I am going to write my thoughts, the bits and bobs that I remember of how it was for me, during my almost fifty years spent in South Africa.
Xhosa, Xmas, X-ray tetra, Ximenia, Xerus
You thought I was going to be stumped at the letter “X”, didn’t you; well so did I!
The Xhosa people of South Africa refer to themselves as the amaXhosa and to their language as isiXhosa. It is the most common language after Zulu. There are 8 million Xhosa’s in the country many in the Cape Region.
This is where the Cape frontier wars were fought back in 1778-1878 against the Dutch and British settlers.
The Xhosas fought for their land which was annexed from them by these colonial powers. The Xhosa language is fascinating to listen to as it has a click click sound to it, making it rythmic too.
There is also a theory that the word xhosa derives from a word in some Khoi-khoi or San language meaning “fierce” or “angry”, the amaXhosa being the fierce people.
Ximenia seed oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, and therefore has a considerable nutritional value, with an anti aging effect on the skin. Nourishing and moisturizing.
Birds eat the fruit and animals feed on the leaves; what a great plant!
Now when I lived in South Africa as a child we read many lovely children’s story books sent to us from our Aunt who lived in England. Nell believed that children could never have enough books. Her gifts were well apreciated.
There were drawings of squirrels in these books. We don’t have squirrels quite like that in South Africa. I loved them, but had to wait till I lived here to see a real British squirrel with a curly tail.
Unlike this little fellow, who is a South African squirrel called a Xerus.
Another X is Xmas. A word I have tried never to use or write since I was about 18 years old.
I learnt an embarrassing leason from an anglican minister, Rev Richard Bird; who knocked on our front door to visit my father, and looked in horror at what I had sprayed in white snow on the hall mirror.
He asked what it said. I said “Happy Christmas!”
“Well then, he said,”strange, that’s not what I read. ‘Christmas’ says what it is, there can be no shortened version of the name, nor lessor importance put on the celebration at this the time of year.”
I have never forgotten that, strange and it was so long ago; I removed the fake snow and strarted again.