Poetry

Poetry

Pandemic poem

To the best of our knowledge, this is originally an English poem that some thought was written during the 1918 Pandemic (Spanish Flu), but which was written a century later. This poem began circulating among African language circles, during the COVID 19 Pandemic which began in 2019 or 2020, and a group decided to take on the responsibiity of translating it into the languages shown here.

English version

In the Time of Pandemic

African Language Versions

Gikuyu version

Translated in Gikuyu by Job Mwaura, Emily Kimani and Martin Muiruri

Na andu ni makindiirie mucii.
Magithoma mabùku na gutega matú
Makehurúka na makinogora mahindi
Magithondeka nyimbo na mithako ya ngerekano.
Magifundithia njira ingi cia uduire wao
Magikindiria…ki!
Magithikiriria mahoreire
Angi magiciria
Angi makihoya
Angi magitungana na cieruru ciao.
Na andu makiambia gukoruo na maciiria ngurani.
Na andu makihona.
Na, hatari na uhoti wa andu aria manaikara na njira cia urimu, ugwati, na kwaga kumaka na ngoro
Thii ikiambia kuhona
Thutha wa ugwati guthira, na andu kugomana ringi hamwe, magicakaya niundu wa maria matete na magithudura mutaratara mweru
Na guthondeka njira njeru Cia gutuura na kuhonia thii, kaimana o tauria oo mahonire.

Pulaar version

Translated into Pulaar by Dr. Sadibou Sow

Yimɓe njooɗii galleeji maɓɓe
Ɓe njaŋngi defte
Ɓe keɗii
Ɓe pooftii
Ɓe coftini ɓalli maɓɓe
Ɓe mbaɗi ñeeñal, ɓe piji
Ɓe ekkii ngonka kesa
Ɓe ndartii ɓe keɗii ko moƴƴi
Ɓee heen ina miijtoo, ɓee heen ina ñaagoo
ɓee heen ina kawra e beeli maɓɓe
Yimɓe puɗɗii waylude miijooji maɓɓe
Yimɓe celli

De yimɓe famɗuɓe kakillaaji
heewɓe bone ɓalwuɓe deedi njahi
Leydi ne fuɗɗii sellude
De bone oo iwi
Haa yimɓe kawriti
Ɓe cunii maayɓe maɓɓe

Ɓe mbayli jaɓɓal
Ɓe puɗɗii miijaade eɓɓooje kese
Ɓe tafi ngonka kesa
Ɓe cafri leydi haa ndi selli
Hono ɓe cellirnoo kam en e koye maɓɓe

Swahili version

Translated into Swahili by Dr. Ida Hadjivayanis

Na watu walitulia majumbani
wakasoma vitabu na kutega masikio
Wakapumzika na kunyoosha viungo
Wakaunda sanaa na michezo kuicheza
Wakajifunza njia mbadala za utu wao
Wakatulia tuli.
Wakisikiliza kwa makini.
Wengine walitafakari
Wengine walisali
Wengine walicheza
Wengine walikutana na vivuli vyao.
Na watu wakaanza kuwa na mawazo tofauti.
Na watu wakaponya.
Na, bila ya uwepo wa watu walioishi katika
Njia za zenye ujinga, hatari, kutojali na kukosa mioyo
Dunia ikaanza kuponya.
Na baada ya hatari kupita, na watu kuungana pamoja tena,
Walihuzunika kwa yote waliyopoteza, na kufanya chaguo mpya,
Na kuziota taswira mpya,
Na kuunda njia mpya za kuishi na kuiponya dunia, kabisa
Kama wao walivyoponyeka.

Wolof version

Translated into Wolof by Mor Gueye, Doctoral candidate and Wolof Instructor, University of Illinois at Urbana-champaign

Wéral (1869)

Nit ña faf jekki lëlu ca séeni kër
Faf di jàng i téeré, teg ca-y déglu
Faf di noppalu ak a tàggat séen yaram
Faf di sos ay xeeti fànn, boole ca-m po
Ñu doxe fa faf jàng xeeti nekkin yu yees
Teg ca faf ñépp taxaw, seetlu

Teg ca ñu tàmbali di gën a déglu ci-g teewlu
Ñenn ña dëkke xalaat
Ñeneen ña wëy di julli
Ñenn ña ca pecc ma
Ñeneen ña faf saafoonte ak séen takkandeer
Nit ña jekki tàmbali di xalaate ak anam wu bees
Teg ca ñu faf di wér

Teg ca suuf sa tamit tàmbali di wér
Ci wuute-g nit ña fa daan dund
Dundinu ñàkk-xam gu àndoon ak musiba
Suuf sa tàmbali di wér
Ci wuute-g nit ñu réer ña amulwoon yërmaande
Te ba musiba ma jàllee
Ba nit ña manatee gise ak a dajaloo
Ñoom ñépp a jooy séeni way-dem ya

Ca ginnaaw ba ñu faf amal tànneef yu yees
Teg ca ñuy gént a fent mébët yu yees
Nit ña mujj sos xeeti dundin yu yees
Faf sax mujj fajal suuf sa jàngoroom ba mu ni peleg
Na ñu wérewoon ca séen bopp ñoom

Arabic version

Translated into Arabic by Dr. Abdellateef Said of the Africa International University in Khartoum.

فاستراحوا و انصتوا
درسوا محتوى الطروس
فاستقاموا و اقسطوا

ريضوا الجسم رفهوا
ابدعوا اجمل الفنون
علموا النفس ان تعي
كيف تحيا و ان تكون

بعضهم امعن النظر
بعضهم اصغى و اعتبر
اطلق الذهن سابرا
غور باق و ما اندثر
انست روحه الى
روح إلف به السمر
هاجرا بادي النظر
فانجلى الشؤم و الكدر

بان عنا الجهلاء
ليس فينا اغبياء
ليس في الكون معتد
و الذي قلبه هواء
يا لسعدي و فرحتي
دب في العالم الشفاء

ثم أبنا بدمعنا
نبكي من ضمه الرفات
و ارتجعنا نفوسنا
بعد ان هزها الشتات
و ابتعثنا الرجا الذي
عد قبلا من الموات
غن يا خل غننا
خل ما أجمل الحياة

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