Swahili to English: Mtume wa Uongo General field: Art/Literary Detailed field: Poetry & Literature
Source text - Swahili Mtume wa Uongo
Mahmmoud Fall na ngozi yake yenye rangi ya shaba na namna yake ya kutembea haraka – ingawa sio haraka kama namna yake ya kutupa macho kama mwewe alitoka katika ukoo wa Kiislamu wa Kisenegali. Alifuata msemo wa babu zake uliosema, ‘kilicho changu ni changu lakini hakuna kinachosema hatuwezi kugawana chako’.
Yeye hakufanya kazi, au kwa kusema ukweli, hakupenda kujisulubisha na kazi. Watoto walipomwuliza kitundu, ‘Je, Mahmoud, kwa nini hakuna paka unakotoka?’ Aliwajibu, ‘Mimi sijui’. Ilikuwa njia yake ya kuepa kusema kwamba paka, kama yeye mwenywe, walipenda kulishwa bila kufanya chochote – ndio maana hawapo popote Senegal ya juu.
Ardhi ya huko ni kavu sana, na wakazi wa huko hutengeneza hema zao jioni na kuzibomoa alfajiri. Mnyama hawezi kuishi kwa kumtegemea binadamu kama binaadamu huyo ni mhamiaji. Vifananavyo, huambatana, inasemekana. Lakini hawa wawili huepukana. Na paka ye yote anayeonekana katika eneo hili ni kiumbe cha kusikitisha.
Mahmoud Fall, baada ya kuchoka kukaa bila kitu cha kufanya, na mifuko yake mitupu, aliamua kufunga safari kuelekea magharibi katika nchi ya ma Bilali. Kwa maoni yake, watu wenye ngozi nyeusi kama mpingo walikuwa chini yake, aliwaona kama waliofaa tu kazi ya kulinda harimu baada ya kuhasishwa ili kuondoa ugomvi juu ya ubaba.
Alipofika Senegal, Mahamoud Fall alibadilisha jina lake, akajiita Aidra, jina ambalo lilimfungulia milango popote alipokwenda. Alikubaliwa kila mahali kwa sababu ya heshima iliyokuja na cheo chake. Kwa sababu alisomea Kurani Mauritenia – jambo ambalo Wasenegali waliheshimu sana, alinufaika na ujuzi wake wa Kurani Takatifu, aliongoza sala na alizama katika dua zilizokuwa hazina mwisho.
Wakazi wa huko walishangaa sana na waliona heshima kubwa kuwa na kitikuu wake Sharifu Aidra kama Imamu wao. Kama mwenzake paka, Mahmoud alikunja mgongo kwa ajili ya sifa zote hizo. Kwa sababu alikuwa na kipeo cha sauti nzuri na nyororo, alikuwa na uwezo wa kuwafurahisha kwa nyimbo wale wote waliokuwa karibu naye. Alihakiskisha kwamba amebadilisha sauti na silabi kabla ya kuzisawazisha hapo mwishoni mwa kila ubeti. Aliutumia muda ulio kati ya sala tano za siku akikalia msala akisema na shanga yake.
Translation - English : The Fake Prophet
Mahmoud Fall, with his brass coloured skin and his way of walking hurriedly – although not as fast as the way he darted his eyes around like a hawk, came from a Senegalese Muslim clan. He followed his ancestors saying that “what’s mine is mine but nothing says we can’t share yours”.
He didn’t work, or to tell the truth he didn’t like to torture himself with work. When children openly asked him, “Mahmoud, why are there no cats where you come from?” he answered “I don’t know”. It was his way of avoiding to say that cats, like himself, wanted to be fed without doing anything – meaning that they were indeed nowhere to be found in upper Senegal.
The land there is parched and locals had the habit of pitching their tents in the evening and taking them down at dawn. An animal cannot live by depending on a human if that human is a nomad. It is said that those who look alike stick together. But these two avoided each other. And any cat in the area was a pitiful creature.
Mahmoud Fall, after tiring of his state of inactivity and his empty pockets, decided to complete his journey heading west towards the land of the Bilali. In his view, people with skin as dark as ebony were beneath him, he saw them merely as fit to guard after being castrated to remove any quarrels regarding paternity.
When he arrived in Senegal, Mahmoud Fall changed his name and called himself Aidra, a name that opened doors for him wherever he went. He was acknowledged everywhere because of the respect that came with his status. Because he had studied the Mauritanian Qur’an – which the Senegalese respected highly, he prospered from his knowledge of the sacred Qur’an, he led the prayers and sunk into endless recitals.
Locals there were deeply surprised and they observed a large amount of respect for having the great grandchild of Sharifu Aidra as their Imam. Much like his fellow cat, Mahmoud bowed down to all the praise. Because he had the power of a nice and soothing voice, he had the ability to please all those next to him with his song. He made sure he had changed the sound and syllable before he made them equal at the end of each verse. He used the time between the five prayers of the day to sit on the prayer carpet, reciting with his beads in hand.
Bachelor's degree - SOAS
Years of translation experience: 10. Registered at ProZ.com: Jan 2018.
Swahili to English (SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies - Univ. of London)) Swahili to French (SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies - Univ. of London)) Hausa to English (SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies - Univ. of London)) Hausa to French (SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies - Univ. of London))
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Freelance translator for 10 years, lifetime shared between East and West Africa has given me excellent command of both Hausa and Swahili, two major Lingua Francas on the continent. Specialising in African Languages but experience translating any combination of French/English/Dutch. Reliable and accurate, I also offer a sliding scale in the case of long term collaboration.