Dear Wite People – WTF is a s’gebenga

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Dear white people WTF is a sgebenga? I know what a sgebengu is, it’s a criminal but what is a sgebenga? I’m sending you this letter because some of us in the black community are looking for clarification that only you or those who might know more can provide. It is making it very difficult for us to work together with this looming confusion and potential misunderstandings so please. What is a sgebenga?

We understand that the language isn’t the easiest although some might say it’s literally the easiest. But if what you’re trying to say is “sgebengu” then please understand that saying it the way you have been saying it sounds as ridiculous as me calling the CEO of Steinhoff a “crominal” or a “thuf”. I hope you didn’t just read the words I just typed out, I really hope you take the time to try pronounce them both just so you can understand the vastness of pain your ears would be subjected to because that is exactly what it is like to be Zulu and hear “sgebenga” instead of “sgebengu” 

We understand that for most of you, you are incapable of learning more than three languages at a time. We do not look down on you for not having the innate ability to do this that is why usually we pretend that your ability to even pronounce the most basic of Zulu or Nguni words is somehow an accomplishment. L it’s really cute that you’re trying and we don’t want to stop encouraging you.However this isn’t even the only word that you butcher almost ubiquitously. I think what I’m realising is that because you do not spend enough time with African people you get your pointers on how to speak African languages from other white people. It is literally the blind leading the blind and I think we are tired of having to bump into the coffee table on your way to a normal conversation. 

Clearly a member of your clan (let’s call him Richard) said the word first then the conversation I am glad I wasn’t a part of. From Brandon however, the word spread and because of Andrew this horrible mispronunciation spread from dinner table to dinner table and finally found its way onto our busy city streets. If anyone at any point in time consulted Sipho even once About the proper pronunciation of this word then you wouldn’t be clinching our teeth and holding our breath’s but we currently are.

The part that really perplexes me and my colleagues is out of all the words to miss pronounce we really wouldn’t think this would be one of them. I don’t want to get into it but you use this word quite a lot. I mean we know how it goes. When someone breaks into your car or your own and they are of a particular African persuasion instead of saying black this is usually the word you use to basically mean “black but I’m not saying black” we have noticed that since 2009 and at no fault of a particular popular movie make him out within that decade you have started to instead use the word “tsotsi” this seems to be a better fit for you, even though you pronounce you “ts” sounds as if you’re sneezing away your  pet cat Susan’s hair balls. I think maybe for the sake of the African man on the African continent at least until you learn how to pronounce your “u” let’s treat this like a basketball playing who tore his ACL at the age of 34. Let’s retire it.

Again we like the effort but sometimes it really feels like there is no real effort at all. You’re not stupid people you know how to properly pronounce names. It makes no sense to us that you can pronounce the Gerbrandt on your first try but when you bump into someone named Hadebe, to clear your throat like a full fly just lodged in self deep inside your voice box. You’re better than this I know you know that just prove it to the rest of me and my colleagues please. Now for the final time that’s all say it together now “s’gebengu”

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