Mgogoto wa Leo

by M. M. Mulokozi

Mgogoto wa Leo Today’s Call to Action
(1) Mpendwa njoo karibu, tujitome kitaluni Mpendwa, come close, let’s plunge ourselves into the garden
Twende sambamba sawia, tutafute cha thamani And then let’s go along together, let’s look for something of value
Nipe moyo wa tabaka na ujasiri, mwandani Encourage me with bravery in the class struggle, my loving friend
Nami nikutunge koja la risasi kiunoni. So I may shape a wreath of bullets around your waist.
(2) Mpendwa songa karibu tushikane mikononi Mpendwa, come closer, so we may hold each other in our arms (lit. hold hands)
Kwa itikadi ya njaa tuungane msibani With the endurance of hunger (i.e. that comes from hunger) let us join together in misfortune
Kwa roho zenye uchungu tupiganie amani With pained hearts let us fight for peace
Na kitabu mfukoni, na bunduki mkononi. With a book in (our) pocket and a rifle in hand
(3) Mpendwa fanya haraka tuicheze ya zamani Mpendwa, hurry let us play the old games
Njaa yadai chakula, dhuluma yadai nini? Hunger demands food,  what does oppression demand?
Dawa ya wenye mitaji ni risasi matakoni! The cure for the capitalists is a bullet in the ass!
Faida gani kukawa: njaa haina lakini. What is the profit in delaying: hunger has no “but” (i.e. choice).
(4) Mpendwa u mkulima na jembelo mabegani Mpendwa, you are a farmer with your hoe on your shoulders
Ama mja wa ujira na nyundoyo mkononi Or a hired hand with your hammer in hand
Harufu ya jasho lako imeenea hewani The smell of your sweat wafts abroad in the air
Bali lini ya baruti itakwingia puani? But when will the (smell) of gunpowder fill your nose?
(5) Mpendwa u mwanamke mahabusu kitandani Mpendwa, you are a woman imprisoned in bed
Wanja mwororo shavuni na manukato mwilini Velvety rouge on your cheeks and perfume on your body
Acha hiyo sarakasi unaitwa kitaluni Stop playing around, you are being called to the garden
Tuicheze harakati ni mchezo wa zamani. Let’s bring into play the struggle, it’s an old game.
(6) Wapendwa njooni karibu tushikamane vitani Wapendwa, come close, let us unite in war
Peo la pendo ni busu — peo la chuki ni nini? The gift of love is a kiss — (but) what is the gift of hate?
Kumbukeni mgogoto wa leo na wa zamani Remember today’s call to action and that of long ago
Leo tufanye maasi: Haki hakina lakini! Today we must revolt: Justice has no “but”!
(7) Halafu kamata nyundo nami nishike plau Later on grab the hammer but for me I must take hold of the plow
Jilabisi salubeti nami nipe kisibau[1] Dress yourself with determination (?), as for me give me a vest
Tuporomoshe milima na kuwalima nyang’au Let us crumble the mountains and cultivate (train, educate) the beasts
Mbegu tutayoipanda watu hawatashahau! The seeds that we will plant people will not forget!

[1]The meaning of the word salubeti is not known for certain. The translation with an adverbial expression ‘with determination’ is a guess. It is likely an Arabic loan derived from the Arabic root /s-l-b/. See msalaba ‘cross’, masulubu ‘strenth, power’, sulubu ‘energy, resilience, difficulty’.

Summary

This poem is a call for revolution.  

DSCN2710-Fort Jesus door detail

Glossary

acha sarakasi [v. vp.] Stop playing around, quit doing tricks; see sarakasi circus (TJH). Acha hiyo sarakasi unaitwa kitaluni, Stop playing around; you are being called to the garden (M&K-ML5)
 cheza harakati [v. vp.]  Bring into play the struggle, start the struggle (TJH). Tuicheze harakati ni mchezo wa zamani, Let’s bring into play the struggle, it’s an old game (M&K-ML5).
fanya maasi [v. vp.] Rebel, revolt, take up arms (TJH). See maasi a revolt (FJ). Leo tufanye maasi: Haki hakina lakini, Today we must revolt: Justice has no “but” (M&K-ML6).
harakati [n. 9/10] Activity, agitation, effort, excitement, movement; operation; procedure, process; struggle (K&K). Juhudi zinazofanywa na watu kwa ajili ya kufikia Iengo fulani, pilikapilika, bidii, juhudi, jitihada, mtukutiko: ~ za ukombozi wa Afrika. 2. vitendo; mtukutiko wa mambo katika nchi, serikali n.k (KKS). Tuicheze harakati ni mchezo wa zamani, Let’s bring into play the struggle, it’s an old game (M&K-ML5).
itikadi [v. reflx.] Perseverance, endurance, strength; conviction; ideology (TJH). Faith, belief in a religion or tradition or customs handed down from father to son; (2) perseverance, effort (FJ). Imani katika jambo la dini na jinsi ya mapokezi yake; wanavyofuata; mwafaka wa kufuata jambo fulani, hasa la dini; fikira za kuaminika; imani. 2. mawazo fulani ambayo ni misingi ya nadharia za mfumo wa kisiasa au za kiuchumi (KKS). Kwa itikadi ya njaa tuungane msibani, With endurance of hunger (that comes from hunger) let us join together in misfortune (M&K-ML2).
jilabisi [v. reflx.] Dress oneself, clothe yourself (TJH). Jilabisi salubeti (?) nami nipe kisibau, Dress yourself with determination (?) as for me give me a vest (M&K-ML7).
kawa [v. i.] Tarry, linger, delay, loiter, take a long time, be behind time, be late (TJH). Faida gani kukawa: njaa haina lakini, What is the profit in delaying: hunger has no “but” (i.e. choice) (M&K-ML-3).
kisibau/vi- [n. 7/8] Waistcoat worn over a kanzu, vest (TJH). For additional detail see FJ. Jilabisi salubeti (?) nami nipe kisibau, Dress yourself with determination (?) as for me give me a vest (M&K-ML7).
 kitalu/vi-  [n. 7/8]  Garden, cultivated plot (TJH). A fence or wall either of stone or wood surrounding a yard, courtyard, or garden; (2) a walled or fenced-in enclosure, courtyard, or garden (FJ). Eneo dogo la ardhi linalopandwa mimea ya chakula; bustani. Pia kitaru (KKS). Mpendwa njoo karibu, tujitome kitaluni, Lover, come close, let’s plunge ourselves into the garden (M&K-ML1).
koja/ma- [n. 5/6] Wreath, garland, chaplet (TJH). Mtungo mrefu wa maua avishwao mtu kama zawadi au pambo (KKS). (1) a neck ornament, a ring with disks or coins attached worn round the neck (cf. koa, urembo); (2) a kind of metal pot (FJ). Nami nikutunge koja la risasi kiunoni, So I may shape a wreath of bullets around your waist (M&K-ML1).
maasi [n. 6] Disobedience, rebellion, mutiny , desertion, rebelliousness; see -asi revolt, rebel (FJ). Leo tufanye maasi: Haki hakina lakini, Today we must revolt: Justice has no “but” (M&K-ML6).
mgogoto/mi- [n. 3/4] Call to arms, a call to action, drum beat; see mbiu horn, traditional type of trumpet; used similarly: -piga mbiu make a proclamation. (TJH). See mgoto: sauti isikikanayo wakati kitu kinapogotana na kingine (KKS). Drumbeat, sound of drums, thundering noise, blasts of war; rumor, reputation (K&K). Kumbukeni mgogoto wa leo na wa zamani, Remember today’s call to action and that of long ago (M&K-ML6).
mtaji/mi- [n. 3/4] Wealth, capital (TJH). Mali iliyotumika kuanzishia biashara au kazi nyingine yoyote ya kuzalisha mali. 2. mali inayotumiwa katika shughuli za chama au shirika ambayo kwayo faida iliyopatikana hutegemea mali iliyokadiriwa. 3. komwe katika mchezo wa bao zinazomwezesha mchezaji kula komwe za mpinzani wake (KKS). Dawa ya wenye mitaji ni risasi matakoni, The cure for the capitalists is a bullet in the ass (M&K-ML3).
mwandani/w- [n. 1/2] Close friend, dear friend, intimate friend (TJH). Rafiki wa ndani ya moyo; rafiki wa kuaminika kupewa siri. Pengine mwendani (KKS). Nipe moyo wa tabaka na ujasiri, mwandani, Encourage me with bravery in the class struggle, my loving friend (M&K-ML1).
nyang’au/ma- [n. 5/6 an.] Wild person, beast, savage, brute (TJH). Mtu mwenye tabia ya kinyama; mtu asiyekuwa na tabia ya kiutu (KKS). Tuporomoshe milima na kuwalima nyang’au, Let us crumble the mountains and cultivate those beasts (M&K-ML7).
ororo [adj.] Wanja mwororo shavuni na manukato mwilini, Velvety rouge on your cheeks and perfume on your body (M&K-ML5).
poromosha [v. cs.] Knock down, cause to crumble, fall down (TJH). See –poromoa (FJ). Fanya mkusanyiko wa vitu vingi vianguke kwa mfululizo kutoka juu (KKS). Tuporomoshe milima na kuwalima nyang’au, Let us crumble the mountains and cultivate those beasts (M&K-ML7).
salubeti [adv.] Firmly, strongly, energetically; see Arabic loans with the root s-l-b: msalaba cross, sulubisha crucify; sulubu firmness, strength, vigor (TJH). Jilabisi salubeti nami nipe kisibau, Dress yourself with determination as for me give me a vest  (M&K-ML7).
sambamba [adv.] Parallel, along side, shoulder to shoulder, side by side (TJH). Iliyo ubavu kwa ubavu na bila ya kugusana: Magari yamefuatana sambamba; Mistari hii imechorwa (KKS). Twende sambamba sawia, tutafute cha thamani, And then let’s go along together, let’s look for something of value (M&K-ML1).
sarakasi [n. 9/10] Circus; see acha sarakasi quit playing around, stop the tricks (TJH). Circus (FJ). Acha hiyo sarakasi unaitwa kitaluni, Stop playing around; you are being called to the garden (M&K-ML5).
sawia [adv.] Then, at that time, just then, on the spot (TJH). Twende sambamba sawia, tutafute cha thamani, And then let’s go along together, let’s look for something of value (M&K-ML1).
songa [v. i.] Press, press together, press close, throng, meet in a mass; (2) close up by pressure, squeeze, contract, hem in; (3) act on (form, fashion) by pressing; and (4) fig. apply pressure to, urge, press, overwhelm (FJ). Mpendwa songa karibu tushikane mikononi, Mpendwa, squeeze close, so we may hold hands (M&K-ML2).
tabaka [n. 9/10] Social class, e.g. tabaka ya wafanyakazi ‘worker’s class, class struggle (TJH). Anything laid on another—and so lid, cover, lining (of a dress, &c.), layer, row, stratum, stage, story (of a house) (FJ). Nipe moyo wa tabaka na ujasiri, mwandani, Encourage me with bravery in the class struggle, my loving friend (M&K-ML1).
toma [v. tr.] Plunge in, throw into, thrust, sink (TJH). Thrust in, usu. with the Rf. kujitoma, to thrust oneself in, burst in (FJ). Mpendwa njoo karibu, tujitome kitaluni, Lover, come close, let’s plunge ourselves into the garden (M&K-ML1).
 wanja [n. 11/10] Rouge, eye make-up, make-up, cosmetics (TJH). Antimony, used by women to blacken the eyebrows, mostly imported from Arabia (FJ). Namna ya rangi…inayotumiwa aghalabu na wanawake kupaka machoni, usoni, mikononi au miguuni kuwa ni pambo (KKS). Wanja mwororo shavuni na manukato mwilini, Velvety rouge on your cheeks and perfume on your body (M&K-ML5).

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