Wapo! The song that got rapper Nay wa Mitego locked up – A rough translation

Nay wa Mitego, on release from police custody

Tanzanian rapper, Nay wa Mitego was locked up on Sunday, for a song. He was released on Monday, after the intervention of President Magufuli and the new Minister of Information, Harrison Mwakyembe, and permission was given for the song to be played.

The President also offered some advice to revise the lyrics, and an invitation to meet and discuss how the song could be “improved”.

The BBC has more details, and this background context is also significant.

Here’s my rough translation, compiled with some assistance from others better qualified than myself. A word of warning though: much of the Swahili in the song is not to be found in any dictionary, so our translations and interpretations are open to challenge – I will happily make corrections if you point them out. And apologies that my translation has lost most of the (considerable) poetry of the original.

Wapo! (There are!), by Nay wa Mitego

What you plant today is what you will reap tomorrow
It’s been written that men must earn through sweat
I ask now who has seen tomorrow
Get moving and if you sleep you have nothing

Now is there still freedom of speech in this country? .
Don’t say something and find yourself tomorrow in Central [Police Station]

There are leaders smoking hash? There are!
I mean they make daft decisions? There are!
Those who miss Jakaya [former President Kikwete]? There are!
And those who are tired of being downtrodden? There are!
There are drug taking artists? There are!
And those who’ve lost their style? There are!

Ah, there are radio and tv stations
I see they’ve lost their cv’s [credibility].
There’s no freedom of the press nor reliable news
They twist everything out of fear of the government

Ah, I don’t believe the country can be run on whims
Politics out-performing music
Leaders competing for attention
Fighting for the front page, selling themselves in the press

I hear there are leaders with forged certificates? There are!
There are girls having sex with each other? There are!
There are men kept [by women]? There are!
I’ve not heard, what are you saying? There are!

There are stars selling themselves; There are!
Those who prefer celebrity gossip to work; There are!
And there are artists casting curses on each other; There are!
I’ve not heard, what are you saying?

A wise leader is open to advice
He/she takes on ideas puts pride aside
Sorry your excellency do you know Bashite? [Rumoured real name of Dar Regional Commissioner, Paul Makonda].
This is a new boil from Kolomije! [The village near Mwanza where Makonda / Bashite grew up]

It’s already ripe and the time has come
I’ll hand you the needle you need
A doctor doesn’t fear uncovering a wound
Aren’t you a doctor of boils, lance it, don’t be ashamed

To burst into people’s offices, [As Makonda did at Clouds] hey! So that’s someone’s job?
No problem my children let’s get to work
Bicycle-taxis; work; tuktuks; work
And restraining people is now also work?

I hear there are leaders with forged certificates? There are!
There are girls having sex with each other? There are!
There are men kept [by women]? There are!
I’ve not heard, what are you saying? There are!

The referee’s on their side, use your slingshot; Shoot!
War between a Masai and a Mang’ati [two tribes with fearsome reputations] Fire!
Pressure of sex in a time of Viagra; Aha!
I’ve no breath left, clinging to my shirt; Wow!

Ah, I don’t believe the country can be run on whims
Politics out-performing music
Leaders competing for attention
Fighting for the front page, selling themselves in the press

There are leaders smoking hash? There are!
I mean they make daft decisions [literally “gay” decisions]? There are!
Those who miss Jakaya [former President Kikwete]? There are!
And those who are tired of being downtrodden? There are!

I hear there are leaders with forged certificates? There are!
There are girls having sex with each other? There are!
There are men kept [by women]? There are!
I’ve not heard, what are you saying? There are!

Haha, who are you, now?
You don’t want to take advice or be criticised
You’ve been bewitched, you see yourself as Jesus’s relative
Eh hey hey oya, my children, hey
This time round you’ll be straightened out, my God
I see the madmen has been given the truncheon .

The referee’s on their side, use your slingshot
War between a Masai and a Mang’ati [two tribes with fearsome reputations].
Pressure of sex in a time of Viagra
I’ve no breath left, clinging to my shirt

Shoot!
Fire!
You’ll eat your own disdain

Free nation!


The original Swahili:

Unachopanda leo ndicho utachovuna kesho
Imeandikwa mwanaume kula kwa jasho
Najiuliza hivi ni nani kaiona kesho
Chapa mwendo na ukilala hauna chako

Hivi uhuru wa kuongea kwenye nchi hii bado upo?
usije kuongea vitu kesho ukajikuta central

Kuna viongozi wavuta bangi; Wapo!
Maana wanamaamuzi ya kise*; Wapo!
Waliommiss Jakaya; Wapo!
Na waliochoka kusoma namba; Wapo!
Kuna wasanii mateji; Wapo!
Na waliopoteza malinda; Wapo!

Ah, kuna redio na tv
Naona zimeshapoteza cv
Hakuna uhuru wa habari wala taarifa ya habari
Wanapindisha pindisha kuiogopa serikali

Ah, siamini nchi inaendeshwa kwa kiki
Siasa inafunika muziki
Viongozi wanashindana kuhit
Wanagombea front page wauze kwenye gazeti

Naskia kuna viongozi wamefoji vyeti; Wapo!
Kuna mademu wanasagana; Wapo!
Eti kuna vidume vinalelewa; Wapo!
Sijaskia mnasema; Wapo!

Kuna mastaa wanajiuza; Wapo!
Wapenda habari za udaku kuliko kazi; Wapo!
Eti kuna wasanii wanarogana; Wapo!
Sijaskia mnasema

Kiongozi mwenye busara anapokea ushauri
Anapokea mawazo haweki mbele kiburi
Samahani mheshimiwa hivi unamjua Bashite?
Hii ni jipu jipya kutoka Kolomije!

Limeshaiva na usaa limeshatunga
Nakukabidhi sindano ya kulidunga
Daktari haogopi kuvua kidonda
We si ni dokta wa majipu tumbua hakuna kuvunga

Kuvamia ofisi za watu he! Kumbe nayo ni kazi
Hakuna noma wanangu tupige kazi
bodaboda kazi; bajaji kazi
eti vipi kukaba nayo ni kazi?

Naskia kuna viongozi wamefoji vyeti; Wapo!
Kuna mademu wanasagana; Wapo!
Eti kuna vidume vinalelewa; Wapo!
Sijaskia mnasema; Wapo!

Refa ni wao, piga manati; Chapa!
Vita ya mmasai na mmang’ati; Fire!
Presha ya ngono na super shaft; Ahaa!
Pumzi imekata nashika shati; Skurubudii!

siamini nchi inaendeshwa kwa kiki
Siasa inafunika muziki
Viongozi wanashindana kuhit
Wanagombea front page wauza kwenye gazeti

Kuna viongozi wavuta bangi; Wapo!
Maana wanamaamuzi ya kise*; Wapo!
Waliommiss Jakaya; Wapo!
Na waliochoka kusoma namba; Wapo!

Naskia kuna viongozi wamefoji vyeti; Wapo!
Kuna mademu wanasagana; Wapo!
Eti kuna vidume vinalelewa; Wapo!
Sijaskia mnasema; Wapo!

Haha, ah we mtu gani sasa?
Hutaki kushauriwa hutaki kukosolewa
Umerogwa wewe unajiona ndugu yake na Jesu!
Eh hehee oya, wanangu eh
Round hii mtanyooka haki ya Mungu!
Naona kichaa kapewa rungu!

Refa ni wao, piga manati; Chapa!
Vita ya mmasai na mmang’ati; Fire!
Presha ya ngono na super shaft; Ahaa!
Pumzi imekata nashika shati

Chapa
Fire
Utakula jeuri yako; Ahaa!

Free nation!

One thought on “Wapo! The song that got rapper Nay wa Mitego locked up – A rough translation

  1. Jess

    shukran kwa tafasiri nzuri….
    You have been cursed….,you see yourself as jesus relatetive
    Iwe…
    You have been bewitched. …..

    curse is laana
    kurogwa is using magic power

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