Kwenye shamba hilo kubwa asilani hakunyi mvuwa
Ni kwa mitilizi ya jasho langu ndiyo hunweshezewa
Kwenye shamba hilo kubwa sasa imeshaiva kahawa
Na bunize ni matone ya damu yangu niliyotowa
Ndipo mte ukatipuza
Buni hiyo itakaangwa buni hiyo itapondwapondwa
Buni hiyo itasagwa na buni hiyo itafyondwafyondwa
Bali itabaki nyeusi kama ngozi yangu Kibaruwa
Waulize ndege kwa nyimbo nyanana watutumbuizao
Iulize na mito kwa furaha maji itiririkao
Uulize na upepo mkali kwa ghadhabu uvumao –
Viulize: Nnani araukaye na mapema kuzitema mbuga na kuzilaza?
Viulize: Nnani akweaye minazi tangu kuchapo hadi lingiapo giza?
Viulize: Nnani abebeshwaye mizigo hadi maungo yakageuka shaza?
Halafuye hana faida moja apatayo wala malipo yanayotosheleza –
Isipokuwa kusundugwa na kutupiwa matambara na vyakula vilivyooza?Viulize: Nnani huyo ni nani!
Viulize: Nnani ayalimaye mashamba na kuyapaliliya?
Na mimea kochokocho ikajaa kwa uzito ikajinamiya?
Hatimaye nnani atajirikaye mali yakammiminikiya
Akaota na kitambi kama mja mzito wa miezi tisiya
Na akaongeza magari na wanawake kutoka na kuingiya?
Viulize: Nnani huyo ni nani!
Na hao ndege kwa nyimbo nyanana watutumbuizao
Nayo hiyo mito kwa furaha maji itiririkao
Na huo upepo mkali wenye ghadhabu uvumao
Vyote hivyo vitatu vitakujibu kwa umoja wao:
“Ni Kibaruwa Manamba ndiye mtendaji hayo!”
—Abdilatif Abdalla, 1980s, London
On that vast field it never rains
It’s with streams of my sweat that it is watered
And on that vast field the coffee trees are ready for harvesting
And the coffee beans are drops of my blood that I have shed
Enabling seedlings to sprout
Those coffee beans will be roasted, those coffee beans will be pounded
Those coffee beans will be sucked, those coffee beans will be ground
But they will remain black as the colour of my skin, the labourer
Ask the birds that serenade us with sweet songs
Ask the rivers that happily flow with water
Ask the strong wind that blows with fury
Ask them: who is the one who wakes early and clears the bush?
Ask them: who is it that climbs the coconut trees from daybreak to dusk?
Ask them: who is made to carry loads til his back is rough like coral?
And then he receives no benefit, nor is paid a fair wage
Only insulted and tossed tattered cloths and rotten food
Ask them: who is that?
Ask them: who is it that cultivates and weeds the fields?
And the plants fruiting so abundantly that they bend with the weight?
Finally, who gets rich with wealth pouring down upon him?
Developing a potbelly like a nine-month pregnancy?
Rotating through growing numbers of cars and women?
Ask them: who is that?
And those birds that serenade us with sweet songs
And those rivers that happily flow with water
And that strong wind that blows with fury
All those three will answer you in unison:
“It’s the indentured labourer who did all that!”
Translated into English by Kelly Askew and Abdilatif Abdalla