Maashi Rampersad’s first-ever published book has a true local spin and is proudly KZN.
There’s something evocative about a Zulu drumbeat, more so when followed by our anthem. By the time we had finished singing Nkosi sikelel iAfrica and swallowed the lump in our throats, add a couple of moving speeches, our much-tried positivity and indeed patriotism seemed to shine a little brighter.
This was the scene of author Maashi Rampersad’s book launch at the Beverly Hills Hotel last month. Your Basic Isizulu Guide To The Kingdom Of The Zulu is aimed at uniting people across cultural and language differences.
Hardcover and delightfully illustrated, it’s not a large book, but would grace any coffee table. Translating from English to isiZulu, it covers everyday vocabulary and includes themes such as greetings, family members, directions, shopping, visiting a restaurant and more, as well as snippets of information such as Zulu beadwork nature reserves, The Mandela Capture Site, Oribi Gorge and the like. “This is my first published book written from a personal perspective to promote social cohesion,” comments Maashi, an isiZulu lecturer.
A former Miss India SA, Maashi is married to former East Coast Radio presenter Ravi R. They have two children, and live in uMhlanga. Maashi has an NPO, Lifetree Foundation, through which she reaches out to less fortunate communities.
Maashi recalls how her inspiration to write her book played out for her. “During my Miss India reign I was truly blessed to meet the father of our nation, Nelson Mandela, who inspired and encouraged me to assist in making our nation more literate in isiZulu.
“When I embarked on my undergraduate studies at university, I developed an immense passion for the isiZulu language. I completed a BA majoring in isiZulu and English before attaining my honours and a higher diploma in education. My vision was to write a book as a survival guide and a clear lens through which fellow South Africans and visitors to our beautiful country would be able to learn the basics of isiZulu and communicate more effectively. I firmly believe this book will appeal to learners at school, tourists, the corporate sector and indeed anyone who wants to learn the basics of the language.”
Maashi is currently lecturing and editing literature in isiZulu at tertiary institutions and also edits literature for primary and secondary schools. “I am currently in negotiations with The Department of Education and the Tourism Board to ensure my book is accessible to the respective communities, and I’ve also been approached by some of the corporates to structure an isiZulu course for their staff.”
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