Ya jiweni
(Of rock and talk)

jiwe halitabiriki
jiwe halisalitiki
sisimizi na siafu hupapasapapasa
undani wake haugunduliki

hadithi ya jiwe halikamiliki
pambano lake halikomesheki
jiwe haliroweki
jiwe halikaushiki

jiwe halitikisiki
busara zake hazifilisiki
jiwe ni jiwe
lidumu jiwe, udumu ujiweni

~~~

Of rock and talk

(Ya jiweni[1])

The Rock is unpredictable
The Rock cannot be betrayed
Snakes and ants[2] grope it
its secret never uncovered

Rock stories are never finalized
Its struggle never stopped
The Rock can never be drenched
The Rock can never be drained

The Rock can’t be shaken
Its wisdom is never bankrupted
The Rock is the rock
Long live the Rock, long live Rockhood

November 15, 2017


  1. Ya Jiweni: This is in reference to a Swahili tradition of seating on pavement/corner places where people take their coffee and interact. Jiwe means a rock around and on which people lean and seat. This can loosely be translated as ‘street corners’ where people gather to pass time and discuss everything under the sun.
  2. Reference to informers who visit Kijiweni

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

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