David Moseley

Black ous, slow down

2012-06-19 08:56

David Moseley

Hell-o-o-o bla-a-a-a-ack South Afri-i-i-ica-a-a-a. I aaaaam writi-i-i-i-ing toooo you slo-o-o-o-owly so that you will understa-a-a-a-nd what I am sayi-i-i-i-ing. Na-tu-ral-lyeeee, as a white Eng-lish spea-ki-i-i-i-ing South Africa-a-a-a-a-n, this is the only way I can communica-a-a-ate with yooooooo.

(Some of you multilinguists might confuse the above with speaking whale. But no, you're wrong. It's definitely White English African Language, far more prevalent than White Suburban English Xhosa or White Suburban English Zulu).

There's a lot of miscommunication in our fine land. Some of it may have to do with the fact that there are 11 official languages, some of it probably down to the fact that 99% of the people entrusted to deliver the important messages are just poephols. But more than anything, it's probably because no one really wants to embrace each other the way supposedly loving countrymen and women should be.

Well, white English speaking South Africans have solved the problem. All you have to do, when speaking to any non-English South African, but especially a black South African, is talk at least 74% slower than usual.

Seriously, it's almost a language in it's own right. Pull in to any petrol station in a plummy Cape Town suburb, sneak into any home where domestic helpers outweigh family members, or listen closely the next time you're buying your Imported Swiss Granola Muesli at Woolworths, and you'll witness this incredible, unofficial 12th South African language.

Rather than taking the easy option of learning Xhosa, Zulu or even Afrikaans, white English South Africa has taken it upon itself to devise an entirely new and improved language for the whole nation to utilise. To learn and perfect this entirely undeaming language, all you have to do is elongate your vowels to the extent that you sound like someone who inhaled all of the Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. It also helps if you cram three-quarters of a Vide e Caffe muffin into your mouth.

To practice your new all-inclusive, nation building language, talk to small children, remembering to widen your eyes to the extent that it appears you are trying to talk down a lion attack and to nod at the end of each word so as to reinforce your friendly message of goodwill and to put the non-English speaker at ease. By creating entirely new dipthongs, adding in the odd "sharp" to your conversation, and nodding solemnly when your subject starts to squirm, you'll be able to break down all language and cultural barriers. Heck, by the end of the chat you're practically part of the family, and bound to be invited over to share the umqombothi.

So, black South Africa, stop being misunderstood. Take a leaf out of White English South Africa's book and learn this empowering new language. The next time someone starts talking to you like Bill Cosby with his head in a fish tank, reply in a similar fashion:

Ye-e-e-es, slow speaki-i-i-ng white per-so-o-o-on. That is a love-leeee car-diga-a-a-an you ha-ve onnnnn. But hon-est-ly, I think the sales assis-ta-a-a-ant was ta-ki-i-i-ing the piss when encour-aging yoooo to buy those plea-ted chino-o-o-oos.

Alternatively, just give the bloody soutie a klap and tell them "hey, speak properly, man". That should also do the trick.

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

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