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Posts Tagged ‘Poems about Africa’


Quite recently I’ve translated a poem written by Wayne Visser into Afrikaans. The poem can be found here with Wayne’s comments:

http://chessaleeinlondon.wordpress.com/2008/05/21/ek-weet-van-n-plek-in-afrika/

A couple of days ago, he asked me to translate this poem: “I am an African” into Afrikaans and I felt it was an honour to be asked by him to do it. I’ve tried my best, as all my Afrikaans-bloggers know I’m no expert in translations, but I do try to convey the “message” of the poem, but sometimes, specially when not asked to do a translation, I might want to change the poem slightly to what I like, although I will keep the overall “message”, like the poem written by Wordsworth…”I wandered lonely like a cloud.”  Wayne also understands Afrikaans. He liked my interpretation of Wordsworth’s poem and I felt happy that a professional poet could also view his opinion, as you would agree that you sometimes don’t know really if you do any poem justice by translating it. I’ve done some translations from Afrikaans to English too and if you want to read some poems of some of South Africa’s best poets…you can click on the page that says…”my poems-gedigte” and read a few there. You will find Eugene Marais’s poem…”The dance of the rain” and Totius’s poem…”oh the painful thought..” and some others too. I do like to write my own too, which you will find on that page too. I want to stress it out …that I’m no professional, so enjoy whatever you find here and there’s always poetry sites where you can find poems written by professionals! Today, Sunday 7th Sept 2008,  I had two people putting in “Is Wayne Visser an Afrikaans writer” in  a search and were directed to my blog…as far as I could see, he doesn’t write in Afrikaans, I couldn’t find any of his poems or works in Afrikaans, but he does understand the Language…he speaks Afrikaans too. I do hope this helps, you can contact him via his website address…link at the bottom of this post – and email him!

Image: DK-images…Langebaan, Cape Town

Ek is van Afrika

Ek is van Afrika
Nie omdat ek daar gebore is
Maar omdat my hart met Afrika klop
Ek is van Afrika
Nie omdat my gelaat donker is
Maar omdat Afrika my gedagtes omgrens
Ek is van Afrika
Nie omdat ek van haar leef
Maar omdat my siel tuis is – in Afrika

Wanneer Afrika oor haar kinders ween
Is my wange deur traandruppels deurweek
Wanneer Afrika haar voorvaders eer
Buig my hoof in respek daarheen
Wanneer Afrika oor haar slagoffers rou
Is my hande in gebed gevou
Wanneer Afrika haar oorwinnings vier
Dans ek op die maat van die oorwinningslied

Ek is van Afrika
Met haar asemrowende ylblou lugruimtes
Laat sy die toekoms skitterend skyn
Ek is van Afrika
Waar ek gegroet word asof familie
En ek ervaar die gevoel van meervoudig
Ek is van Afrika
Want haar wildheid bring vertroosting vir my siel
En bring my nader na die bron van Lewe

Wanneer Afrika-musiek in die wind weerklink                                     
Volg my polsslag die ritmiese klop                                  
En word ek een met die klank
Wanneer die Afrika-kleure in die son glinster
Verdrink my sintuie in haar reënboog
En is ek die natuur se pallet
Wanneer die Afrika-verhale om die vure op-klink
Volg my voete hul tydlose ‘wink
En is ek die spore van die verle’

Ek is van Afrika
Want sy’s die krip van geboorte
En troetel die oer-oue wysheid
Ek is van Afrika
Want sy leef in die skadu van die wêreld
En brand met ‘n gloeiende inspirasie
Ek is van Afrika
Want sy is die land van môre
En ek eer haar tydlose geskenke

©Nikita — 2nd September 2008

The English version:
 
I Am An African

I am an African
Not because I was born there
But because my heart beats with Africa’s
I am an African
Not because my skin is black
But because my mind is engaged by Africa
I am an African
Not because I live on its soil
But because my soul is at home in Africa

When Africa weeps for her children
My cheeks are stained with tears
When Africa honours her elders
My head is bowed in respect
When Africa mourns for her victims
My hands are joined in prayer
When Africa celebrates her triumphs
My feet are alive with dancing

I am an African
For her blue skies take my breath away
And my hope for the future is bright
I am an African
For her people greet me as family
And teach me the meaning of community
I am an African
For her wildness quenches my spirit
And brings me closer to the source of life

When the music of Africa beats in the wind
My blood pulses to its rhythm
And I become the essence of sound
When the colours of Africa dazzle in the sun
My senses drink in its rainbow
And I become the palette of nature
When the stories of Africa echo round the fire
My feet walk in its pathways
And I become the footprints of history

I am an African
Because she is the cradle of our birth
And nurtures an ancient wisdom
I am an African
Because she lives in the world’s shadow
And bursts with a radiant luminosity
I am an African
Because she is the land of tomorrow
And I recognise her gifts as sacred

Copywright: Wayne Visser – 2005

Read more of his poetry at: www.waynevisser.com

Images: hotelsbible.com/travellog 19

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It’s been quite awhile since I’ve blogged poetry! I love poetry, as I said before…on this link here on my ..blogger-blog I once blogged one of Wayne’s poems and I want to blog it here too…as I do love South Africa –which is part of Africa…one secondary school child argued with me a few weeks ago about our country’s name..said that..there isn’t a “West Africa” as a country nor “East Africa” as a country, so how can I say that I am from South Africa and I say “South Africa” is a country! hehehe…Wayne visited my blogger blog-post and left me a message at that particular post…so let’s see if he will find this one too…lol! 
I came across Meggwilson’s blog where she says exactly what I’ve said so many times…even on my blog too….

As a native-speaking English person I know how much Afrikaans people are constantly ripped off by the English. Having a completely mixed up family I am also lucky to be completely bilingual. This all means that i have the best of both worlds, which I would like to share a bit of.

Afrikaans is an extremely expressive and descriptive language with words that can’t even possibly be translated into English…you can read it HERE ….


I’ve translated this poem of Wayne in Afrikaans on this link and you can also read Wayne’s comments about the translation on this link.

I know a place in Africa…
Inspiring poetry written by Wayne Visser,
a South African currently based in Nottingham, UK.

I know a place in Africa
Where I can feel the sun on my back
And the sand between my barefoot toes
Where I can hear the gulls on the breeze
And the waves crash on the endless shore

I know a place in Africa
Where the mountains touch the skies of blue
And the valleys shelter vines of green
Where the trees spread out a cloth of mauve
And the bushveld wears a coat of beige

I know a place in Africa
Where I can hear the voice of thunder gods
And watch their lightening spears thrown to earth
Where I can breathe the scent of rain clouds
And taste the sweet dew of dusty drops

This is the place of wildness
Of evolution and dinosaurs
Where life began and mankind first stood
Of living fossils and elephants
Where lions roar and springbok herds leap

This is the place of struggle
Of desert plains and thorn trees
Where pathways end and hunters track game
Of horizons and frontiers
Where journeys start and sunsets bleed red

This is the place of freedom
Of exploration and pioneers
Where darkness loomed and light saw us through
Of living legends and miracles
Where daybreak came and hope now shines bright

My heart is at home in Africa
Where the sound of drums beat in my chest
And the songs of time ring in my ears
Where the rainbow mist glows in my eyes
And the smiles of friends make me welcome

My mind is at ease in Africa
Where the people still live close to the soil
And the seasons mark my changing moods
Where the markets hustle with trading
And Creation keeps its own slow time

My soul is at peace in Africa
For her streams bring lifeblood to my veins
And her winds bring healing to my dreams
For when the tale of this land is told
Her destiny and mine are as one

© 2006 Wayne Visser

 

Image:flickr

I am an African…

This poem was written by Wayne Visser.

I am an African
Not because I was born there
But because my heart beats with Africa’s
I am an African
Not because my skin is black
But because my mind is engaged by Africa
I am an African
Not because I live on its soil
But because my soul is at home in Africa

When Africa weeps for her children
My cheeks are stained with tears
When Africa honours her elders
My head is bowed in respect
When Africa mourns for her victims
My hands are joined in prayer
When Africa celebrates her triumphs
My feet are alive with dancing

I am an African
For her blue skies take my breath away
And my hope for the future is bright
I am an African
For her people greet me as family
And teach me the meaning of community
I am an African
For her wildness quenches my spirit
And brings me closer to the source of life

When the music of Africa beats in the wind
My blood pulses to its rhythm
And I become the essence of music
When the colours of Africa dazzle in the sun
My senses drink in its rainbow
And I become the palette of nature
When the stories of Africa echo round the fire
My feet walk in its pathways
And I become the footprints of history

I am an African
Because she is the cradle of our birth
And nurtures an ancient wisdom
I am an African
Because she lives in the world’s shadow
And bursts with a radiant luminosity
I am an African
Because she is the land of tomorrow
And I recognise her gifts as sacred

© 2005 Wayne Visser


Please click
HERE to visit Wayne’s site.

On this image you can see Wayne…image from his site.

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Today…15th October 2008…I’ve received this msg from Wayne Visser…(see his poem and site in this entry too….(poem about Africa)…and if you’re interested in his request…then please contact him…he’s looking for people writing poems..but about Africa!

Hello again I thought I’d let you (and your lekker vriende) know that I’ve launched a “Poets of Africa” blog – http://poetsofafrica.blogspot.com/.Just email me on wayne@waynevisser.com and I will give permission for you to post. www.waynevisser.com

 Afrikaanse digters welkom!    
Kwa heri Wayne”
Links will open in a new window.

Today…21st March 2008… is World Poetry Day! I do love poems, I love to read poems and I like to write my own too. On my blog at the top you will now find a page saying…”My poems…gedigte”…a few of my own poems…also you will find a couple of English poems which I’ve translated from Afrikaans…beautiful poems…one from a famous writer/poet/scientist/naturalist…Eugene Marais…”The Dance of the Rain..” take a look and enjoy! also one by Totius…his little daughter died after being struck by lightning..in his arms and he wrote a poem about her…very sad poem….or you can read it  HERE …the link will open in a new window.
You can also read “The Dance of the Rain” on  THIS LINK it’s a very powerful/beautiful poem…full of metaphors…and read about Eugene Marais and the Rain Queen…on that link. The link will open in a new window.

enjoy…the Dance of the Rain!..originally in Afrikaans…”Die Dans van die Reën” by Eugene Marais. If you click on the page saying…”My Poems/gedigte”…you will find more of Wayne Visser’s poems also one which he has asked me to translate…and some of my own poems too, also the poem of the girl that was struck by lightning is to be found on that page. – see the top of my blog for the page-link and I’ve translated Wordsworth’s poem (from English to Afrikaans)…I wandered like a lonely cloud…


Image:tploy.com

The Dance of the Rain
Song of the violinist: Jan Konterdans
translated by:Nikita

The Dance of the Rain
Oh, the dance of our Sister!
First, over the hilltop she peeps stealthily
and her eyes are shy
and she laughs softly
From afar she begs with her one hand
her wrist-bands shimmering and her bead-work sparkling
softly she calls
She tells the wind about the dance
and she invites it, because the yard is spacious and the wedding large
The big game rush about the plains
they gather on the hilltop
their nostrils flared-up
and they swallow the wind
and they crouch to see her tracks in the sand
The small game, deep down under the floor, hear the rhythm of her feet
and they creep, come closer and sing softly
“Our Sister! Our Sister! You’ve come! You’ve come!”
and her bead-work shake,
and her copper wrist-bands shine in the disappearance of the sun
On her forehead, rests the eagle’s plume
She decends down from the hilltop
She spreads her ashened cloak with both arms
the breath of the wind disappears
Oh, the dance of our Sister!
©~~ Nikita

This next poem was written in Afrikaans by Ingrid Jonker and adapted by e.e. cummings…many of her wonderful poems were translated in English and other languages. I love her poems!

 

 

Image:johnfenzel.typepad.com
Somewhere I have never travelled – Iewers het ek nooit gereis nie
Ingrid Jonker
…..adapted by e.e. cummings
+
somewhere I have never travelled,
gladly beyond any experience,
your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which I cannot touch because they are too near
~~~~~
iewers het ek nooit gereis nie daardie groen verte
verby alle herinneringe jou oë dra hul stilte
in jou geringste gebaar is daar iets wat my omsluit
of wat ek nie durf aanraak nie iets te ná
~~~~
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though I have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself
as Spring opens(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose
~~~~
jou oë van landskappe sal my maklik blootlê
al het ek my hart gesluit soos twee hande
jy ontvou my keer op keer soos die lente
bedrewe en heimlik haar eerste roos
~~~~
or if your wish be to close me, I and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
~~~~
en as jy my sou verlaat geslote dan
sou my voorhoof sluit mooi en onmiddelik
soos die hart van ‘n blom sou droom
van ‘n wit sneeu wat alles oral bedek
~~~~
nothing which we are to perceive in this world
equals the power of intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
~~~~
niks wat ons in hierdie wêreld kan versin
ewenaar die krag van jou broosheid die tekstuur
van jou oë tref my die groen van sy veld
een bevestig die ewige en die vir altyd met elke sug
~~~~
(I do not know what it is about you that closes and opens;
only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
~~~~
ek weet nie wat dit is wat jou laat vou
en ontvou nie ek verstaan net êrens op my reise
die stem van jou oë is dieper as alle rose
nee nie eens die reën nie het sulke hande
On THIS LINK you can read more about Ingrid…a link to Wikipedia…there’s a Youtube-song to watch…Afrikaans song…one of Ingrid’s poems…and there’s another song to listen to! The link will open in a new window.
and….on
THIS LINK you can read more about e e cummings…the link will open in a new window.
If you’re a teacher THIS SITE is really a great site to use for poetry/literacy…try it- the link will open in a new window.

image:worldgolf.com/images/destinations/africa/southafrica.jpg
This next poem is written by Wayne Visser…you can read about him on THIS LINK …the link will open in a new window.

I know a place in Africa…
Inspiring poetry written by Wayne Visser,
a South African currently based in Nottingham, UK.
I know a place in Africa
Where I can feel the sun on my back
And the sand between my barefoot toes
Where I can hear the gulls on the breeze
And the waves crash on the endless shore

I know a place in Africa
Where the mountains touch the skies of blue
And the valleys shelter vines of green
Where the trees spread out a cloth of mauve
And the bushveld wears a coat of beige

I know a place in Africa
Where I can hear the voice of thunder gods
And watch their lightening spears thrown to earth
Where I can breathe the scent of rain clouds
And taste the sweet dew of dusty drops

This is the place of wildness
Of evolution and dinosaurs
Where life began and mankind first stood
Of living fossils and elephants
Where lions roar and springbok herds leap

This is the place of struggle
Of desert plains and thorn trees
Where pathways end and hunters track game
Of horizons and frontiers
Where journeys start and sunsets bleed red

This is the place of freedom
Of exploration and pioneers
Where darkness loomed and light saw us through
Of living legends and miracles
Where daybreak came and hope now shines bright

My heart is at home in Africa
Where the sound of drums beat in my chest
And the songs of time ring in my ears
Where the rainbow mist glows in my eyes
And the smiles of friends make me welcome

My mind is at ease in Africa
Where the people still live close to the soil
And the seasons mark my changing moods
Where the markets hustle with trading
And Creation keeps its own slow time

My soul is at peace in Africa
For her streams bring lifeblood to my veins
And her winds bring healing to my dreams
For when the tale of this land is told
Her destiny and mine are as one

© 2006 Wayne Visser

Enjoy this next poem by Edgar..Poe!

Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Edgar Allan Poe


Image…http://project1.caryacademy.org
 

The next poem…by Ingrid Jonker…
The Child
The child is not dead
The child lifts his fists against his mother
Who shouts Africa ! shouts the breath
Of freedom and the veld
In the locations of the cordoned heart
~~~
The child lifts his fists against his father
in the march of the generations
who shouts Africa ! shout the breath
of righteousness and blood
in the streets of his embattled pride
~~~
The child is not dead not at Langa
nor at Nyanga not at Orlando
nor at Sharpeville
nor at the police station at Philippi
where he lies with a bullet through his brain
~~~
The child is the dark shadow of the soldiers
on guard with rifles Saracens and batons
the child is present at all assemblies and law-givings
the child peers through the windows of houses and into the hearts of mothers
this child who just wanted to play in the sun at Nyanga is everywhere
the child grown to a man treks through all Africa
the child grown into a giant journeys through the whole world
Without a pass

 

Ingrid Jonker March 1960
(Translation of: “Die Kind” ) Poems now owned by Simone Jonker…daughter of Ingrid

On THIS LINK you can see podcast-videos of her poems in both Afrikaans/English…worth visiting! The link will open in a new window.


Image: http://farm1.static.flickr.com

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