Birding: An Inspiration for Courtship

What do I know about birding? Very little, indeed! Still, since I have already entered the realm of birders in my last posting, I thought one additional flight wouldn’t possibly hurt.

However, to ensure that I don’t overstep on any boundaries, I will confine my flight to the courtship zone. This zone appeals to me for a number of reasons, but mostly because it gives me a rare insight into the minds of the men from my part of the world.

I come from a world where birding is an activity that is generally enjoyed by members of the opposite sex, especially those who have herded and cared for livestock as young boys. I suppose this can be explained by the fact that herding typically happens in the wild where mother nature happily provides her lessons while inspiring most of the entertainment for the lads. Naturally, I could be wrong to assume there is a connection between spending time in the wild and having an affinity for birding. But frankly, my experience as a “supposed bird” suggests otherwise.

During courtship, I have been enthralled by prose filled with awareness of nature (the environment including the birds) from those with herding experience. They have proven to have an ability to spin a mundane expression like “nonyana e ts’oaroa ka menoto”, which suggests that a bird is ‘captured’ by its legs, to flatter a star like Tina Turner and mortal like me.

Of course, given the magnificent legs of Tina (that apparently go on forever), the prose used would liken her to a mystical secretary bird — yet to be seen, even by twitchers of note. This mysticism, in my opinion, is possibly conveyed by a spirit of another bird that can satisfy a deep yearning for reciprocity. My guess would be a bird in the sparrow hawk family. Apparently if you ask really nicely, “seotsanyana, nkopele” 1 (sparrow hawk, flap your wings for me), it spreads its wings and hovers in the air as though to say: “happy to delight you”.

Unlike with Tina, for me attention would be on something else, perhaps the colour of my feathers (personality). The legs wouldn’t play much of a factor. The legs would be mere instruments for grabbing hold of me — or to be precise, my attention, so I don’t escape before considering the prospects of nestling the would-be beautiful babies that my suitor and I could have.

On this ‘nestling’ note, let me gracefully land and/or end my flight. I hope the view has been spectacular. And to a degree, I hope through my courtship experience(s) I have managed to provide a small insight into some aspects in my language and/or culture that I am yet to find the words to fully articulate ;-)!

  1. This comes from a traditional (folk) song, which was perhaps popularised by the late Sefatela at the turn of this century.

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