Speak Like Xulu

This Sunday Mlungisi Xulu took it upon himself to respond to the open letter to ANC President, Jacob Zuma that was penned by self-proclaimed “Sushi King” of South Africa, Kenny Kunene.

Kenny, who I can only describe as the sort of middle-aged fellow that has absolutely no qualms referring to himself as a ‘socialite’—thus conjuring up images of him out on the town in a mini-skirt of the Paris Hilton variety—had written a scathing letter to South Africa’s commander-in-chief to outline how disappointed he is in the ANC. (Because, who didn’t expect Kenny to use his years of experience as a nightclub owner as the podium for political change they are?)

Now, I’m all for open letters; so much so that I have not taken it personally that my own open letter to Kenny has been all but ignored by his people—not personally at all (you can tell that fatty yourself! [sobbing]) But Mlungisi Xulu’s letter left me positively fuming. It was not the letter itself, but the response to it on Twitter.

The letter was met with nothing but flabbergasted laughter. It began with the following excerpt:

Well, let me pervade you of the titillation, embedded in the eventual state of being a paragon of perfection in the ardent utmost utilization of logic, as an ANC inclined political activist. In idling times, one ought to augment the incessant purportion of being abreast, beauty par excellence, with the intellectual regime, and resist desolation yielding petulance, which fuels obliterated recusance, immiserating from expertise, lack thereof.

If you’re anything like that thick lot on Twitter then you probably burst out laughing as well in astonishment at the use of what may seem like ‘unnecessarily complex’ language. But that is only your fault (but probably more so the fault of that cesspit of teenage-debauchery you no doubt call your secondary school). The problem with the world today is everyone accepts mediocrity and I stand behind Mlungisi in his refusal to accept that.

For you see, Mlungisi and I are not so different—except, perhaps, for the minor fact that I write to be understood and he, apparently, seems not to have the same goal in mind. But you know what? Mlungisi understands that there are bigger things in this world to do than to write English that panders to the common man! And I totally get that.

That’s why instead of joining in the jibe-fest that the responses to his letter became, I decided to start a hashtag with the sole purpose of raising the standard of language that we use as a people. But of course, my #tweetlikeXulu tag died almost as soon as it was created, leaving behind one remnant of its existence: a tweet by myself that goes:

“The cotton-based material residing in the recesses of my undergarments has forged a place in the crevice of my unmentionables #tweetlikeXulu

Now, if you understood that this tweet seeks to communicate that I was experiencing what the Americans so crassly put as a ‘wedgie’ then the following lesson may not be completely lost on you. I’m going to give you a few phrases that you can work into everyday conversation so that before you know it you’ll be speaking just like Xulu: using very much English without the burden of worrying about making very much sense.

1.       Greetings. Greetings are a part of everyday life. Those of you that were not raised by a herd of donkeys, know that a great way to start your day is to greet the people you first meet in the morning. Normally a ‘hey’, or ‘good morning’ will do for most people: but you are no-longer ‘most people’, those simple pleasantries will no longer do. Today you will start your morning by saying, in the place of all that pedestrian speak, a more dignified version of ‘hello’. First clear your throat, look your colleague in the eye and say:

“On this most irradiated daybreak I take it upon myself to convey to the fissure in which your corporeal being receives auditory vibrations, a most deliberate acknowledgement of your existence in my immediate sphere of presence, in a manner that I am confident follows the basic rubrics of social congress and somehow revivifies your experience of this day.”

2.       Declarations of affection. If you are likeable then you have someone that you love. If you are not then I’m sure you have the cunning to trick someone into accepting your affection with cold indifference. Either way, you do need to say ‘I love you’ tosomeone so why not shove that common way of saying it out of the way and replace it with Xulu-approved terminology that more certain to make you unforgettable to your loved one (if not to the magistrate that oversees the restraining order case you find yourself at the unfortunate end of.)


“You instigate anatomical mechanisms in my cardiovascular organ that medical fraternities consider counter-intuitive to the accepted literature on human physiology. Your existence is an exhilarating reminder that this sphere we reside on is not the love-less planetary form that sceptical philosophers deem it to be.”

Now, I am no Xulu—that much is evident in the fact that I neither understood his letter, nor had much of an interest in finishing it (for that I blame that private school that duped my parents into thinking they were paying for a ‘top-notch’ education—[snorts] clearly not) but I’ve never been one to worry about little things like know-how when doling out advice to my readers. And although my English is far too close to being comprehensible, I hope that this article has been the inspiration you so unknowingly craved to spruce up your diction.

With that I end this lesson, or as Xulu would undoubtedly say, ‘with this stream of literary consciousness I situate an unambiguous end to the commencement of this didactic address.’


2 thoughts on “Speak Like Xulu

  1. English is my first language. Had to read that excerpt from Xulu twice. *sigh*
    My recent endeavors have brought an uncomfortable, throbbing sensation to the (pull your mind out of the gutter) temporal lobe of my cranium. *steals panados*

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