Hands up migrant workers! It’s that time of the year again when the great trek home shall be taking place. Oh yes wherever your pull factor is, it’s time to head back emakhaya. Western Cape, Gauteng, sibala ntoni na?
We are aware that the rules below are not completely new in the public realm. They resurface every year, on this Flashback Friday let’s interrogate what exactly you are being advised when you arrive kwi-lali yakho mhlali.
The first rule to remember as you arrive in the village, we are told, is to know the difference between a group of people and a herd of cows. You are not in Jhb CBD: “Greet everyone you meet in the streets. Sisahlonipha”. Whilst at it, December groceries must be purchased, dig deep in your pocket and contribute.
You are also reminded to leave the English in the big city and not pretend you can’t speak your home language. While sticking to the local language may endear you to locals, spending inordinate amount of time on your fancy mobile device will get you frowns from all angles.
Forget all the modern conveniences you have gotten accustomed to in your cosy suburban life. You are told not to venture into questions like “Azikabikho i-street lights na apha?” The locals are just fine without floodlights. Be mindful of your surroundings and avoid white outfits ’emicimbini’.
You are also reminded being at home is not an equivalent of attending a glitzy fashion soiree, as such changing outfits three times a day will not do you any favours. And just because you are at home once in a while, you are cautioned about referring to the entire province of the Eastern Cape as ’emaXhoseni’.
And being at home is not an opportunity for you to remind abahlali that you are living large. No one wants to hear you say “Siqhele ukuthi eKapa, andiyazi leyalapha.” We are talking here about an environment where ‘umbeko’ is a breakfast stable after all.
And if you are going to give feedback to your Joburg friends about the dull time you are having at home, you are requested to have the decency not to say it in the local’s presence. Should you be driving a rented car, ‘suxhoma’ because no one will recognise you.
If the thirst takes over, it is recommended you only look and not touch ‘abantu babantu’. Whilst you are conducting yourself with such impeccable decorum, always ask “Zise-right ii-girls” because ‘nguwe ozakuvusa kaloku.’ In case you spend all your loot ensuring the girls drinks are flowing, don’t dare ask for money when you return back because you are broke.