Meet the Mamas

Our home in Johannesburg is a beautiful B&B located in Auckland Park.   A historic house with intricate ceilings and a stunning view of the sunset every night, the B&B employs several ladies who we call “mamas”.  Mamas is a respectful way to address older women.  Every day, the mamas cook breakfast and maintain the B&B.  But beyond the delicious muffins they make every morning, it’s always a delight to laugh, joke and learn from them.  This post is dedicated to our mamas; Mpho, Ntsiki, Buyi, and Nomatter.

The first mama I met was Mpho.  Mpho is the Tswana word for gift.  She always has a knowing smile on her face.  She was quite at first but soon opened up and is one of the main culprits behind teasing our Emzingo cohort.  Mpho later explained that she doesn’t open easily because she needs to put on a tougher face in her township.  But truth be told, we all tease her and know that she’s a big softie on the inside.

The head mama is Ntsiki.  She’s the alpha dog.  Managing fourteen young adults (who probably act like rambunctious teenagers more often than not) is not an easy task!  Our cohort is always chastised for forgetting to lock the gates or leaving one to many dishes in the sink – to put it bluntly, we are a hassle.   But Ntsiki is always loving, albeit exasperated at times with us.

Mama Buyi and Lee (one of the drivers from the lodge) are partners in crime.  One time, as Jojo, Bhav and I were heading out, Buyi and Lee scared the living wits out of us by accelerating towards us in a vehicle.  We nearly peed our pants.   They are always scheming….

Finally, Mama Nomatter is new to Towerlodge and even though we met her recently, she is full of sass and love like all the other mamas.  I’ve been learning Zulu under the tutelage of the mamas and have gotten a few phrases under my belt (constantly teased by my fellow Emzingo cohort) but I’d like to believe I can hold a 20 second conversation decently.

The mamas have given a few of us Zulu names.  Jojo’s name is Inkanyezi which translates into moonlight, although Mpho originally wanted to call her naughty.  My Zulu name is Nobuhle.  We all joke and laugh with the mamas.  They have made our time here so welcoming and fun.  At the risk of sounding cheesy, it’s really been like a family.

Thank you Mamas for all your smiles, patience and love.  Ngiyabonga!  I won’t say goodbye, but instead:
sizobonana maduze!

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