‘Howzat!’ in Xhosa? Now we know the answer

“Kunjani!” is now recognised throughout the cricket world as an official alternative to “Howzat!”

The laws of the game had been translated into Xhosa for the first time‚ the International Cricket Council said on Tuesday.

Cricket South Africa board member and president of the Western Province Cricket Association Beresford Williams was presented with a copy of the booklet containing the translation at Newlands last week.

The department of cultural affairs & sport in the Western Cape‚ linguist and Xhosa language specialist Xolisa Tshongolo and cricket historian Andre Odendaal were among those who worked on the translation with Cricket SA and the Marylebone Cricket Club.

Peter Bacela‚ a former selector and Xhosa commentator‚ was also consulted for the project‚ which aims to take cricket to rural areas and previously disadvantaged communities.

Odendaal said the book‚ produced about 160 years after cricket was first played by Xhosa-speaking South Africans‚ came a century too late but was an act of redress.

Xhosa speakers were enthusiastic cricketers throughout the then Cape Colony in the mid-19th century.

Black teams regularly played white teams‚ and the first of 16 Native Inter-Town Tournaments in 1884 was one of the earliest representative competitions in SA sport.

In 1898/1899‚ African cricketers were among the leaders in setting up the South African Coloured Cricket Board and starting the interstate tournaments for the Barnato Trophy.

This was in the same decade that the official County Championship in England‚ the Sheffield Shield in Australia and Currie Cup were launched.

Western Cape department of cultural affairs & sport head Brent Walters said through the development of cricket terms the project was adding to the lexicography of Xhosa.

“We need to act in a way that talks to the heart of our people – [not only] say people are included.”