Nkadime diphego

by Oliver Kgadime Matsepe (1932 – 1974)

Nkadime diphego nonyana ke fofe,
Tša mono ke khutše mogofe.
Ka diphego ke tle ke akgofe,
Meloko le melokwana le ofe le ofe
Mogwera ke kgone go mo hlola.
Nkadime molodi, ke na le mohola –
Mmopi wa rena go Mo fa disola
Tša dikopelo gore A se ke A re fola
Le ge go šaetša re le ba re boeletšago.
Nkadime pelo ya gago ye e bonatšago
Gore lehloyo go magageno ke le le go hlatšišago,
Ba ka baagelani e be ba ke ba kgotsišago,
Ka go ba thuša moo ba pategilego.
O tsena go ofe ngwako wo o kgethegilego
Dithapelong ke be yo le wena ke ilego?
Tlaa re boledišane ga ke yo ke go hloilego.
Afa malwetši a ke a go tlele
A rena e šetše e le motlele?
Ditoro afa e di go tepegele
Tša rena di re dira gore re hlabaela?
O alafša ke efe ngaka
Tša rena di re botša maaka?
Ya gago nthomele ka lenaka
E tle e ntlhabele go lefa ga ke sa nyaka.
Ye mekae ke ye o e phelago mengwaga
Rena re boloka ngwaga ka ngwaga?

Tlala ye e re hlorišago ka nywaga
Afa ga geno e ntshe le monongwana?
Wa gago moloi ke sepekwa,
Ba rena ga re sa ba pekwa,
Go ba bala ke tšhaba go bekwa—
Leina la motho ke kgomo ge go sekwa.
Nkadime diphego nago ke fofe,
Manopi le ditšie re je mogofe.
Nkadime diphego nonyana ke fofe,
Ke Mo nyake ke Mo fe
A ka mabothata ke na le wena.
Ka ge diphego e le tša wena
Re tla thoma ka sepekwa go begela Yena –
Bahloriši ba ka ke ba begele Yena.

Wo mobose mmolelo ge o fela
Ka thapelo ke moo re tlago go fela
Mašoto a re wela –
A re khuname ke thome go rapela:
Mabothata go Wena re a kgafela,
Mašoto ka ona O tla re tšhela.
Baagelani dinaong tša Gago re a ba lahlela,
Mašoto a ba atišetšwe, re a kgopela.
Mmele le diaparo ge di tšhilafetše,
Go se tšwafe go di hlatswa re šetše;
Ditiro tša rena go Go nkela di šetše,
O se re lahle O re tswetše.
Ya rena megokgo O a e bona,
Gammogo diphokolo le tšona.
Tšwelapele ka wa Gago wona.
Wa go re šokela go leka O a re bona.
Tshelong ikele nonyana,
O monna, e sego mošemanyana.
O re kwele rena ditšhuana,
Go fedile re ka amologana.


Borrow me your Wings (Nkadime diphego)

Translated from Sepedi by David wa Maahlamela and Antjie Krog

Borrow me your wings, bird, I want to fly,
I want to rest away from this crowd.
With your wings, oh I will be swift!
I will sidestep relatives and distant relatives
people from here and there
I’d rather be with a friend…
Borrow me your song, bird
I have a use for it –
because to our creator I have a complaint –
but I will pour it in your song so that it can never be mown off.
We are dancing but we are repeatedly out of rhythm.
Borrow me your heart, bird which I can see through.
Your anger towards us makes you vomit.
I want to learn from you how to greet my neighbours,
assist them when they are burdened.
So where is the holy place that you go to, bird?
Where do you pray, so that I can join you?
Come so we can talk – I’m not the one who hates you.
Do illnesses ever visit you?
Ours is a permanent visitor.
Do your dreams ever lean on you?
Ours keep us sleepless.
Which doctor cures you?
Because ours are lying to us.
Send me your doctor with a horn
so that it can cut me so I can stop paying.
How many years do you live?
As we bury year by year.

Hunger is bullying us every season –
Is this happening in your place too?
Your witch is a falcon,
ours is a hawk,
I fear to be cleaved when I reveal them –
in a trial a human name is a cow.
Borrow me wings so that I can fly with you,
a honeyed sisal flower and locusts in large numbers.
Borrow me wings, bird, so that I can fly,
seek Him and bring to Him
my tribulations in your presence.
Because the wings are yours
we will start by reporting your falcon –
so I can report my troubling hawk.

When an elegant talk ends
we will close with a prayer
blessings fall on you –
let us kneel so that I can start to pray:
The mother of Trouble we will give to you as a sacrifice,
blessings will be showered on us.
We give our neighbours your feet so go there also,
let the blessings be extended, we plead.
When your body and clothes are dirty,
we are already shedding any laziness to wash;
our deeds are already glorifying You,
don’t throw us away, don’t spit us out.
The tears of us You already see
our sufferings too.
Continue with Your caring.
Show your caring through mercy, You see us.
Go foraging dearest bird,
You are a man, not a boy.
Feel for us, us orphans,
it is over, let us unclutch.

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Posted in Poetry
Myesha Jenkins – Tribute

Botsotso would like to pay homage to Myesha Jenkins, the poet and promoter of poetry who died on Saturday, 05 September 2020. Myesha was a founder member of Feelah Sistah, the all-woman poetry group that in its time made such an impact. Thereafter, she was indefatigable in organising and strengthening poetry platforms on radio and for live performance/readings. Myesha’s work was included in two Botsotso productions – the anthology Isis X and the recording Roots and Branches. Her spirit as a politically conscious, jazz-loving artist lives on and is well expressed in her seminal poem Autobiography which was included in both these projects.

Click here to read Autobiography, a poem by Myesha Jenkins.

A Call for Submissions: Johannesburg in Poetry