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A RED DEBATES WITH CHRISTIANS (poem) - Nontsizi Mgqwetho - South Africa - Poetry International

 
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Ingxoxo yo Mginwa ku Magqoboka!
Zip’ intombi zenu Izwi liyintoni.
Zigqibe lomhlaba zifuna ukwenda
Ziqeshe zindlwana zishweshwe utuli
Zibet’ onomtatsi kwa Tulandivile!

Onina balila amehlo azidudu
Kushiywa lusapo lumka bekangele
Beyala belila bengenakuviwa
Zintombi zemfundo nonyana bemfundo!

Kuzel’ intolongo kwapuk’ i Hovizi
Ngalamatshivela asezikolweni.
I Certifiketi zase Simnareni
Ziyinto yentsini ebukwa zi Jaji.

Onk’ amabhedengu asezikolweni
Onke namasela ase zikolweni
Onke namagqwira asezikolweni
Ningabokusikwa ndifung’ u Nontsizi.

Niko ngaku Tixo nasebuqabeni
Nigqobok’ emini kuhlwe nizincuka
Udlul’ u Mfundisi angakubulisi
Kodwa ngumalusi wemvu zika Tixo.

Sotinina tina xa bese njenjalo
Sibambe lipina kulo mpambampamba
Neratshi likuni nina magqoboka
Nambatis’ u Tixo ngengubo yengwenya.

Nina magqoboka ningodludla nazo
Nayek’ izik’ak’a nanxib’ ezomlungu.
Nite nzwi nendlebe butywala bomlungu
Kodwa yen’ umlungu akabudl’ obenu.

Ngemini zecawe nihamba ezindle
Nik’aba ibhola kunye ne tenise
Nigqishel’ ububi ngezwi lika Tixo
Nixak’ u Satana usinkwabalala.

Aninalutando aninayo nani
Kodwa nizibiza ngo Tixo wotando
Lonkolwana yenu yokusikohlisa
Mina ingangam ndiguqe ngedolo

Nakufika kuti tina bomaqaba
Tina sakunoja siti niyinyama.
Anditsho ukuti Izwi lika Tixo
Ukuteta kwalo akunanyaniso.

Camagu!
A RED DEBATES WITH CHRISTIANS
Where are your daughters? What do you say?
They crossed the land in search of marriage,
shamelessly shacked up with live-in lovers,
cavorted in dances with young men in New Clare.

With eyes of porridge their mothers bemoan
their absent children, who left them standing,
advising blank air and pleading in vain
with sons and daughters who’ve all been to school.

Jails crammed to capacity, courts jam-packed
with the learned products of school education;
the judges in charge just hoot in derision
at college certificates brandished by bums.

All our crooks are in school,
all our thieves are in school,
all our witches in school:
by Nontsizi, I swear you should all be expelled!

You wear red blankets in God’s very house,
you’re Christians by day, hyenas by night;
the pastor, the shepherd of God’s own flock,
scurries past you without a nod.

What do we make of this curious conduct?
Which voice do we choose from among this babble?
Pride is one of your Christian companions,
God wears a cloak of crocodile hide.

You Christians are suckers for every fad,
you cast off skin garments and dressed up like whites,
your ears are tinkling for white man’s booze,
but whites won’t touch a drop of yours.

Every Sunday you romp on the veld,
kicking a football, whacking a racquet,
clothing your shame in the name of God:
Satan’s struck dumb in amazement.

You’re bereft of love, bereft of all,
yet you proclaim a God of love:
that faith of yours stands just as tall
as I do down on my knees.

If you ever try to come near us again,
we Reds will roast you like meat.
But I’m not saying the word of God
is entirely barren of truth.

Peace!
 
 
 
 

Translator's Note: In Johannesburg, as her poetry makes abundantly clear, Nontsizi was a member of a women’s prayer union, a manyano, committed to campaigning against the lax morals of the city, especially as they affected young women. Although she is fond of rural imagery and often speaks as a red-blanketed traditionalist, Nontsizi’s poetry is distinctively urban, occasionally spiced with Zulu, English and Afrikaans words, recording earthquakes in Johannesburg, condemning blacks who ape white fashion and above all, expressing the manyano’s concerns, bemoaning the lax morals in the cities of the school-educated youth.