July 19, 2012

Hens in Africa: Jambo!

When our Hens on Ice troop traveled to South Africa to bring the country its first ever Hens on Ice show, none of us in the cast or crew had been to South Africa (except the weird girl from New York who lives in England but has family in South Africa and Dutch roots, she doesn't count). We were all very excited to venture to this foreign land.

None of us pretended we knew much about South Africa. Sadly in most of our educations, African histories are seldom taught, aside from when European men colonized/raped and pillaged the continent when world exploration and pillaging were all the rage. But a few of us did a little research to help us be knowledgable. I learned that Johannesburg is the largest city in the world that is not on a major body of water or river. This fact never came in handy, other than that I knew not to look for a beach. Our friend, Kim, immediately began using "Jambo" as her greeting. I was impressed she learned a useful word in Afrikans, South Africa's other official language besides English. In spite of her pasty skin and red hair, Kim was one step more African than the rest of us.

Kim saying "jambo" to a cloud.

Jambo took off for our cast. With Kim using it as often as she could and our excitement for Africa bursting, our cast of hens greeted one another with "Jambo!" along with using it occasionally with some locals. The locals never responded with "Jambo" but at least they knew we were a step ahead of the average worldly-ignorant American.

After nearly three weeks of Jambo, one of our Hens asked Kim more about Jambo. Jambo was, in fact, Swahili, a more common language in other African countries. And Kim's research was watching Mean Girls.

Regardless, I still greet Kim and my cast members with "Jambo," but no more of that for the local South Africans. Kim still has more knowledge of African languages than I do. What part of Africa speaks Spanish?

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