Poetry

POEM: My Hair | Meriri ya ka (Sepedi)

NOZIPHO MADLALA 

TRANSLATED BY: HUNADI SEABELA & TŠHEGOFATSHO MABUTLA

Scroll down for English version 




Menwananyana ya boleta 

E ngwathega fela 

Ge e tsenatsena 

Sehlopeng sa go buša sa maZulu.

E kgobokane,

E otsetše

Hlogong ya ka.

Afrika e kopana ka 

 Mphiri o tee

Hlogong ya ka.
Meriri ya ka.

Lentšu la kganetšo,

La go roba mošidi

Ge letlalo la ka 

Le sa lekanela

Melawana ya 

Go ka nthoba.
Meriri ya ka;

Boikgantšho.

Gare ga dikgoro tša lena tša kgatelelo,

Le tliša ntwa ya dihlare

Meriring ya ka

Ge mesela 

Ya dipere e paletšwe

Go nkemela legatong.
Moriri wa ka;

Letago la go lakalela

 La di kgošigadi,

Bjang bja naga 

Bja go phohlamiša

Thutompe

Ya ngwana wa Afrika

O tla fetša

O adimile tsebe.
Meriri ya ka;

Mphaphahlogo,

Go rwala ke tseba ka noše,

Mmušo wa go ipuša

Ka tlase ga pušo ya ka.

Meriri ya ka;

Boikgantšho bja ka,

Letago la ka.

English Version 

My Hair

plastic fingers break

while passing through

the great Zulu army

curled up

in slumber

on my scalp

africa stands

in steel-bending unity

on my head

 

my hair

the voice of the anti

that broke pencil lead

when my skin

wasn’t enough

for the system

to break me

 

my hair

a triggering statement

in your corporate corridor

you started a chemical

warfare

against my hair

when the tails

of horses couldn’t

replace me

 

my hair

the dreaded glory

of nubian queens

the wild bush

that interrupted the

miseducation of

the African child

and you finally

listened

 

my hair

the crown that

only I know how to wear

a rebellious queendom

that only I can rule

my hair

my pride

my glory

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