Learn to pronounce our names - Malema on Heritage Day

2016-09-24 12:19

Cape Town - EFF leader Julius Malema urged South Africans to mark Heritage Day by learning how to pronounce each other's names instead of braaing.

A campaign to spend the day over a braai in celebration of South Africa's melting pot of cutures by "Jan Braai" is criticised by some who believe the day should be about more important issues. 

The outspoken politician's tweet touched a nerve, with replies complaining about Nonhlanhla being pronounced ''Nonshlanshla'' and Neo as ''Neyo''.

''Dear White South Africans stop pronouncing my name as Neyo instead of saying Neo'' tweeted @TshoSir_Neo.

But a quick check on www.pronouncenames.com showed that African names may still be a work in progress for those seeking guidance, as it came up blank for an audio of Malema's surname.

Apple's bot Siri, set on a UK accent because it does not have a South African accent yet, politely said: "Checking my sources. OK, I found this on web for say Julius Maleema".

Siri was asked to pronounce the name Nangamso and came back with perfect pronounciation but when the surname Mbambalala was added said, "I don't know what you mean by I'm gone song bumble lala".

Names in South Africa, like many countries that were colonised are a contentious issue. It was common for black Africans to have their given names changed because European settlers struggled to pronounce them. Slaves in South Africa were also stripped of their names, and many were simply given the name of the month that they arrived in the Cape as a surname by the officials of that time.

Many European immigrants, especially those of Greek origin lost their part of their heritage when immigration officials hurriedly wrote down whatever was easiest when they disembarked in South Africa, shortening longer surnames and leaving out the traditional ancestry trail contained in middle names.

Many black South Africans have reverted to their African names such as politicians Mosiuoa (Patrick) Lekota and Mbhazima (Sam) Shilowa.

Read more on:    julius malema  |  heritage day

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