Tips And Ideas For Creating Understanding In Diversity

The world is a big and small place, all at the same time. Beyond the geography, it is vast in diversity. The Internet and means of transport obliterated time and geographic divides. We now get to meet more people from places and cultures than generations before us. As a result, we’re all talking but don’t always understand each other. This makes creating understanding in diversity critical.

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That Time I Was Told “Our Kind Must Stick Together”

Writing about cultural intelligence in teams and leadership brought a memory back. I don’t know why some weird things happen to me in public spaces. I seem to have a few interesting encounters with people every now and then.

Once a guy responsible for cleaning bathrooms at one of my favourite malls started telling me about his relationship problems. Talk about awkward…

On another day, a waitress called me out… This post is not about all these incidents though. Let me get back…

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Zulu 101

Besides being a tribe, Zulu is the name of the langugage. It is one of the languages spoken most in South Africa. Most of the people who speak Zulu are in the Kwazulu Natal province.

As with many languages, it evolves. You might find that Zulu spoken in Johannesburg may have words or phrases picked up from other cultures and languages. Zulu spoken in Kwazulu Natal is likely to be less tainted. However, it is not so different that commmunication cannot taken place. Depending on your attitude, language can a barrier or bridge.

One of the best ways to cross cultural barriers and be citizen of the world is to learn a langugage. You don’t necessarily need to master it, but learning and sepaking a little of it warms the hearts of those you engage.

Learning a little a language could help you win over the heart of someone who speaks it. Who knows, it might save you one day. There’s no harm in learning little phrases; you have more to gain than lose. Learning to speak someone’s language says:

  • “I want to communicate with you…”
  • “Connecting with you is not an afterthought…”
  • “I’m willing to enter your world…”
  • “I’m interested in you…”
  • “I see you…”

Wouldn’t the world be better if we chose to find little ways to build bridges? From learning a language and talking to each other… You could ask poeple about their world, by so doing you also invite them into your world. When we see how different and similar we are, we’re more mindful and the world becomes a better place.

I could share the typical greetings etc. but I thought it would be fun to learn this instead. So, here are some Zulu phrases:

Here: La

There: Le

Sleep: Lala

Sleep here: Lala la

Sleep there: Lala le

Listen: Lalela

Listen here: Lalela la

Sleep over there: Lalela le

Listen here, sleep over there: Lalela la, lalela le

Zulu 101 for my non-Zulu speaking friends. Simple, right?