Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

S.E.K. Mqhayi

AA! HAIL THE HERO OF BRITAIN!

When we greet him, we say: Steaming-body;
When we give him a pet name, we say: Burning-body;
When we talk in private we say: Scourge-body;
When the imbongi names him, he says: Thunderclap-busy-body.
We see you!

Let us assemble and observe properly!
Let us verify this man and compare him!
Let nations gather to ascertain: what kind of creature is he?
For he’s ugly, how will one get used to him?
Maybe he’s that huge ancient monster;
Hoisting himself up with the mighty noise of a whirlwind,
Living with five heads in a deep pool like Makhanda-mahlanu, –
Oh the snake is coming with big force;
Maybe its even Gilikankqo, –
Too big to be known by any lair.
Smoke rises from the body like a fireplace;
Flames shoots from the body like a fire;
Sparks are spit from the body like a come-and-go-steam engine;
Lightning flashes from the body as if it is the universe;
Yes, we see you!

Here comes the hero of Britain:
A descendent of the buffalo cow Victoria,
She who is godlike in the country of black people,
She who is wind-like, witch-like, and a war priestess.
Here he comes, the boy of George the Fifth;
From the royal main house he comes to meet men:
Dung-coloured one whose eyes shoot lightning,
If he stipstares you, you get blinded by the dazzle –
Dungcoloured man, impossible to describe,
Whose eyes glitter as if they have a life of their own –
Nobody can gaze at this calf of the wild beast,
Those who tried to assess him, collapsed.
Here comes the star of the oldest dung from the innermost depth of the kraal!
He comes with the necklace of rare multi-coloured beads;
He comes with red plumes for bravery;
He comes with the soft loin-cloth of the duiker lamb;
He comes smelling of scented herbs;
He comes with the perfume of chiefs;
He comes smelling of mint and the fragrant grass of plaited bangles;
He smells of aromatic shrubs and tambuti;
He walks the way a lion walks;
He walks neatly on his toes like a leopard!
We see you (indeed he is a philistine!)

Hail Great Britain!
The Empire on which the sun never sets;
What are we to do with this royal child?
What are we to do with the son of such a becoming chieftess?
Raise your voices, mountains of our country!
And you, rivers of home, speak out!
Waves of the sea, deliver him to us here, –
We want to have a good look and study him from head to toe!

A star with a tail once passed this way;
This man could possibly be following this star;
Looking for the comet that visited us.
It visited the people of Phalo, son of Tshiwo;
It visited the Zulu as well as the Sotho;
It visited the Swazi as well as the Tswana;
The comet made a pilgrimage to the brotherhood of Africa!
God rules and speaks the truth through his creation, –
He let times run quickly.

Hail, Sun-that-shines!
You have come to fetch that star!
Don’t you know that we are the nation that allocates the stars?
Over there is the morning star – the star of your people.
We bind ourselves together and hold on to the Pleiades, –
That is the star we care for, the plough star, the star of June, –
The star we count the years by, the years of manhood.

Hail, Great Britain –
You come with a bottle in the one hand and a Bible in the other;
You come with a preacher assisted by a soldier;
You come with gunpowder and bullets;
You come with cannons and guns-which-bend-like-knees.
Please forgive me o God, but whom should we obey?
Go past, Calf-of-the-big-animal,
Trasher-with-the-feet, trashing us for a long time already!
Come past us and go nicely back,
You who feast on the inheritance of my country.
Long live the King!
Enough about him, I have nothing to add!!
Like that star with the tail, I disappear!!

AA! ZWELIYAZUZA, ITSHAWE LASEBHILITANI!

AA! ZWELIYAZUZA, ITSHAWE LASEBHILITANI!

NguMzimb’ uyaqhuma elokubuliswa;
NguMzimb’ uyavutha elomteketiso;
NguZweliyazuz’ elibizwa ngasemva;
NguTshawuz’ imiban’ elibizwa yimbongi.
Sinnika!

Phumani nonke, nize kufanekisa!
Phumani, zizwe nonke, nize kufanekisa!
Sisilo sini n’ esi singaziwayo?
Singajongekiyo, singaqhelekiyo?
Yaz’ ithi kanti yile nabulele;
Isilokaz’ esikhulu seziziba;
Yaz’ ithi kanti ngulo Makhanda-mahlanu, –
Inyok’enkul’eza ngezivuthevuthe;
Yaz’ithi kanti ngulo Gilikankqo, –
Isil’esikhul’ esingaziwa mngxuma.
Le nt’umzimb’ uyaqhuma ngathi liziko;
Le nt’ umzimb’uyavutha ngathi lidangatye;
Le nt’ iqhuqhumb’iintlantshi ngathi nguSindiya-ndiya;
Le nt’ itshawuz’imibane ngathi sisibhaka-bhaka;
Sinnika!

Nalo lisiz’ iTshawe leBhilitani:
Inzala yenyathikaz’ uVitoliya,
Inkazan’ ebuThixorha kwizwe lakwaNtu,
Ebumoyarha, butolorha, bugqirharha.
Nants’ isiz’ inkwenkwe kaJoji wesihlanu;
Yez’ emadodeni inkwenkw’ akomkhulu:
Umdak’ oliso litshawuz’ imibane,
Lithi lakujezul’ ung’ ungáphanyaza –
Umdak’ osabuphotyo-butyatho,
Unga nganabomi wakuwondela –
Kok’ ithol’ erhamncw’ alondeleki,
Nabàkhe balinga bajub’ isiduli.
Yez’ inkwenkw’ omgquba yomthonyama!
Yez’ ixhom’ izindwe, yaxhom’ ugijo;
Yez’ ifak’ umnzunga, yafak’ iphunga;
Yez’ itsho ngezidanga nezidabane;
Yez’ itsho ngobumbejewu bobuhlalu;
Yez’ inobulawu nobuqholo;
Yez’ inetyeleba nezifikane;
Yez’ inomtho nomthombothi;
Yeza ngobungwe nobungwenyama;
Yeza bugcolocho buchoko-chokozo!
Sinnika, Lawundini!

Tarhu Bhilitan eNkulu!
Bhilitan’eNkul’engatshonelwa langa;
Siya kumthini-na lo mntwan’ oKumkani;
Siya kumthini-na lo mntwan’ omHlekazi;
Khaniphendule nani zintaba zezwe lethu!
Nani milambo yakowethu kha nithethe!
Maz’aselwandle kha nimthule kambe,-
Mthuleni maz’azelwandle!

Sikhe simbone, simjonge, simlozele;
Ibilapha nenkwenkwez’enomsila;
Angaba yen’ usekhondweni layo.
Ibize kwabakwaPhalo kaTshiwo;
Ibize kumaZulu kubeSuthu;
Ibize kumaswazi kubaTshwana;
Ibilundwendwe losapho lukaNtu!
Kub’uYehov’uThix’uyalawula,-
Uyathetha ngendalo yaKhe.

Uyawakhawulezis’amaxesh’aKhe!
Tarhu langa liyakhanya!
Uphuthum’inkwenkwezi yakowenu-na?
Thina singumz’owab’iinkwenkwez’ akowenu.
Simbambana ngeSilimela thina,-
Yona nkwenkwezi yokubal’iminyaka,-
Imyaka yobudoda, yobudoda

Hay’ kodw’ iBritan’ eNkulu –
Yeza nebhotile neBhayibhile;
Yeza nomfundis’ exhag’ ijoni;
Yeza nerhuluwa nesinandile;
Yeza nenkanunu nemfakadolo.
Tarhu, Bawo, sive yiphi na?
Gqithela phambili, Thol’ esilo,
Nyashaz’ ekad’ inyashaza!
Gqitha, uz’ ubuye kakuhle,
Ndlalifa yelakowethu.
Makadl’ ubom uKumkani!
Ndee ntsho-ntshobololo!!
Ngokwalaa nkwenkwezi yayinomsila!!
Close

AA! HAIL THE HERO OF BRITAIN!

When we greet him, we say: Steaming-body;
When we give him a pet name, we say: Burning-body;
When we talk in private we say: Scourge-body;
When the imbongi names him, he says: Thunderclap-busy-body.
We see you!

Let us assemble and observe properly!
Let us verify this man and compare him!
Let nations gather to ascertain: what kind of creature is he?
For he’s ugly, how will one get used to him?
Maybe he’s that huge ancient monster;
Hoisting himself up with the mighty noise of a whirlwind,
Living with five heads in a deep pool like Makhanda-mahlanu, –
Oh the snake is coming with big force;
Maybe its even Gilikankqo, –
Too big to be known by any lair.
Smoke rises from the body like a fireplace;
Flames shoots from the body like a fire;
Sparks are spit from the body like a come-and-go-steam engine;
Lightning flashes from the body as if it is the universe;
Yes, we see you!

Here comes the hero of Britain:
A descendent of the buffalo cow Victoria,
She who is godlike in the country of black people,
She who is wind-like, witch-like, and a war priestess.
Here he comes, the boy of George the Fifth;
From the royal main house he comes to meet men:
Dung-coloured one whose eyes shoot lightning,
If he stipstares you, you get blinded by the dazzle –
Dungcoloured man, impossible to describe,
Whose eyes glitter as if they have a life of their own –
Nobody can gaze at this calf of the wild beast,
Those who tried to assess him, collapsed.
Here comes the star of the oldest dung from the innermost depth of the kraal!
He comes with the necklace of rare multi-coloured beads;
He comes with red plumes for bravery;
He comes with the soft loin-cloth of the duiker lamb;
He comes smelling of scented herbs;
He comes with the perfume of chiefs;
He comes smelling of mint and the fragrant grass of plaited bangles;
He smells of aromatic shrubs and tambuti;
He walks the way a lion walks;
He walks neatly on his toes like a leopard!
We see you (indeed he is a philistine!)

Hail Great Britain!
The Empire on which the sun never sets;
What are we to do with this royal child?
What are we to do with the son of such a becoming chieftess?
Raise your voices, mountains of our country!
And you, rivers of home, speak out!
Waves of the sea, deliver him to us here, –
We want to have a good look and study him from head to toe!

A star with a tail once passed this way;
This man could possibly be following this star;
Looking for the comet that visited us.
It visited the people of Phalo, son of Tshiwo;
It visited the Zulu as well as the Sotho;
It visited the Swazi as well as the Tswana;
The comet made a pilgrimage to the brotherhood of Africa!
God rules and speaks the truth through his creation, –
He let times run quickly.

Hail, Sun-that-shines!
You have come to fetch that star!
Don’t you know that we are the nation that allocates the stars?
Over there is the morning star – the star of your people.
We bind ourselves together and hold on to the Pleiades, –
That is the star we care for, the plough star, the star of June, –
The star we count the years by, the years of manhood.

Hail, Great Britain –
You come with a bottle in the one hand and a Bible in the other;
You come with a preacher assisted by a soldier;
You come with gunpowder and bullets;
You come with cannons and guns-which-bend-like-knees.
Please forgive me o God, but whom should we obey?
Go past, Calf-of-the-big-animal,
Trasher-with-the-feet, trashing us for a long time already!
Come past us and go nicely back,
You who feast on the inheritance of my country.
Long live the King!
Enough about him, I have nothing to add!!
Like that star with the tail, I disappear!!

AA! HAIL THE HERO OF BRITAIN!

When we greet him, we say: Steaming-body;
When we give him a pet name, we say: Burning-body;
When we talk in private we say: Scourge-body;
When the imbongi names him, he says: Thunderclap-busy-body.
We see you!

Let us assemble and observe properly!
Let us verify this man and compare him!
Let nations gather to ascertain: what kind of creature is he?
For he’s ugly, how will one get used to him?
Maybe he’s that huge ancient monster;
Hoisting himself up with the mighty noise of a whirlwind,
Living with five heads in a deep pool like Makhanda-mahlanu, –
Oh the snake is coming with big force;
Maybe its even Gilikankqo, –
Too big to be known by any lair.
Smoke rises from the body like a fireplace;
Flames shoots from the body like a fire;
Sparks are spit from the body like a come-and-go-steam engine;
Lightning flashes from the body as if it is the universe;
Yes, we see you!

Here comes the hero of Britain:
A descendent of the buffalo cow Victoria,
She who is godlike in the country of black people,
She who is wind-like, witch-like, and a war priestess.
Here he comes, the boy of George the Fifth;
From the royal main house he comes to meet men:
Dung-coloured one whose eyes shoot lightning,
If he stipstares you, you get blinded by the dazzle –
Dungcoloured man, impossible to describe,
Whose eyes glitter as if they have a life of their own –
Nobody can gaze at this calf of the wild beast,
Those who tried to assess him, collapsed.
Here comes the star of the oldest dung from the innermost depth of the kraal!
He comes with the necklace of rare multi-coloured beads;
He comes with red plumes for bravery;
He comes with the soft loin-cloth of the duiker lamb;
He comes smelling of scented herbs;
He comes with the perfume of chiefs;
He comes smelling of mint and the fragrant grass of plaited bangles;
He smells of aromatic shrubs and tambuti;
He walks the way a lion walks;
He walks neatly on his toes like a leopard!
We see you (indeed he is a philistine!)

Hail Great Britain!
The Empire on which the sun never sets;
What are we to do with this royal child?
What are we to do with the son of such a becoming chieftess?
Raise your voices, mountains of our country!
And you, rivers of home, speak out!
Waves of the sea, deliver him to us here, –
We want to have a good look and study him from head to toe!

A star with a tail once passed this way;
This man could possibly be following this star;
Looking for the comet that visited us.
It visited the people of Phalo, son of Tshiwo;
It visited the Zulu as well as the Sotho;
It visited the Swazi as well as the Tswana;
The comet made a pilgrimage to the brotherhood of Africa!
God rules and speaks the truth through his creation, –
He let times run quickly.

Hail, Sun-that-shines!
You have come to fetch that star!
Don’t you know that we are the nation that allocates the stars?
Over there is the morning star – the star of your people.
We bind ourselves together and hold on to the Pleiades, –
That is the star we care for, the plough star, the star of June, –
The star we count the years by, the years of manhood.

Hail, Great Britain –
You come with a bottle in the one hand and a Bible in the other;
You come with a preacher assisted by a soldier;
You come with gunpowder and bullets;
You come with cannons and guns-which-bend-like-knees.
Please forgive me o God, but whom should we obey?
Go past, Calf-of-the-big-animal,
Trasher-with-the-feet, trashing us for a long time already!
Come past us and go nicely back,
You who feast on the inheritance of my country.
Long live the King!
Enough about him, I have nothing to add!!
Like that star with the tail, I disappear!!
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Literature Translation Institute of Korea
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