Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

Words from Africa

It looks like Goodluck Jonathan has won the election in Nigeria.

ubuntu: 1. an ethic or humanist philosophy focusing on people’s allegiance and relations with each other.
2. A linux-based operating system.
3. An amazing vegetarian restaurant in Napa.

I am strong, if you are strong: “Elias” is a song with some of its lyrics deriving from the Shona dialect: I blogged about those lyrics some time ago. Anyway, I recently discovered the Elias Fund website, which has an interesting tagline.

3 responses

  1. g

    A restaurant that serves yoga!

    April 18, 2011 at 4:56 am

  2. Amber

    Ummm. You realize that Ubuntu is from Xhosa spoken mostly in South Africa and Shona is spoken mostly in Zimbabwe and a little bit of Mozambique (and coincidentally the language I was learning while I was there). So putting all those together with Nigeria in a post is a little crazy and adds to the idea that Africa is just one place, instead of a ginormous place with lots of cultural and linguistic diversity. Read up some more on the beautiful continent so you can see and express some of the differences in your post more succinctly. 🙂 Also. We need to do dinner at some point.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:15 am

  3. K

    @g: yes! I was sure I was going to the wrong place when I discovered this and actually stopped to see if I could find another place called ubuntu.

    @Amber: we should totally get dinner at some point! My post in no way meant any disrespect to Africa. It was a simply an off-beat way to describe my weekend (off-beat is code for poorly written, of which you’ll find many examples on this blog). I heard about Goodluck Jonathan winning the election from the BBC on NPR, whom I had never heard of before. I also had dinner at Ubuntu after a day in Napa. More than a few people wondered if it was named after the operating system, so I used the Wikipedia to edumacate myself a bit. Lastly, I happened upon the Elias Fund website and noticed the tagline. I instantly thought back to the Shona words I had looked up the first time I’d heard “Elias” almost a decade ago… Ndaka Simba, Kana Maka Simba, if that’s parsing the song correctly? Like Krapp in Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, I was fascinated by the words and figured it was time to update the old blag. It just so happened that my new vocabulary of the weekend all came from Africa, so I phrased the title of the post that way as a mnemonic if I ever need to look this up later (memex: “enlarged intimate supplement to one’s memory” I suppose “Foreign Words” might have worked, too, if I’d wanted to get even more general, or in the other direction, “A name from Nigeria, a word from Xhosa, and a phrase from Shona” (that could have been a Twitter post in and of itself), but to be honest, I didn’t really think carefully before writing this, and now you’ve forced me to think and reflect a lot more on what I wrote! I genuinely appreciate that. 🙂

    April 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm

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