Hello – pause for a quick thought


This has nothing to do with photography or creativity, but without good karma what is creativity anyway, so I’m just going to say it.

This morning I was in and out of the supermarket at a super speed, getting icing for the cake which I had to ice in 20 minutes to get to the school event in time. Outside sat a lady, a little older than me, with dark hair, dark eyes and an accordian. I greeted her as I rushed past and on the way out I said goodbye. She wished me a good weekend and I returned the good wishes.

I was not the only one going in and out – in fact it was a busy Saturday morning, but I didn’t hear any other greetings. On the way home I gave it some thought – Why was this so important to me?

Well, you see, I was taught that in the Xhosa tradition (and in many other African traditions too): when you meet someone you greet them AND you should  follow up a simple “Hello”, with “How are you?”

The Hello (Molo) implies – I acknowledge that you exist.

The How are you? (Kunjani?) implies – I will briefly pause to interact with you, because you are worthy of a moment of my time. (Not to do so is considered to be extremely rude)

I believe everyone has as much of a right to be on this earth as I do, we’re just dealt different cards. I can’t fix everything, so I greet – especially those who sometimes are made to feel invisible. After all, a little bit of human dignity can go a long way.

Later today, I greeted a man I’d met before and automatically, without thinking asked how he was. The response was one of surprise. He paused and looked at me and said he was well. He asked how I was and I said I was also well. 🙂 Maybe I should have answered, “Ndiphilile” – I am alive.


4 thoughts on “Hello – pause for a quick thought

  1. So true, I’m also trying to teach my children that when you greet anyone (strangers too) you should look them in the eye so you really do connect, even for a moment!


  2. We tend to lose our “humanity” and “manners” in the rush of today’s world, never mind the lack of human contact encouraged by all the new technology. “Designed to make our life easier, designed to cut-out the human flaw”….


  3. Now you have made me drizz… How often do we bypass the eyes of the cleaning lady in a public bathroom, the gardener in a park or the lady with the accordion? They are all worthy of a moment of our time.


  4. Good to read everyone’s comments!
    So it’s not just me! It’s a habit we all need to keep cultivating. I love the fact that you (Les) also teach your kids to greet strangers – we’ve also made new rules about “talking to strangers”


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