The Culture of KwaZulu-Natal
SANIBONANI! HEITA! HOWZIT! MAJITHA! ZWAKALA!
You can’t take anything too seriously in KwaZulu-Natal. It’s just too hot for that - and besides, it takes too much energy. We like to relax and would rather use our energy in more constructive ways. For instance, if we can’t lie in the sun watching the inside of our eyelids, we’d rather be surfing, playing beach soccer, strolling along Durban’s world-class promenade, fishing, hanging out with our friends and families, watching the plants grow (hey, we’re sub-tropical here and there are a lot of really, really nice plants) and generally making the most of our lives.
This is not to say we don’t work. We do, and we work hard … when we need to. Evidence of our hard work is the fact that Durban alone provides some 11% of South Africa’s gross domestic product, has the busiest port in Africa (so from a business perspective, we are the gateway to commerce in the whole southern African region) and we are South Africa’s leading domestic tourism market. It’s just that in KZN, work often feels like play, and besides, why stress out with too much work when there are so many other fun things going on? We’re not known as a great, family holiday destination for nothing you know.
“We’re cool with being warm”
In KwaZulu-Natal we’re famous for our warmth – warm, as in friendly and welcoming, but also sub-tropically warm. That being said, you’d be surprised at how easy it is to be chilled here. So, as far as we’re concerned, we’re completely cool being a warm, happy part of the country. And KZN is a happy place - because being happy is what comes naturally when you don’t take things too seriously.
It’s easy to be happy here. As long as the sun rises, the kids are occupied, business is taken care of, there’s a good game of sport either to be watched or played, the surf is great, there’s a breyani or a braai on the go, some lekker places to enjoy a dop and to siya-groova a bit with your buddies – well what more could you possibly want?
“Being happy is what happens naturally when you don’t take things too seriously”.
Okay, so we have a reputation for being laid back and easy going, but hey, we’re not doff. We like it that way. That’s why we live here and not in one of those places where you have to act larnie, dress right, be seen in the right places, read the right books, hang with the right people or where business is everything and life is so fast-paced and hyped you have no time to enjoy yourself.
As some locals may say, “Bru, you’ll just get stressed. Rather chill china”.
The way we see it, let everyone else rush around if they want. We’ll go at our own steady pace, conserving our energy for things that really matter - things like the big Sharks games for instance, (for those not in the know, the Sharks are our provincial rugby team of whom we are ridiculously proud and supportive), the Durban Vodacom July horse races, the Comrades marathon, the Duzi canoe marathon and the amaShovashova cycle race.
And of course, even more importantly, one always needs to conserve one’s energy for a quick dip in the warm Indian Ocean, a good curry, preferably a Bunny Chow (a take-away curry served in a half loaf of bread which was invented here in KZN) or a seafood platter and a.
We may look as if we’re just hanging out here on the edge of the East Coast of Africa, but in reality, not only are we really central to everything that is going on, but we’re cooking. Check it out …
WE EVEN HAVE OUR LANGAUGE IN KZN. HERE’S A QUICK TRANSLATION IF YOU DIDN’T UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING YOU READ ABOVE
Heita, Howzit, Majitha, (township and slang greetings)
breyani (popular Indian dish made from rice ‘n spice ‘n all things nice)
lekker (very nice)
dop (a quiet drink)
cooking (going places)
bru (my brother)
chill china, (Relax my friend: from the Zulu umshana = my nephew, and the cockney china plate = my mate)
larnie (important person)
check it out (see for yourself)
Bunny chow : often referred to as a bunny, is a popular meal which is of a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with curry. It originated in the Durban Indian community.