“ Ziphule zonke…” Break it, then you might as well break them all! Those household items that are so special to our Black mothers.

Breaking plates/ glass in a black African home will always be a thing especially from the matriarch. These mother’s literally spend years trying to build a build a home and the fancy household goods will always be held dear to their hearts. We have to bear in mind that these household goods are fragile and must be handled with the uttermost care at all times or else all hell breaks loose.

“ Ziphule zonke…” is the phrase that follows after breaking a glass/ plate, be it in the kitchen or dining area. The Zulu phrase express disappointment and slight anger. It is a ubiquitous fact that in African homes “ Ziphule zonke …” is only a place holder and has to be followed by extremism that goes to the effect or sound like; “…take the entire cabinet and break all my glasses, why don’t you.”

This speaks to the financial constraints that black people are enduring and also the financial liberation in the sense that if the household had enough disposable income, breaking a mere glass would not be problematic. The reality is most African homes are “balling a budget” and everyone needs to be cognisant of that of that sole fact. In these household every cent needs to be accounted for and carelessness will not be tolerated as they strive to reach a life that is comfortable.

A lot of value is placed on these breakable  and the weird thing is that matriarch make it know that certain cutlery and cookery cannot be used by members of the internal family and they are reserved for ominous guest that come from the north, set precedence  that they are allowed to break as they please.

About the author

Khanya Mali is a marketing and brand communications enthusiast with a penchant for building brands on both client and advertising agencies and a “creative” in his own right. “Insights are the bark to every wondering creative work”