Friday, November 13, 2009


“This is the sad story of a sad country, and of a humble black woman, who under the burden of South Africa’s discriminatory laws, never gives up, never gives in.” (Alan Paton)

I know that our posts are (or at least try to be) funny, but we can’t joke about “Poppie Nongena”. “Poppie Nongena” has absolutely nothing in common with jokes or carefree laughter.
 you have never had to think about the colour of your skin
 you live in an ideal world where hard work bears fruit and you only get what you deserve
 your biggest worry is that you don’t have enough money for your next vacation abroad
 you have ever been on a diet (which means that you have a surplus of food)
then you should read “Poppie Nongena”. “Poppie Nongena” is a book about sadness and injustice, a book that teaches us to count our blessings and to feel ashamed for every expensive piece of clothing we buy, for every new electronic gadget and for every manicure.

If you still feel like it, here are some Scrabble valid words for your linguistic pleasure.

Koppie = small hill (in South Africa)
Ouma = a grandmother; an elderly woman
Lobola = the South African native custom of marriage by purchase. Also, the price or present given for a bride according to this custom
Mealie = maize; Indian corn
Samp = coarsely-ground Indian corn; also a kind of porridge made from it
Veld = the unenclosed country or open pasture-land
Kierie = short club or knobbed stick used as a weapon by natives of South Africa
Sangoma (isangoma) = a witchdoctor, usu. a woman, claiming supernatural powers of divination and healing
Doek = a head-cloth
Donga = channel or gully formed by the action of water; a ravine or watercourse with steep sides
Kraal = village of Southern or Central African native peoples, consisting of a collection of huts surrounded by a fence or stockade, and often having a central space for cattle, etc
Muti = Medicine as traditionally practised among the black peoples of Africa, usually in the form of charms or other objects to which healing or magical powers are ascribed, incorporating herbs and parts of animals and (occas.) of human bodies
Stoep = a raised platform or verandah running along the front and sometimes round the sides of a house of Dutch architecture


  1. May you reveal the book your wife was reading?
    Tony k

  2. Which book are you talking about, Tony? The one mentioned in this article is, as you can see in the photo, "Poppie Nongena" by Elsa Joubert.