Tag Archives: Swahili

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 Continue reading

Puzzles in Swahili – my new blog: Kitendawili? Tega!

sayari ya maneno – from kitendawili.mtega.com

I have a new blog – Kitendawili? Tega!

I’m a big fan of puzzles – crosswords, riddles, mathematical puzzles, mind-games and more. I need to sharpen my writing skills in Swahili. And I think there might just be an audience in East Africa for puzzles in Swahili. So the new blog is dedicated to exactly that: sharing (and occasionally creating) puzzles in Swahili.

There are four puzzles there to get things started, and more will be added every couple of weeks.

The first two should be solvable with a little effort, the third is more of a challenge, but the last is a doddle: Continue reading

Je, kuna usawa Afrika Mashariki? Au la? Utajiri, umaskini na usawa ndani ya Kenya, Tanzania na Uganda

(A Swahili translation of the video I produced last week on wealth and inequality in East Africa.)

Je, kuna usawa Afrika Mashariki? Au la?

Nimechambua takwimu zinazohusu utajiri, umaskini na usawa ndani ya Kenya, Tanzania na Uganda, kutoka World Wealth Databook (2013) ya Credit Suisse na jarida la Forbes Magazine “Matajiri 50 wa Afrika”.

Kwa maelezo zaidi, hasa kuhusu takwimu zilizomo kwenye video, soma hapa.


Chart of the week #17: Tanzania exports far more to SADC than to the EAC

The Daily News had an interesting economic headline earlier this week: Tanzania’s exports to SADC countries soars. According to the article, 29% of Tanzania’s exports go to countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), while only 10% go to East African Community (EAC) countries.

It’s based on new data from the Bank of Tanzania, published in their Financial Stability Report and Quarterly Economic Bulletin.

The article itself got in a bit of a mess, confusing economic growth rates with growth in trade. Nevertheless, the basic point is still interesting: Tanzania exports nearly three times as much to SADC countries as to EAC countries.

Perhaps, therefore, Tanzania should worry less about getting East African integration right, and focus more on its southern neighbours instead? Continue reading

Lost in translation: Swahili keeps the outrageous below the radar?

A language barrier?

A language barrier?

Tanzania is going through interesting times at the moment, even more so than usual. The political scene is hot, messy and ugly – the rise of Chadema as a meaningful opposition and the forthcoming retirement of President Kikwete in two years time is a fiery combination. Geopolitical shifts are apparently being fought out in Tanzania as fiercely as anywhere – with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit being swiftly followed by no less a figure than Barack Obama. And it’s all being powered by gas, with Tanzania having the dubious honour of joining the club of energy rich nations.

The media is doing a pretty decent job (in trying circumstances) of chronicling all of this, not least The East African‘s excellent pair of Tanzanian columnists – Jenerali Ulimwengu and Elsie Eyakuze. This week, they both addressed the recent blunt statement of the Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda, that those who cause trouble to the government will be beaten: “watapigwa tu”. (JU and EE).

These developments are undoubtedly interesting, and the columns well-argued, but it was a tangential paragraph in Jenerali’s piece that caught my attention:

“The Kiswahili medium has created for us Tanzanians an enclave in which we can evolve without too much world attention, especially since we ceased being opinion leaders in African and world affairs. It is thus that a lot of what is said and done that is outrageous stays below the radar, except in annual reports of rights organisations.” Continue reading