by Tess B.

I have fallen in love with the Zulu people.

On July 19th I played the drums for a smiling Zulu woman who danced. She then told us about the marriage practices of her people.

On July 20th I spoke to my waiter in his language instead of mine. He taught me how to say “Siyabonga”— “we thank you”.

On July 20th I had my first conversation entirely in Zulu. The market was full of voices and smells and heat; I felt like I could stay there forever. The woman and I greeted each other simply.

“Sawubona, mama”, I said.

“Yebo, sawubona. Unjani?”

When I continued in Zulu, she raised her eyebrows and smiled at me— a white foreigner who took the time to learn about her language and people. I bought one of her intricately beaded bracelets to remind me of her beautiful smile and our beautiful interaction.

On July 22nd I spoke for 40 minutes to a young Coloured man who dropped out of school to support his ill mother and young sister. He spoke with bravery and humility. He said I seem to like it here and that I should stay. I agreed.

On July 22nd I spoke to an old couple who asked me about myself. By the end of our short conversation, we were all laughing at my poor Zulu. They taught me, “Sala Kahle”— “stay well”.

Tonight is my last night with my host family. I will miss their smiles.

I love these people. I want to dance with all of Africa.