January 11th, 2012
This phrase, Ngiyatsandza, is one of the most frequent phrases said to me here in Swaziland. It directly translated means ‘I am loving’ but when said to someone it means ‘I am loving you.’ Swazi culture is rooted in the tradition that a male cannot let a female, whom he finds marriage worthy, pass without telling her he loves her and asking her to marry him. Needless to say I get a lot of this unwanted attention. It’s at the point where I usually play along with their game and say ok but I’m worth so many cows (which my host mom has officially upped to 100 because I proved I can weed the maize fields like a good swazi wife can).
However sometimes they spice up the comment with some other phrases that just make you laugh out load. Here are a few that I have gotten in the past few days.
While trying to get to a khumbie you get grabbed a lot by drivers who want you to take their van. The other day a driver grabbed me and I just pulled myself loose and kept walking. As I ignored him he called after me “Hey, touch me back, touch me back.” Who says that?
Then today as I was boarding a bus a guy came up to me and kept saying “lets dilute, lets dilute.” I was like huh? He explained “I’m black, your white, lets dilute.” I just laughed, patted his arm and said not today bhuti, not today.
It gets annoying but when you have so many of these encounters everyday you just have to laugh it off. Today I got hit on three times. My neighbor on the bus (happens everytime I end up sitting next to a male), the guy who wanted to “dilute” with me, and an old man who tried getting my phone number to “work on a project.” When I’m with my host mom I get hit on even more, I don’t know why, but she no longer finds it entertaining, she just straight face asks them how many cows they are going to give her for me. She rejects any number they come up with.