NEWS
28/09/2017 13:11 SAST | Updated 28/09/2017 14:03 SAST

Tumi Morake Reveals Her Obsession With The Afrikaans Culture

"Afrikaans has always been a part of my life."

Comedian Tumi Morake.
Gallo Images / Gabriele Mezzatesta
Comedian Tumi Morake.

One of the most fascinating features about Mahikeng-born comedian and radio DJ Tumi Morake might be her obsession with the Afrikaans culture.

In an exclusive interview with HuffPost SA, Morake recalled her childhood when language was the foundation of her life.

Read Here: This Is Where Tumi Morake's Pain Comes From

After her parents were jailed when she was six, Morake moved from Mahikeng in the North West to live with her grandmother in the dusty town of Thaba Nchu, in the Free State, roughly 60km east of Bloemfontein.

"Afrikaans has always been a part of my life. It was school, it was my grandmother, it was being in the Free State," she said, gesturing animatedly.

"When you are in the Free State you speak Setswana and Afrikaans and that's how I grew up."

As a teenager, she lost touch with the language but was quickly reintroduced when she moved to Johannesburg and started working on shows on SABC2, a predominantly Afrikaans channel.

A proud and thrilled Morake was therefore ready for the challenge earlier this year when Jacaranda FM approached her to join the breakfast show.

"So, when Jacaranda landed in my lap I thought, well, it is time to revisit the language and acquaint myself," she said.

The comedian has been at the centre of controversy this month after she made comments about apartheid on her show that she co-hosts alongside Martin Bester. She said that "apartheid was about the oppression of black people".

"It's like a child whose bicycle was taken forcefully away from him and then you say to the bully, 'no, no, no, share the bike together, don't be like that," she said at the time.

Morake said her bicycle analogy was meant to explain black pain and South Africa's transition from apartheid.

Morake has since received droves of hate mail from the station's listeners, who are predominantly Afrikaans-speaking. A Facebook page was started by listeners to garner support to boycott the station. In the past week, Morake shared messages on social media exposing threatening messages she has received since she started working on the show some three months ago.

"If I hated Afrikaners and it was who I was as a person why am I going to the one place where there is a concentration of them?" Tumi Morake
During the interview with HuffPost SA, Morake stressed that one cannot simply learn a language without learning the culture.

"I was acknowledging that this is a station that also celebrates the Afrikaans language and it is listened to by people with Afrikaans heritage. When I say Afrikaans heritage, that is not a colour -- that is a people, that is brown people, white people, black people.

"If I hated Afrikaners and it was who I was as a person, why am I going to the one place where there is a concentration of them?"

She said she was concerned about the silence on racial issues in South Africa and believed more dialogue was needed.

"We can't say we don't see colour, we call ourselves as a rainbow nation and the only reason a rainbow is beautiful [is] because of its separate colours that look good together."

When asked what she has learnt from the experience, Morake said: "I think people underestimated A -- my intelligence, and B -- my resilience."

The mother of three -- two sons and a daughter -- admitted that being a career mum can be quite daunting.

"I must say it's a juggling act that is supported by family."

The passionate Morake delved into how she wants to bring up her children the way her mother raised her.

"My boys need to see what a strong woman is. I want them to be attracted to self-made people, who are fearless, who are hard-working... I want my daughter to go out there and go, 'I can get it'."

"In terms of finances, they must go out and make their [own] money, they are not going to eat my money, I'm earning so I can live a nice life."

She praised her husband, her in-laws and a live-in nanny for assisting in bringing up the children and ensuring their safety.

Morake also has her own television show called WTFTumi and has starred in drama series including The Queen and Rockville, as well as other movies.

When asked about her future plans, she jokingly revealed the possibility of a writing a book.

"After all of this, it might culminate in a book, with excellent grammar."