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Jemma Thorpe

Londolozi Creative Hub

Jemma grew up on a farm in the Midlands Meander in Kwa-Zulu Natal and studied at the University of Cape Town. With little bush experience but with many hours of au pairing, teaching English and forming a love for travel, Jemma found herself ...

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on 5 Shangaan Phrases To Learn Before Your Stay

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This is lovely Jemma. Over the years I have learned a few phrases, although I do forget it when I do not practise it. I love it when the butlers say Inkomu Shinene. The best is Colbert’s Hakuna Matata even if it is not Shangaan.

Fabulous information Jemma. Wish I’d had it prior to my trip in November. I barely uttered “thank you “.

Thanks Jemma. I’ve been waiting for this for a while. All of my phrases have come from Cry and Colbert to date with mixed results!

Interesting piece!
Going to start practicing for the July visit!

Damn! I wish this Shangaan phrases blog had appeared last July or August so I could practice up for my visit to Londolozi in September.

I lived in Maputo, Mozambique for some years and learned many Shangaan phrases there. They are completely different and unintelligible from the phrases you wrote above. For instance, “Thank you’ was most definitely pronounced “Canimambo” (Kan-EE-mam-bo). Can you tell me why then I can’t recognize a single word of the phrases stated above as “Shangaan”? I”m not criticizing, I am very curious to understand this disconnect. Thanks for your time!

Hi Megan, the language spoken in this area is referred to as Shangaan or Tsonga by the locals. I know that a lot of the language is derived from Mozambique, but over time they may have become different dialects. However I am no specialist in languages and am sure there will be someone who has done some research into how the language as spread and changed.

Hi Megan, like English, Shangaan words are categorical as well. There could be 3 or 4 words that mean the same. Again the same Shangan or Tsonga have many dialects or sub tribes ie. Rhonga, Tswa, Hlengwe, Tsonga, Nkuna etc. The word Thank you can be translated to 1. Inkomu, 2. Khanimambo. 3. Nikhensile whilst “swinene” is very much. Thank you very much then becomes Inkomu swinene.

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