K’ongowea Yaugua

K’ongowea Yaugua Kongowea is Sick
(i) K’ongowea yaugua kwa kite na uuguzi, Kongowea is sick from suffering and disease
Kwa mambo kuyageua, kugeua mageuzi, From over-turning things, from turning them topsy-turvy
Rabi, Ngwaipa afua! Na kuiafu si kazi Lord, May God give it relief And providing relief (for Him) is not difficult
Kutanani wamaizi shauri jema mtende. Meet together, you smart ones, and come to a good decision.
   
(ii) Wamaizi kutanani, welewa wana wa Gongwa, Confer together, learned ones, you are most intelligent, you sons of Gongwa,
Wenye urembo na shani, waungwana wa kutunga, You men of beauty and splendor, free-born who respect themselves
Mwime na mikono t‘ani, muombe lenyi muwanga, Stand-up straight with your arms facing towards heaven, and pray for enlightenment (something possessing light)
Zisiwe nyoyo kuzinga, shauri jema mtende. So that your hearts may not waver, that you carry out a good plan.
Summary

Mombasa is hit with smallpox (Hichens 1940:16). Muyaka appeals to the elders to assemble and pray to God for deliverance.

Mohamed H. Abdulaziz translation:

(i) Kongowea is groaning with painful sickness

As a result of changing things, making them topsy-turvy,

May God cure it! This is no great matter (for Him)!

Meet you wise men to decide on the right course of action.

 

(ii) Meet you wise men, the discerning sons of Gongwa.

Full of splendour and dignity, free-born and self-respecting men

And raise your hands with fingers well outstretched to pray for something bright to happen

Never to change your minds, but to carry on doing what is right.

Glossary
afu [v. tr.] Save, deliver, pardon, preserve, cure (FJ) Rabi, Ngwaipa afua! Na kuiafu si kazi; Lord, May God give it relief! And providing relief (for Him) is not difficult (MY-KY1).
afua [n. 9/10] Relief (MHA). Deliverance from calamity, ill luck, disaster, etc.; preservation (FJ). Rabi, Ngwaipa afua! Na kuiafu si kazi; Lord, May God give it relief! And providing relief (for Him) is not difficult (MY-KY1).
elewa [v. i.] Be intelligent, understanding, quick-witted, perceptive (TJH). Wamaizi kutanani, welewa wana wa Gongwa; Confer together, learned ones, you are most intelligent, you sons of Gongwa (MY-KY2).
geuzi/ma- [n. 5/6] Reversal, rearrangement, reordering, changes, etc. (TJH). Topsy-turvy (MHA). That which causes change, alteration, shifting, turn, transformation; us. in pl. (FJ). See –geua. Kwa mambo kuyageua, kugeua mageuzi, From over-turning things, from turning them topsy-turvy (MY-KY1).
ima [v. i.] Stand upright, be erect, etc. (TJH). See wima upright position (FJ). Mwime na mikono t‘ani, muombe lenyi muwanga, Stand-up straight with your arms facing towards heaven, and pray for enlightenment (something possessing light) (MY-KY2).
kite [n. 7] Suffering, agony, strong emotion (TJH). Cries of pain (MHA). Passion, souffrance intime. -lia kwa kite pleurer avec passion, amèrement (Sx). K’ongowea yaugua kwa kite na uuguzi, Kongowea is sick from suffering and disease (MY-KY1).
mmaizi/wa- [n. 1/2] Learned, smart, educated, enlightened person, wise (TJH). Wise man (MHA). Qui discerne tout (Dieu); see –maizi distinguer, avoir le discernement; maizi Age de raison, de discretion (Sx). Kutanani wamaizi shauri jema mtende, Meet together, you smart ones, and come to a good decision (MY-KY2).
moyo /ny- [n. 3/10] Heart, etc.; ND nyoyo 10 :: SD mioyo 4 (TJH). Zisiwe nyoyo kuzinga, shauri jema mtende, So that your hearts may not waver, that you carry out a good plan (MY-KY2).
muwanga/mi- [n. 3/4] Light, illumination, brightness (TJH). See mwanga a light, shining, that which gives light (FJ). Mwime na mikono t‘ani, muombe lenyi muwanga, Stand-up straight with your arms facing towards heaven, and pray for enlightenment (something possessing light) (MY-KY2).
Ngwa [n. 1]  God (MHA). A contaction of Mungu+a used in prayers and curses: Ngwakujazi may God reward you; Ngwakupe may God give you (success). Ngwamlaani, may God condemn him (Sx). Rabi, Ngwaipa afua! Na kuiafu si kazi; Lord, May God give it relief! And providing relief (for Him) is not difficult (MY-KY1).
shani [n. 9/10] Splendor, grandeur, ornateness (TJH). Startling (rare, unlocked for) thing or occurrence, a wonder, novelty, a curiosity; an adventure, sudden mishap, accident (FJ). Wenye urembo na shani, waungwana wa kutunga, You men of beauty and splendor, free-born who respect themselves (MY-KY2).
tani [adv.] Upright, up, facing upwards (TJH). See St. juu (MHA). ND tani :: chani ‘in a supine position, upright’ (TJH; also FJ). Mwime na mikono t‘ani, muombe lenyi muwanga, Stand-up straight with your arms facing towards heaven, and pray for enlightenment (something possessing light) (MY-KY2).
tunga [v. tr.] Take care of, guard, watch out for, etc. (TJH). See –a kutunga self-respecting (MHA); i.e., of to care for one’s reputation (TJH). ND –tunga :: SD –chunga q.v. Wenye urembo na shani, waungwana wa kutunga, You men of beauty and splendor, free-born who respect themselves (MY-KY2).
uuguzi [n. 14] Illness, sickness, disease (TJH). See –ugua fall ill (FJ). K’ongowea yaugua kwa kite na uuguzi, Kongowea is sick from suffering and disease (MY-KY1).
zinga [v. i. & tr.] Go round, go about; (2) stroll, walk; (3) turn about, waver, change, chop, veer, e.g. of winds, change of mind, &c.; (4) turn round, roll round, coil, wind; (5) search; (6) loiter about aimlessly—and so with a bad object, i.e. go after women, solicit (FJ). Zisiwe nyoyo kuzinga, shauri jema mtende, So that your hearts may not waver, that you carry out a good plan (MY-KY2).

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Discovering Swahili Poetry