beautiful swan’ type of tale,” said Reynolds.

While naming a horse doesn't seem to be much of a hassle, Jason Garavarian from the National Horse Racing Authority said that there were criteria horse owners neededto follow before naming their horses.

“All names shall be subject to the approval of the chief executive who shall not approve the registration names that consist of more than 18 characters, including punctuation marks and/or spaces, nor can the registration of the horses names have bad taste or have an unacceptable connotation in another language,” said Garavarian.

While the Oxford English Dictionary appears to be a convenient place to search up words, it also serves as an historical archive for language, as well as evidence of society’s continuing evolution.

Director of the Centre for Multilingualism and Diversities Research at University of the Western Cape, Professor Quentin Williams said that the Oxford dictionary is a prescriptive model that depends on the criteria the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) has set down for the inclusion of words prescribe (as the correct way to spell and sound out).

“It is a descriptive dictionary, where names/words/phrases are included to understand its historical formation, spread and uptake by speakers in conversation and writing practices.”

“The name of the horse Kommetdieding is unique for several reasons. One, it is a normative practice by speakers of Afrikaaps to contract words, labels, such as “daisie” which would be in standard Afrikaans “daai is nie”. Secondly, it is also a form of agglutination (from the Latin word agglutinare, to glue words together to create one meaning). In other words, speakers of Afrikaaps, to a lesser degree, and speakers of Nguni Languages such as isiXhosa and isiZulu usually glue together or patch together words in a sequence to create meaning.

“Often a single word, or single unit represents one meaning. In the case of the name of the horse, if we read it as single unit words, as Kom+met+die+ding, it loses meaning because each of those words have different meanings as in standard Afrikaans. But read as one word, a name, Kommetdieding represents the meaning of bravado, speed and agility in the sport of racing, a name fitting for a horse we would expect with such qualities. And thirdly, it speaks to the cultural practice of naming that is unique to so-called coloured speakers of Afrikaaps in South Africa.”

“Over and above, if a word is entered into a descriptive or prescriptive dictionary it further legitimises not only the world but the language as important for literacy, education and preserving of our cultural futures,” said Williams.

With this, Reynolds wants to leave his mark and restore hope in his community.

“I want young people to know that, If you have a dream, don't ever give up. Take this achievement for example, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would win a Vodacom Durban July. My dream was just to own horses, but then it goes with that saying that when you have a plan, God has a greater plan for you so just follow your dreams and you’ll be amazed at what happens,” said Reynolds.

Weekend Argus

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