On mar­gin

Finweek English Edition - - On The Money Quiz & Crossword -

Don’t push your luck

This is­sue’s Zulu word is re­lated to a topic that has been on a lot of minds lately. That word is umsh­walense. Umsh­walense is in­sur­ance.

You see, the Coun­cil for Giv­ing Zulu Names and Words to For­eign Words, Con­cepts and Gen­eral For­eign Stuff (CFGZNAWTFWCAGFS) sus­pected busi­ness­peo­ple were up to non­sense when they first in­tro­duced in­sur­ance. As such, umsh­walense is not just the word “in­sur­ance” Zu­lu­fied*. Nope, the wise and noble Zulu an­ces­tors also added a telling nugget in there – “shwa”.

Ishwa** is the isiZulu word for bad luck. This makes it clear that what the an­ces­tors were wor­ried about is that in­sur­ance com­pa­nies would thrive on our fear of bad luck, and then make us feel like we have even more bad luck when they refuse to pay out our claims. Who doesn’t fear ishwa? Even us brave Zu­lus do.

The an­ces­tors also in­cluded the word “lens” to re­mind us to comb through our pol­icy sched­ules very closely.

Sure, at first the word “lens” seems to be there be­cause Zulu peo­ple tra­di­tion­ally hate the let­ter “r” and re­place it with “l”, but the CFGZNAWTFWCAGFS also used this as an op­por­tu­nity to fur­ther help us stay vig­i­lant. You clever Zulu an­ces­tors, you.

All kid­ding aside, this piece doesn’t mean Zulu peo­ple are against umsh­walense, okay. We know how cru­cial it is in life. Some­times we even have to get umsh­walense against our­selves.

*In a pre­vi­ous piece, I ex­plained that Zu­lu­fy­ing hap­pens when the CFGZNAWTFWCAGFS can’t be both­ered to give some­thing for­eign a proper isiZulu name or word. This usu­ally hap­pens when the thing to be named gives them the hee­biejee­bies.

**The bit about the “shwa” in umsh­walense, be­ing re­lated to the isiZulu word for bad luck, ishwa, is ob­vi­ously not true. Yes, ishwa is bad luck, but it has noth­ing to do with umsh­walense. I was just get­ting a point across.

by Melusi Tsha­bal­ala “I think it's time we men­tion the Fred in the room.”

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