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23 February 2014

Things I Learnt In Isipingo

So for those of you who are not aware, I recently started spending a lot of time in a little place called Isipingo.
Isipingo is a southern suburb in the Durban area, South Africa. Mostly it is populated by a part of the large Indian community in Durban, this part being the poorer end of town.
The people here are colourful, and happy. They are amazingly hospitable, and friendly.  They have close knit families and community.
There are many blocks of flats, and duplexes, all colourful, each flat or home identifiable to its owners, and personalized.

But the people themselves are even more colourful than the bright pink, purple, blue and yellow houses they live in, their smiles are brighter than the orange currys and shiny tiles in their flats. Their eyes shine with mischief, as if to say "I know something you dont, and even if I tell you, you wont understand me". Dont get me wrong, I'm yet to meet a person in Isipingo who is not fluent in English, in fact everyone I have met here has English as a first (sometimes only) language. But their English is very different to my English.

I can honestly say I have learned a lot by associating and being near these wonderful people. I have lived in South Africa my whole life, I have lived in Durban for most of my life. But stepping into this quaint (maybe I should rather call it 'unusual') area makes me feel like I have travelled right to the other side of the world, straight into the bustling streets of India.

Here are some of the things I have learnt in Isipingo, but please dont hate on me, some of these are funny and I hope you enjoy the laughs and dont get offended at this. And if you do get offended at it, well "take a walk" as my dear friends in Isipingo would say.
It is not intended as racist. I personally have more close friends of colour (Indian & Black) than I do of "white" friends. I spend more time in Isipingo & Umlazi (or other rural/township areas) than anywhere else. I am also of the age group who grew up in a no longer racially divided society.

1- The word 'ask' is always pronounced 'aks'/'axe'. I.e "I axed you to bring my phone, why why you not bring it but?"

2- The word 'but' is a perfectly good way to end any sentence that needs a little emphasis. I.e "My brother's not here, he's gone to the shop but'

3- If you do not know a person's name, or have forgotten it, it is perfectly good manners to simply call them "ma", "mummy", "dad", "uncle" or "aunty". And that does not only have to be for persons related to you, it can be any random person, younger or older than you.
I.e "hey aunty, what you doing knocking on my cousin's door"

4- If it does not have chillies, masala, or curry powder in it, its not food. Babies are weaned on curry. And no curry is too hot, the answer will always be "its not hot, its so mild but. Why you complain?", even if your lips are bright red, your eyes are watering, your nose is running, and you are screaming for milk.

5- (4.2) When the Durban Indian people say the curry is not hot, the rest of humanity is screaming in pain. Even Indian Indians (the guys from india who are visiting SA) cant handle this curry.

6- If its not a VW Golf  GTI with custom mags & a sound system with a bass box that fills the boot (for the Americans reading this, a boot is a car trunk), then its not a car. Oh yeah, and the suspension should be no more than 10 centimeters off the ground.

7- Hospitality & Kindness is still very much alive. Even if the wonderful people in this area do not know you, if you knock on their door, most will invite you in for tea. If you are knocking between 11am & 1pm, they might even invite you in for lunch.

8- Minerals (must be pronounced Minderls) means fizzy cool drinks. I.e "have some minerls and go" while handing you a glass of fanta, coke, or sprite.

9- When you ask to see someone in the house, and they tell you this person is not here, he/she is late, do not ask what time said person will be returning. They never say "My fada (father) died last year" or "that auntie across the road passed away last week." It is always "My fada, he's late"/"No she not there, she's late"

10- Durban Indians invented the modification. Be it a sentence, a car, a house, a story, or a hairstyle, it WILL BE MODIFIED!

11- Every occasion/function requires a marquee. And no parking lot or yard is too small for a marquee and at least 80 people. In other words these guys know how to throw a killer house party!!!

12- When you think you have a bargain, you haven't yet met the Indians. As a good (Indian) friend of mine says "when Indians walk into a shop, the owners start getting the change ready"

And that for now my dear friends is a list of just some of the things I have learnt in Isipingo. Some amusing, some weird, a couple a tad irritating, but all wonderfully colourful and fun to be around.

Until next time, later dudes.