Are You Winning? or Howzit, Bru?

I’ve noticed something recently. It’s either a new trend in South Africa, or it’s like that new disorder or disease that you have never heard of until a friend gets it, and then suddenly it’s everywhere. Like Election Stress Disorder. See my video here to learn about that.

But I digress and I don’t want to think about the election while I write this (and await election results).

What I have noticed recently is a new greeting. A new way of saying hello. If you have spent any time in South Africa, you are familiar with the greeting “Howzit?” or the even more colloquial “Howzit, bru?”. The response is almost always the double use of “good.” You can’t just be “good.” You have to be “good, good“. Or maybe you have real insight and you know the Zulu greeting “Sawubona, unjani?” which means “I see you. How are you?” And you respond, “ngikhona, ngiyabonga” which means “I’m fine, thank you.”

But I have started hearing a new greeting that I kinda love.  I walked into a store recently and was greeted by the sales assistant with a gigantic, beautiful smile and a phrase that I had to ask her to repeat. “Are you winning?” she said with genuine concern. I was confused because I first thought the store was sponsoring a contest or game, but then I thought I was part of a Candid Camera situation (if you don’t recognize that show from before even I was born, goggle it.)

Gold and Black Trophy on Persons Hand

But then I realized she just wanted to know how I was doing. Was I winning? I thought about it for a minute while she looked at me patiently. I am healthy. I have a wonderful, fun, and healthy family. I have a happy relationship. I am writing more than ever and enjoying it. I have a comfy house to sleep in. I certainly have no shortage of food. If I answered with misplaced modesty, “No, I’m not winning,” it would sound churlish and ungrateful. So, with a matching gigantic smile, I looked at my new friend and said loudly…



I have been asked this question a few more times since then, and I happily respond “YES, I’M WINNING!” So my friends, today I ask you to think about all the things that are going right for you, all the things that a year ago wouldn’t have even registered on your radar, but this year seem like HUGE accomplishments. Think about all we have survived so far. Survived and grown stronger. So be prepared when someone greets you with a smile and a question, “Are you winning?”

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