Beyond the languages I claim as my own
March 22, 2016 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Jalada, a pan-African writer's collective, has just published their first Translation issue. Thirty three writers from across fourteen African countries came together to create this work of art, an entire issue showcasing a previously unpublished story by Ngugi wa Thiong’o. (Previously)
Professor wa Thiong’o’s story; Ituĩka Rĩa Mũrũngarũ: Kana Kĩrĩa Gĩtũmaga Andũ Mathiĩ Marũngiĩ, was originally written in Kikuyu and then translated by the author into English as The Upright Revolution: Or Why Humans Walk Upright. In its many lessons, it is a reminder that we are one, and that in our togetherness we have the power to transform the future that we hope for ourselves. A majority of the translations are based on the English version, though a few Francophone writers used the French translation to translate into their own mother tongues. And the Somali translation was based on the Arabic translation.

The translations included in this issue include English, Ahmharic, Dholuo, Kamba, Lwisukha (Luhya), Kipsigis, Kinyarwanda, French, Arabic, Luganda, Kiswahili, Afrikaans, Hausa, Meru, Lingala, IsiZulu, Igbo, Ibibio, isiNdebele, XiTsonga, Nandi (Kalenjin), Rukiga, Bamanankan (bambara/mandingo), Lugbara, Lubukusu, Kimaragoli, Giriama, Sheng, Ewe, and Naija Langwej.
posted by infini (7 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
It's a lovely story, and this project is amazing. I'm waiting for a translation (and hopefully a reading) in my parent's native tongue, which I was too stubborn to learn from them when I was younger.
posted by sparklemotion at 3:21 PM on March 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wow, amazing indeed—there's even a recorded reading of the original story in Kikuyu. Thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 3:29 PM on March 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I recommend a look at the Naija Languej version.
posted by Segundus at 3:31 PM on March 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am so excited! He such an interesting writer and translation is so informative about how and what we communicate. I'm signed on for English, French and Hausa. I haven't read Hausa in 20 years. This seems like the perfect reason to take it back up.
posted by putzface_dickman at 3:33 PM on March 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

My Swahili professor in college had us read The River Between (in English). For our final project that semester, we had to choose a passage to translate from English to Swahili, and then write a paper about the process of translation, why we'd chosen that passage, and some additional research on the context of that passage in Gikuyu culture. It was one of those really transformative paper-writing experiences.

I'm excited to read this in French and English and give Swahili a try - and listen in Sheng! So cool. Thanks for the wonderful post, Infini!
posted by ChuraChura at 4:10 PM on March 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

I recommend a look at the Naija Languej version.

Man Utd in pidgin
posted by infini at 1:33 AM on March 23, 2016


“The moment we lost our languages was also the moment we lost our bodies, our gold, diamonds, copper, coffee, tea. The moment we accepted (or being made to accept) that we could not do things with our languages was the moment we accepted that we could not make things with our vast resources,” said the novelist and playwright.

Jalada is now planning to periodically publish a Translation Issue featuring a previously unpublished story, which it will ask writers and translators to translate into their own African language. Its ultimate goal is to translate each story into 2,000 African languages.

“Despite long-running conversations on the need for publishing in indigenous languages on the African continent over the past five decades, writing and translations remain minimal and the little that exists continues to rapidly decline,” said the writers’ collective. “There are millions of speakers in African languages and not many writers in African languages. Why? Can this be changed?”

posted by infini at 12:51 AM on March 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

« Older The Augustus Countdown   |   Sowing the seeds of (self)-love Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments