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.”