(Ba tla ba strongo) (Ba zoba strongoh).
I must get slide off my high horse and confess that I have put away any attempt to be a purist, besides the present expression its such a regular right now that it is carelessly thrown around in different languages during conversation from Atteridgeville to Mamelodi, Sunnyside to Mabopane: Pretoria to Jozi line. It so beautifully while hovering on defensive snobbish-ism. It’s such a potent expression when one say with a sigh
…they will be strong
Such is the sharpness of this dagger to use in defence when people harbour hatred or adoration towards you; It is a sort of a verbal backlash-whiplash to people who are either in opposition with us (those not in our camp that is), Our adversaries or challengers in matters under the carpet or on the table wherein they snicker at our successes or resilience against the forces of nature or social. Somehow upon our awareness of the threat or admiration often when a crawler-sekhukhune approaches us and at an ear shot spills the beans of the trouble our presence stir in others when they tell us that so and so say this and this about wena-you. Suddenly we see our self gaining magnification and overshadowing all before us in prominence and we console our informant by saying
‘…they’ll be strong’
But the potency of this mix masala concoction of an affix expression can always be spun 180 degrees to signify a reassurance to those facing hard times as well – that all will be well. In this sense we pour our supportive presence as they wrestle with the mighty forces that may be tormenting them, or a reassurance of those who are in the middle of a hard situation for deep down we know nothing under the sun bugger anyone for ever – times change. On the other hand when watered down into a singular effect wherein the expression can be written as a first person full of bravery, it folds itself gymnastically into:
‘I’ll be strong’
Here then the expression sort of draws attention to the speaker in a first person mode, that come rain or hail of fire balls I shall stand my ground against the odds. This has been witnessed in the first expression as well, however there we saw that the speaker is not referring to himself but to ‘other’ people, which I gather can be quite a self discharge bullet from the stranglehold of competition and jealousy that mare human affairs in a scenario where an eves dropper has picked up a few plotting against you and delivers a report to you that reveals such plot to overthrow you from your rank of brevity through scheming orchestrated against you. However reassured in your stature and resolution you wave the matter away with the exclamation:
They’ll be strong
They’ll survive my intimidation, my reign, my silent threat. This expression compels me to imagine a silent kata jap wherein one’s opponent is silenced before they even take to the battle ground because one has anticipated their move a whiff away.
© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2013