Dear friend,

I am a South African from the ethnic group called AmaZulu (Zulus). They say our language sounds romantic and beautiful when we pronounce words with our unique clicking sounds. They say when we pronounce these sounds it is as if our mouths are nestling wood fire; it is how the sound pops. I don’t know about that but what I can tell you is that there is a strange way my tongue behaves when I pronounce the name of your rubbled land, “GAZA”. My tongue is dragged towards the roof of my mouth, behind my front teeth, and I find myself pronouncing a familiar Zulu word, “GAZI”. I don’t know whether it’s because these two words share almost the same letters. In Zulu, GAZI means relativefamily. Maybe we are related in this pain. Maybe we’re related in this agony. Gazi also means blood. Maybe my tongue is aware of what is spilling in Gaza.

Even in the language that is said to be beautiful, there is no beautiful word for blood and death. In our Zulu language, “Qh” has a clicking sound. The word “Qhuma” means blast or explode. Even with our clicking sounds that are said to be romantic, there is no charming word for genocide and annihilation.

I hope one day if my tongue slips again, it will pronounce… “PEACE”