The Power of Language
Language is the key to understanding and understanding is the key to peace.
I’m not saying anything original or profound with that statement. I’m actually a bit shocked at how many times I need to keep re-learning this basic lesson. Language is a key — and keys open doors.
A few nights ago, Cape Town tourism entrepreneurs Buntu (shown in the photo above) and Ayanda gave Team Parea a crash course in Xhosa, a common South African native tongue also known as a “click” language. All we learned was “hello,” “how are you,” “I’m fine,” and “thank you,” but employing these terms over the last few days has been pure magic.
“Molo Bhuti” — the gender specific greeting for a man — earns a smile and generous conversation from every Uber driver. “Enkosi kakhulu” (thank you very much) is an immediate ice breaker with every barista, server, cashier. . .
It’s a simple thing. It’s almost the least we humans can do to connect with one another. But even minimal effort to show courtesy and grace by employing a person’s own vocabulary is necessary to build a bridge.
And more bridges are desperately needed in this world.