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Opinion| Is Penny Lebyane ashamed of her home language: Sepulana?

@mpumalanga
By @mpumalanga | self meida writer
Published 19 days ago - 1030 views

Sepulana is a dialect spoken by people in most parts of Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga. They fall under the umbrella of the Bapedi people. And while it is much similar to Sepedi, it contains words from Swati and Tsonga languages. As you can imagine it takes a lot for Mopulana to communicate with pride outside Bushbuckridge as they constantly fall prey to trialist bullies.

It’s like Penny Lebyane is one of those Mopulana people who abandon their language once they leave Bushbuckridge. The Radio and TV personality moved to Pimville in Soweto when she was twelve years old. ‘My fondest memory about Mapulaneng are going to fetch water and doing laundry by the river with other girls my age. We were so free and had no sense of danger`

She’s clear about where she’s from originally but she refused to speak Sepulana until Daily theta presenter Nicolette Mashile proudly spoke it. In this free country it did not occur to her that she had the right to express herself in her own language?

 Although her last name indicated that she’s from Bushbuckridge, Mopulana could not relate to her. I guess it’s safe to say she robbed mapulana kids of seeing themselves in her. And her refusal to speak Sepulana on TV is the reason Nicolette Mashile is more popular in Bushbuckridge even though she’s been in the entertainment industry for over two decades.

Nicolette Mashile dug Penny Lebyane out of the mutt that she posted a videos speaking Sepulana on twitter. She must have grown up resenting Penny Lebyane for not speaking Sepulana and vowed to embrace her language when her time comes.

But because you can’t teach pride, Penny Lebyane still struggles to speak Sepulana contentedly. While most Sepulana speaking people are not comfortable with their language, one would expect a woman like Penny Lebyane to have a sense of pride.


In an interview with Dj Sbu at his podcast (The Hustler Corner SA) he asked; 20 years from now, what would you like to say to Mme Penny at that time. Look at that camera and speak to yourself. She decided to answer in Sepulana but busted out of laughter in the middle of her response. Only she knows what she was giggling about. And when she switched back to English she was suddenly more relaxed and secure. 

Even when she presented Motswako, a Sepedi centered show she failed to speak Sepulana. The media mogul is most definitely not proud of her language and heritage. Good thing Sepulana speaking kids have Nicolette Mashile to look up to.

Content created and supplied by: @mpumalanga (via Opera News )

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