Siigigizi, sitanii
(Neither acting nor joking)

Response from Ndimara Tegambwage

Nimekusikia wetu Profu
Issa wetu wa Mlimani
Naona umefundisha
Maprofu wakanukuu
Wanafunzi wakakariri
Na vimbweneleni vikaigiza;
Ni utamu wa sanaa!

Bali natatizwa na “karibu”
Kwani niko kwangu eti
Sijabanduka makwetu;
Nijuavyo mie Issa unatania
Ndani ya utamu wa sanaa

Eti karibu katika Ukamaradi!
Liko wapi “daftari” letu
Issa, lile la Makamaradi
Tuone hata taratibu –
Kwamba waweza kuvaa na kuvua
Waweza kutoka na kuingia
Waweza kutii na kuasi.
Aka! umeingiza utani
Bali ni utamu wa sanaa.

Ukamaradi nijuao
Ni ule wa kuthubutu,
Ule wa nadharia zetu
Kujaribiwa kwa vitendo,
Ule wa kuvinjari mapana
Na marefu kuyasahili
Ule wa kubuni mbinu mpya
Nadharia kongwe kuacha.
Ule wa vitendo
Kwa mazingira yaliyopo
Na siyo ya kufikirika.
Hakuna mwingine nijuao
Hakuna mwingine niliomo!

Issa mbona umesahau
Na mwanya kutoa
Vimbweneleni kushangilia?

Sibandiki sibandui mie
Siigizi asilani
Akili inavyochambua
Mtima unavyorindima
Natamka sitanii
Na matapishi mie sili.
Mnamo utamu wa sanaa
Na asimame shahidi
Na hatakuwa shujaa
Kauli hii kurarua:
Silii ninapocheka
Sicheki ninapolia;
Sitanii nisutapo
Wangu mtima thabiti!

Sijuti, siombolezi
Ndani ya langu shairi
Na hiyo tamaa sikati
Asilani siwezi.

Nikate tamaa?
Vipande vingapi na
Nani nimgee?
Kama hapendi je?
Nikate tamaa ya uhuru?
Tamaa ya ukweli?
Tamaa ya kuishi?
Nijizike mapema?

Katu tamaa sikati
Hata ndani ya sanaa.

Lakini Gwandumi, je?
Yawezekana wote waona
Kama yangu akili?
Kama hivyo ndivyo
Kuandika sithubutu;
Kama sivyo
Kuchokoza kazi yangu,
Kuelimisha jukumu langu
Kugegeza kazi yangu,
Kuhimiza kwa sanaa
Kazi nijuayo
Kazi nifanyayo.

Silolomi asilani
Na kunung’unika
Siyo yangu tabia.
Mao umetukumbusha:
“Penye ukandamizaji shurti
Pawepo uwezekano wa upinzani!”
(Wasiotaka hilo neno
Jiridhishe na Mkataa!)

~~~

Neither acting nor joking

Response from Ndimara Tegambwage

I have heard you our prof
Our Issa from the Hill
I observe, you have educated
Professors have quoted
Students have repeated
And the nincompoops have copied;
Such is the beauty of art!

Though I am pertrubed by the ’welcome’
Because I am at mine, you know
I have not left our home;
I maintain that Issa is joking
Within the beauty of art

Welcome to comradeship indeed!
Where is our ‚“register“,
Issa, the one of comrades
So we may carefully see —
That one can instal and deinstal
One can get in and get out
One can betray and obey
What! you tease
But such is the beauty of art.

The comradeship I know
Is the one that is daring,
Has the essence of our theories
Tested through trials,
That of celebrating the breath
And simplifying the length
That of designing new techniques
Forgetting older theories.
That of action
On what is of current
And not imaginary.
I know no other
I am in no other!

Issa have you forgotten
Gaped teeth smiles
Puppets cheering?

I am not temporal
I never pretend
What the mind gathers
My raw emotions
I utter in all seriousness
And I do not swallow vomit.
Where there is sweet art
May a witness stand
He won‘t be brave
By wretching this phrase:
I do not cry when I laugh
I do not laugh when I cry
I do not tease when I confront
My emotions are firm!

I do not regret, I do not lament
In my poem
And hope, I never give up
Never ever.

Tear up hope?
How? Into how many pieces?
And to whom each piece?
And if they do not like it?
Should I give up hope of freedom?
Real hope?
Hope of living?
So I bury myself early?

I would never give up hope
Even in art.

But what of Gwandumi?
Could all see
As my brain?
If that is thus
I will not dare write;
If not
Provoking is my job,
Educating my duty
Copying my job
Encouragement of art
The job I know
The job I do.

I never mutter
Nor complain
That is not my character.
Mao reminds us:
“where there is oppression there must be
The possibility of opposition!“
(Those who do not accept that phrase
Know that are just nay-sayers!)

Ndimara Tegambwage, 2003

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Poems for the Penniless Copyright © 2019 by Issa G Shivji. All Rights Reserved.

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