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Top Unspoken Kasi Rules You Should Know

And the reasons why we'll always love our communities

BY YAZA South Africa Team

Mar 22, 2022, 02:30 PM

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Growing up, I often felt like all black parents in my community came from the same mother. As I grew up I realised that it wasn’t just my community that somehow subscribed to a set of unspoken rules only they knew and understood. I've come to know these as the #KasiRules,

These #KasiRules are seemingly universal to most townships/villages in Mzansi and since I met other Africans thanks to social media, I can safely say that we are definitely connected on some “only God can understand level" because I've seen traces of these rules in other African countries as well!

On the surface some of the rules are silly and even hilarious, however, most of the rules dial back to important human rights and particularly Ubuntu.  Think of the following rules as a practical guide of how to apply Ubuntu in everyday life.

Always Greet Everyone!

One of the most important of these rules is greeting. Saying hello, can be taken for granted by people who don’t understand the value it holds. In the communities we come from, the act of greeting is significant because it means you see another person. Saying hello, means you recognise the person and acknowledge that they exist and are valuable. It is one of the first things toddlers are taught because it is also a sign of respect. It is respecting a person’s presence in your space and welcoming them. How you do it has slight differences from community to community - according to status, family rank and even age - but the bottom line is that it should come from a place of respect.

Carry An Extra R2 Wherever You Go 

Why? Because someone will always - and I do mean always - ask for it. Long before KFC copied the method and started asking you to make R2 donations when you buy your streetwise meal, this was a way of life in the kasi. Informal daily donations. For sweets, for a cigarette or a ngud or to add to the taxi fare. It may be the local malume who asks for it or the primary school classmate who dropped out. Either way, if you have a R2, you give it because that’s who we are and it is peaceful and sends good vibes into the atmosphere.

From Wedding To Funeral, All Events Are Open Invitation

If you pitch a tent or blast the music at an unacceptable volume… we are on our way. Whether it's a funeral, wedding, tombstone unveiling, ancestral thanksgiving, birthday party for your two-year-old or lobola celebration, the township is no place for “this is an intimate event for family and friends”. Why? Well, the way a community is set up is that everybody is essentially your family or friends.

Don’t Ask Any Questions, Just Push The Car!

Car trouble is a daily occurrence ko kasi. It could have something to do with the number of second and even third-hand cars most of us tend to rescue from the car salesman. The unspoken rule is, whenever you see a person attempting to push the car - perhaps to help it gain momentum so it can start running - stop whatever you are doing and join him or her in pushing the car. Even if there are already ten people pushing, find a spot and push.

Speak English In The Taxi At Your Own Risk

English is great for every place on Earth as a communication medium, except a taxi in South Africa. Taxi drivers are notorious for biting the heads of people who talk to them in English. It may have something to do with the myth that English-speaker think they breathe flavoured air and often look down on people but no matter how educated or eloquent people from Kasi are, when they get inside a taxi they revert back to their mother tongue. It is better for everyone that way. Say “Sawubona '' pay your taxi fare and then say “dankie driver” and jump off.

Bonus Rule: Know The Signs Of “Potential Transfer Of Ownership”

Other important rules include knowing the lingo of the community and knowing how to read the room or the street. These will not only save you from embarrassment but could potentially save you from experiencing an unexpected “transfer of ownership” aka being robbed. For example, if you see two or three guys walking directly towards you in a “calculated” fashion, take a young unplanned jog in the opposite direction or else they might politely ask for your good, such as your cell phone or wallet.
There’s nothing Ubuntu about this one, it's just the way it is.