OH yes I am multilingual, and everyone asks “but how”? Well I always say to them because I am a real South African and I just laugh. Then they say, “come on we serious here”. M y answer is simple though, I was born in Limpopo in a village called Rotterdam. When I was 2 years old my aunt took me to stay with her in Pretoria Soshanguve. My aunt was very fond of me, and she still is because I was the first niece she had, she is my father’s sister and my father is the only boy, well or man.
I grew up in Pretoria and the most population of people speaks Setswana. My aunt is married to Ndebele. So the friends that I had growing up will speak Setswana with me and I always responded in Tsonga, because I could here them and so were they. Therefore we understood each other even though I was speaking in my language and vise versa. Lot of people even thought that my aunt was my mom, and that I was her last born because I have never called her aunty, I always called her “mama”. Even today I still do call her mama. There is a lot to tell about how I grew up and all the travelling I did growing up but that is a story for another day. Today is about me and multilingual.
I hardly stayed full time with my mom growing up until I was in grade 7. Though I used to visit her on school holidays, and mom and dad stayed in Gauteng, eastrand at a location called Tsakane, and the population of people speaking Zulu is high. Regardless of the people I stayed with or communicated with growing up that had nothing with me being multilingual, because no one taught me how to speak Zulu, Venda, Pedi, Tswana, Ndebele, Swati, Sotho, English and Xhosa, I would love to believe that it is a gift or talent that I was born with. And so the question to “but how or who taught you to speak these languages”. No one did but it is a gift that I was born with. Always remember that I was born Tsonga and brewed Tsonga and that will never change. I am Makungu Edith Maluleke and I am proudly South African. I am proud of my country and I am multilingual because I’m from the rainbow nation.