A conversation with Pilipili
Mulongoy, recorded November 14, 1979 at his daughter’s home, Cité KDL,
1. P …unaisha kufungula eh?
F: ndiyo: minafungula:
P: sasa tutasema nini?
F: tuseme: hapana/ haifai kusema kintu: hapana/ sasa
tunasumbulia: sawa vile nilisema: hh: pengine tunaanza
F: ulianza wapi: ulizalikwa wapi?
F: na ulitoka wapi? na: hii: siku ya: utoto yake:
P: ah bon/
F: kule mu pori: ao...?...
P: sasa iko inasema?
F: hapana na ile kintu/ unasema na mi: yee anaandika yote/ ndiyo/ anaandika yote/
P: aah bon...
F: paka tusumbulie/
P: mm [chuckles]...
F: tusumbulie sawa/
1. 1.P: ...have you turned on (the recorder)?
F: Yes, I turned it on.
P: Now, what are we going to say?
F: Let’s say -- no, the point is not to talk about a definite topic. We are having a conversation, as I said (before). If you like, maybe you can tell me a little bit about your life, right?
F: Where did you start, where you were born?
P: I see.
F: And where did you come from? About the days you were a child...
P: Ah, alright.
F: there, up-country (lit. in the bush). Or ...?...
P: Is it recording now? 
P: Should I talk?
F: But not to that thing. You talk to me, it records everything. Really. It records everything.
P: I see, fine.
F: Let’s just talk.
P: Mm [chuckles].
F: Let’s just have a chat.
2. P: mimi nilianza: mbele na...
F: ... na: [short interruption, addressing another person?] bon: ça va/ muzuri/
P: nilianza mbele: mina: kuya: [pauses] ah: kutoka Kongolo/
F: mu: eh: mugini Kongolo ao mu mugini mule?
P: mukini: territoire/ territoire/
F: [overlapping] ...?...territoire tu/
P: territoire ni Kongolo:
F: na mukini yake?
P: sasa: mukini ni Ngolo/
P: njo mule minazalika/
P: eh: alors: minatoka kule na mille neuf cent: quarante-sept/
F: mille neuf cent quarante-sept?
P: quarante-sept/ [corrects himself] kutoka ya quarante-quatre...?...
F: [overlapping] quarante-quatre?
P: oui/ ’44: minatoka Kongolo na mwezi wa kumi/
P: oui/ eh: banafanya mi matata: bwiko mbulamatari Belge: anasema hapana kwenda hivi hivi/ kiko hakuna hakuna manjila: hakuna sasa njila/ minasema no no/ inapasa minakwenda/
F: mu ’44?
P: mu ’44 eh/
F: maneno: maneno gani balifanya matata?
P: asema hakuna njila: ma: maneno Belge alikuwa nakatala kwa bantu: kutembeatembea: kuacha mikini yabo/
F: juu ya: hii matata ili: ilikuwa mu Luluabourg?
P: voilà: c’est ça/ ndiyo ile ile/
P: ni ile ile Belge alikuwa nakatala:
P: alors: sasa mi nilifanya nguvu yangu yote: minakuya: kubakia Kabalo: eh: inga mbili/ sasa: kutoka inga mbile Kabalo: minakamata njila ya mans/
F: ya mas?
P: aah/ minakuya na mansa:
F: masa: njo nini?
P: kubakia: njia ya Kamina/
P: mm/ kama ile: mans/ ile miotokari/
P: mamotokari ya mans: alors: ku: kufika pale Kamina/ eeeh: Kamina: minabakia: [pauses] nabakia deux jours: trois jours: minakamata baton: eh: courrier:
P: nakuya kufika hapa/
P: asema twiko hapa: mu le vingt: eh: le vingt-cinq:
P: mwezi wa kumi/ et puis: mina: [pauses] nakwenda ku TP/ kwenda kutumika ku TP/
F: njo ilika: ilikuwa kazi: ya....
P:...ya kwanza kufika hapa/
F: mm/ mm/
P: sasa: minabakia na TP: mwaka mbili: minasema: ts: haipendeze/ inapasa kufunda tu/
2. P: I began, first with...
F: ...with [short interruption, addressing another person?] fine, that’s alright. Fine.
P: I began first – I come [pauses] ah, I come from Kongolo.
F: From the town of
P: The town, or rather the district.
F: [overlapping] ...?... just the district.
P: The district was Kongolo.
F: And your village?
P: Now the village is (called) Ngolo.
P: That’s where I was born.
P: So, then I left there in 1947.
P: ’47 [corrects himself] – it was in ’44...?...
F: [overlapping] ’44?
P: Yes. In October ’44 I left Kongolo.
F: You did?
P: Yes. (However) the Belgian administration made trouble for me. (The official) said, you can’t just leave. There are no roads, at the moment there is no road (open). No way, I said, I have to go.
F: In ’44?
P: In ’44, yes.
F: What was it they made trouble about?
P: There was no road (open) because the Belgian(s) did not let people leave their villages and move around freely.
F: Because of the disturbances in Luluabourg?
P: There you are, that’s it. Yes, that’s what it was about.
F: I see.
P: That was why the Belgian(s) prohibited (travel).
P: So then I did everything I could and got as far as Kabalo where I stayed for two weeks. After two weeks I left Kabalo and took the mans road.
F: The mas?
P: Yes. I went by mansa.
F: Masa, what is that?
P: Staying on the road to Kamina.
P: Mm. Those mans (as they were called), those trucks.
F: I see
P: (Then) I arrived here.
F: (You mean) the train?
F: I see.
P: We got here on the twenty-fifth.
F: I see.
P: Of October. And then I [pauses], I went to TP, I went to work at TP.
F: That was the job...
P: ...the first job when I came to this place.
F: Mm. Mm.
P: Then, after I stayed with TP for two years I told myself, no, I don’t like that. I need to get an education.
3. P: c’est ça: ni mi ya kwenda kwa: Romain-Desfossés/ na yeye kutoka ku Ujumbura/ anatoka...
F: ... mu Ujumbura?
P: Ujumbura: kufika hapa/
F: alafu: zamani alitoka wapi?
P: zamani yee ni muzungu moya anabakia France/
P: alikuwa ku France: alikuwa ancien Française/ njo kusema: eh ja...
F: sawa mulofa?
P: ... ancien combattant/
P: eh: alitumika na militaire/
P: na sasa alikuwa pensionné: militaire Français: et puis alikuwa mu bateau ya mayi/ njo: baba yake alikuya paka kufia mule mu bateau/
P: eh: baba yake alikuwa kusairia tena:
P: alafu sasa: nduku yake: nayee alikuwa capitaine/
F: capitaine? [chuckles]
P: mm/ paka mu bateau/
P: alors: sasa: yee alikuwa kufunda dessinateur:
P: anadessiner anadessiner: et puis anasema non: minakwenda mu: Africaine/
F: mu Afrika?
P: ni kule alikamata: kufika Madagascar: eeeh....
P: oui/ mais: non/ [pauses and correct himself: ku nani? [long pause]
F: fasi ingene mu Afrique/ mu Algérie?
P: ni mu migini ya baFrançe:
P: mm/ ya baAfrika:
P: mm [searches]...
P: mu nani: ma: mm: Port Noir/
F: Port Noir?
P: kufika mu Port Noire: anabakia pale: et kiisha: njo kufika mu Tchade/
F: mu Tchade?
P: mu Tchade: et puis anabeba: mmm: boy yake Bela/ et puis:
F: ah Bela?
F: alikuwa boy yake mu Tchad?
P: c’est ça/
P: sasa ule boy yake: kufika naye na Brazzaville: et Brazzaville banakuwa
kuvuga Kinshasa: na ya Kinshasa: anakamata ile njila: anakwenda: mmm:
Sitalville [Stanleyville]/ Kisangani/
P: et puis alitoka Kisangani: et puis Bujumbura: Bujumbura: kufika huku/
3. P: So I decided to go to Romain-Desfossés. He had come from Ujumbura. He came from....
F: ...from Ujumbura?
P: Ujumbura. (From there) he came to this place.
F: But where was he from originally?
P: Originally he was a European
who lived in
F: I see.
P: He lived in France, a veteran of the French army. That is to say, he was....
F: Something like unemployed?
P: ...a veteran.
F: I see.
P: He had worked for the military.
P: So he retired from the French military and then he travelled on a ship. What happened was that his father had gone one board of that ship.
F: I see.
P: Yes, his father was helping out.
P: Now, his brother was also a captain.
F: A captain? [chuckles]
P: Mm, on a ship.
F: I see.
P: So then (Desfossés) studied to be a draftsman.
P: He kept drawing for a while
(but) then he told himself, no, I am going to
P: The route he took brought
P: Yes. No [pauses and corrects himself], where was it again? [long pause]
F: (Maybe) some other place in
P: It was a town under French rule.
P: Mm. (The French who were) in
P: Mm. [searches]
P: In -- what was it? Mm. Port Noir.
F: Port Noir?
F: I see.
P: When he got to Port Noir he
stayed there and then he (left and) arrived in
F: Ah, Bela?
F: He used to be (Desfossé’s)
P: That’s right.
F: I see.
P: After that, he reached
P: Then he left
4. sasa: anasema na mi asema minapenda: eh: élève moya: kwa kuya kubakia karibu na miye/ sawa kufanya waartistes peintres/
F: ahah/ na yee: yee alifundisha hii?
P: asema minasema niko d’accord: alafu minakuya mara moya: et puis: ananipa examen: na sawa ananipa examen/ ile examen: iko naleta: kamuzimu moya kanapika ngoma/ na papier...
F: ... muzimu?
P: eheh: ka: statue/
P: mm/ anaanza keko kanapika ngoma/
P: et puis: anasema nipa: ananipa crayon: ananipa: papier: eeh: crayons différents:
P: na sasa minaanza ku: kufanya: kutumika wee: inaisha: a: anaangaria asema iko muzuri/ et puis: ananipa tena ingine: ya mafleurs/
P: eheh/ ananipa maua asema: allez fanya bouquet de fleurs yote hii/ minafanya nafanya: yote inaisha: asema oh ça va/ eeh: sasa utatumika: utafunda na mi/ sawa akili yako iko karibu/
4. Then he told me, I’d like to have a student, one who stays close to me. (His idea was) to form painters.
F: I see. And that’s what he taught?
P: I said, I am willing. So I went there once and he gave me an exam. The exam he gave me was (to draw) a little muzimu beating a drum. On paper...
F: ... a muzimu?
P: Yes, a little figure.
F: I see.
P: Mm, one that is about to beat a drum.
P: So then he told me to draw, giving me a pencil, paper, different (color) pencils.
P: So I got started and kept working and when it was finished he look at it and said that it was beautiful. After that he gave me another (assignment), [in French] flowers.
P: Right. He gave me flowers (to draw), saying, go on, do that bouquet of flowers, of all of them. I kept working and when I finished everthing he said, oh, that’s fine. From now on you are going to work and study with me. You are almost there (lit. your intelligence is close).
5. P: et puis: minafanya: mu quarante [pauses] mu: cinquante-deux/ et puis: weee kufikisha mu quarante-deux: eh: quarante-sept: ni monsieur: magistrat wa Belges: Seigneur: alifika hapa: Charles/
P: ile: famille royale:
P: alifika hapa: alafu: exposition ya kwanza/ [claps]
P: eheh: ali...
F: ...alikuwa Prince?
P: iko Prince eeh/
P: iko Prince/ iko: ni kusema...
F: ...na ile wakati bali: baliyenga hii: théâtre:
P: c’est ça/
P: aah/ tulifanya siye ...?... exposition pake mule: eeeh: mule tunatoka sasa/
P: ile muko ile exposition ya: Berquin/
P: mm/ et puis tunafanya mule: anaangaria: anauza naaa: na tableau yangu ya passion/
P: anauza asema minaona passion
P: anauza mbili/
P: et puis kiisha: tunafanya
hii ...?...tuna: tunakwenda
F: uliisha kwenda kule?
P: oui/ ...?...
F: pamoya na Delafossés?
P: ...?...eeeh: na Saisbur: et puis:
P: eheh/ tunafika hapa: mu mwezi wa kenda/
5. P: So that’s what I did in ’40 [pauses], in ’52. Eventually we got to ’42, or rather ’47 when a Belgian dignitary came to this place, Charles.
P: That one, (a member of the) royal family.
P: He arrived here (and that was when) the first exposition (of our paintings) took place.
P: Yes, he...
F: ...was he a Prince?
P: He was a Prince, yes.
P: He was a Prince, that is to say...
F: ...at the time when this theater was built.
P: That’s it.
P: Yes. We put up on an exposition in there, in the place we just came from.
P: The place where there is an exposition of (the work) of Berquin (now).
F: I see.
P: Mm. So we did (that exposition) and (Prince Charles) looked at it and bought a painting of mine, one that shows the Passion (of Christ).
P: He bought it, saying, I see this is a very beautiful Passion. Yes. Then he also bought (paintings) of birds by Kabala.
P: He bought two of them.
P: After that we did this ...?... We went to
F: You have been there?
P: Yes. ...?...
F: Together with the Desfossés group?
P: ...?... on to “Saisbur” and then...
F: ... (you mean)
P: Right, we got back here in September.
6. et puis: kiisha: alikamata matableaux alituma: Kisasa: ...?...
P: na puis anafanya kaexposition kule: inaisha: et puis: anatuma tena ingine Kisasa: eeeh: inafanyika exposition: inarudia: banauza: anatuma tena ingine Luluabourg: wanauza: tena: Pape alisema: inapaswa: kuwa waartistes Congolais: alafu: wafanye hii concours/
F: Papa wa Roma?
P: eeeh: kufanya: toka: Bwana Yezu/ kufanya njia ya msalaba tuseme/
F: njia ya musalaba?
P: ah bon/ sasa ni kule tulifanya njia musalaba muzima: toka Bwana Yezu kuzalika: mupaka na kufa yake/
F: mwee mulifanya?
P: et puis: inapita ku Bruxelles: balisema: kama inapita [clears his throat] mu Rieze: iko na cinq pour cent/
P: kama inapenda mu Lieze: banaexposer:
P: bakuwa baLieze banaangaria asema oui/ il est bien/
B: alors: inapita mu: mu Bruxelles/
P: mu Bruxellles: utafanya quinze pour cent/
P: bon/ kama inakwenda mu Rome: ule kabisa atatoka premier: ni ule: Papa atamubariki/
P: na bulamatari ataweza kumusheria/
P: kusharia yee/
P: et puis: sasa: ile matableaux yote balituma/ eh: Romain-Desfossés ananiambia kama: déjà uko na: na: cinq pour cent/
P: mu Riez/ beko très contents ya oeuvre yako/
F: [overlapping] ...sisikie ile:
P: mu Rieze: njo kusema mu Bruxelles/
P: iko mugini moya eh?
F: karibu na Bruxelles?
P: eeh karibu na Bruxelles/
F: mu Lieze/
P: wee hapana ona?
F: hapana si: mais: si bado kuona/
P: eh mu Rieze ikoamo/
P: iko: ni mi nilikwenda kufika mu sasa hapa mi nilikwenda/
P: eeh/ tulikwenda kuv: kuvisiter Académie des Beaux- Arts/ et puis: ku: fika pale: hasa ilitoka mu mu Rieze: tunakwenda mu Bruxelles/
F: aah Liège/
P: oui Rieze: Rieze [chuckles] sasa maintenant/ sasa: kufika mu capitale: ilikuwa quinze pour cent/
F: quinze pour cent/ ni kusema bajuges banasema...
P: oui/ banaangaria banasema: [claps] il est bien travaillé/
P: il est bien travaillé/
P: alors: sasa inapita ku Rome/
P: inapita ku Roma: eeeh: yote baliangaria asema c’est très très bien/ [claps] alafu ni mi nilipata sawa premier/
P: ile yote ilikuwa/ alors: Papa alibariki/ alisema: c’est bien fait/
6. After that [Desfossés] took the paintings and sent them to Kinshasa ...?...
P: So he put up a small exhibition there and when that closed he sent some more (paintings) to Kinshasa. When they came back from the exhibition people bought (some), so he sent still others to Luluabourg where they were bought. Furthermore, the Pope announced that there would be a competition where Congolese artists should participate.
F: The Pope in Rome?
P: Let’s see – (the idea was) to do (paintings) from (the life of) the Lord Jesus. Paint the Way of the Cross, let’s say.
F: I see.
P: You know (what I am talking about)? 
F: The Way of the Cross?
F: Of course.
P: Ah, alright. So then we painted the entire Way of the Cross, from Lord Jesus being born to his dying.
F: You did that?
P: Then (the collection) went to Brussels. They said, when it comes to “Rieze” that’s five percent. 
P: If they like it in Liège they’ll exhibit it.
P: The people in Liège came and had a look. Yes, this is good, they said.
P: So (the collection) went on to Brussels.
P: In Brussels (I was told) you make fifteen percent.
P: Alright. When (the collection) goes to Rome, the Pope will bless the one who makes first place.
P: Even the State may honor him.
P: Honor him. 
F: I see.
P: So, they sent all the paintings away. Romain-Desfossés told me, you already have five percent.
F: [overlapping] ....I (still) don’t get this.
P: It was is “Rieze”, in other words in Brussels.
F: I see.
P: It’s (the name of) a town, right?
F: Close to Brussels?
P: Yes, close to Brussels.
F: In Lieze.
P: You never saw it?
F: No, (I’m sorry) but we have never seen it.
P: Well, Rieze exists.
P: I went there myself just recently.
P: Yes, we went to visit the Fine Arts Academy and after we had been there (the exhibition) left Rieze and we went to Brussels.
F: Aah (now I get it, you mean) Liège.
P: Yes Rieze, Rieze [chuckles], now (you have it). Then, getting to the capital city, it was fifteen percent.
F: Fifteen percent. In other words, the members of the jury said....
P: Yes. They looked and said [claps], this is well done.
P: It is well done.
P: So then (the exhibition) went on to Rome.
P: When it got to Rome they looked at everything and said, this is really very good. [claps] It was me who go the first prize...
F: I see.
P: ...of everything that was (shown). So the Pope gave his blessing. This is well done, he said.
7. alors: kiisha tena: kunabakia siku ingine baliomba tena: peko waBelgiques: unayua Belgique eh?
F: ndiyo: minayua ile pays/
P: et puis baliomba tena banasema: inapaswa [pauses] eh: baartistes baCongolais:
P: banaweza kufanya: première/ kufanya concours ingine/
P: ouis: mi nilifanya: alafu minapata premier prix/
F: premier prix? mu mwaka gani?
P: eeeh: muuu: [pauses] mu quarante: non: mu cinquante: cinquante-cinq/ njo ile mwaka walifanya/ minapata cinq: eh: premier prix: et puis: kiisha baliomba tena kwiko Sogelec/ mu: cinquante-sept/
P: eh/ Sogelec anasema: tunataka kuona: muntu tu: anayua asema muntu anatumikaka namna gani?
P: lakini tunapendea moto: ni kintu gani?
P: eh/ alors tunataka baartistes betuonyeshe/
P: et puis: mi nilifanya: nilif [claps] et puis minakuya kupata premier prix/ minayua asema: moto tunapenda moto: juu ya chakula/
P: maneno kama minaweka chakula ku moto: chakula ile: itaweza mi ku: kuisha njala yangu/
P: et puis kama minalala busiku: inapaswa niko: nalala mu crerage/
P: eeh: iko mu mwa....
F: ...mwangaza/ mm/
P: tena natembea: naona: sawa yua/
P: eh: iko mu nyumba pamoya/
P: alafu: njo kile tunapendea moto maneno busiku: ngiza: hatuweze kuona kintu: tunaweza ku: kuwa sawa bipofu/ alafu kama ecrairage ikoamo: tunaweza kupenda/ et puis: nilipata ile/
F: mm: ni ya premiere...
P: ...premier prix:
F: alafu hii: matableaux: iko wapi sasa?
P: ile tableaux?
F: banafunga? Sogelec?
P: sijue: iko ku Bulaya/ ni Bulaya....
F: ...ao hii ingine njia ya musalaba?
P: ile iko ku: ku Roma/
F: ku Roma?
F: inabakia paka hivi?
P: eh mm: inabakia: banabakia nabo paka bule/
7. After that there came another request from people in Belgium. You know Belgium, don’t you?
F: Of course, I know that country.
P: So what they asked for was that Congolese artists ...
P: ...should participate in another competition.
P: Indeed, that’s what I did and I got the first prize.
F: The first prize? What year was that?
P: Let’s see, (it was) [pauses] in ’40, no, in ’50, ’55. That was the year when they organized (the competition). I got five, I mean, the first prize. After that came another request, (this time) from Sogelec. That was in ’57.
P: Yes. Sogelec said, what we want to see is how man is able to function (lit. to work).
P: Above all, we would like something on the theme of moto.
F: I see.
P: Yes. We want artists to show us.
F: I see.
P: So, that’s what I did [claps] and I came out with the first prize. I knew about moto that we like it (because we need it) to prepare food.
P: Because when I put food on the fire, that food can still my hunger.
P: Furthermore, when I go to sleep at night I must have lighting.
P: Yes, there (must be)...
F: ...light, mm.
P: When I walk around I can see as if it were day(time).
P: (There is light) inside the house, too.
P: That’s what we like about electricity because at night, when it is dark, we wouldn’t be able to see a thing, like being blind. Whereas if there is lighting – therefore we like it. So then I got...
F:...Mm, the first...
P: ...the first prize.
F: But where are those paintings now?
P: Those paintings?
F: Are they locked away, at Sogelec?
P: I don’t know, (probably) they are in Europe...
F: ...or those others, the ones of the Way of the Cross?
P: Those are in Rome.
F: In Rome?
F: Just laying around?
P: Yes, mm, laying around. They just keep them.
8. et puis: ni kule ...?... Romain-Desfossés anasema: eh: kila muntu: anapaswa kujua: eh: asema nini? ari décoratif yake: ni kintu gani/
P: décoratif yake iko anafanya/
F: [everlapping] ...décoratif mm/
P: puisque: hii art décoratif: ni kusema: kila muntu awe na mufano yake/
P: hapana ya kufanana: kufanya na bintu ya kufanana hapana muzuri/ inapaswa bintu biwe différents: eh? kwa kila moya: iko na idée yake/ kila moya iko na idée yake/
P: et c’est comme ça: ile maidées inaweza ku: ...?... kila moja/ hii: au lieu ya ku: kucopie mwenzako/
P: ni kule: minafanya ile: sawa petit point: [shows] ile petit point ile/
F: ahah/ njo:
F: paka yako?
P: sasa minaonyesha minasema voilà: maintenant njo yangu décoration ni hii/
P: et puis: ...?... vile minafanya/ et puis: sasa yee anasema: c’est très très bien/ ça c’est votre: eh: décoratif/
P: vous avez déjà choisi: vous avez trouvé déjà/
P: minasema voilà/ et puis: Kaballa alibakia na yake: Bela alibakia kufanya na mi: bilole: iko: unaona?
F: niliisha kuona matableaux yake mu kitabu/
P: ah voilà/
F: bado: hapana...
P: bado kumuona yee ...?...
F: ...kuona na macho/
P: oui oui/ iko nafanya bilole yake:
P: mm/ [demonstrates] anatumika na bilole comme ça/
P: oui/ kilole:
P: paka hii/
P: mm/ na vile anapenta na...?...iko anafanya/
8. (Back to) Romain-Desfossés. He insisted that everyone should know what – how did he put it? – his decorative art is.
P: The decorative (style) in which he works.
F: [overlapping] ...decorative, mm.
P: “Decorative art” means that everyone should have his (distinctive) manner.
P: Not one that resembles (others). Doing stuff that looks like (someone else’s work) is no good. Things should be different, right? Everyone for himself has his idea. Everyone has his idea.
P: That way, those ideas can be...?... distinctive of everyone. This (is how it should be) instead of copying your fellow (artist).
P: That was when I did those little dots, like petit point (embroidery).
F: I see, is that...
F: ...what you do (and no one else)?
P: Then I showed it (to Desfossés) and said, here you are, from now on this is my (kind) of decoration.
F: I see.
P: So that’s ...?...how I worked and he said, this is very, very good. That’s you decorative (style).
P: You have made your choice, you already found (you style).
P: There you are, I said. Kaballa had his (style), Bela kept painting with his fingers. Have you seen it?
F: I have seen paintings of his in a book.
P: Ah, there you are.
F: So far...
P: You haven’t seen him yet.
F: ... I haven’t seen (his work) with my own eyes.
P: Yes, yes. He paints with his fingers.
P: Mm, [demonstrates) he paints with his fingers like this.
P: He paints...?...
P: Yes, with a finger.
F: A finger.
P: Nothing else.
P: Mm. That is how he paints and...?...that’s what he does.
9. P: et puis kiisha: ni kule: ...?...Romain: Desfossés: eh: mi nilitaka asema mi nitoke: yee anasema non: wee hapana kuyua kutoka/ maneno kama wee unatoka na minatoka hata: minakwenda ku na Sud Afrique: minakwenda kuikala/ wee uko unapaswa kubakia na mi/
P: puisque uko élève yangu wa kwanza/
P: alafu: wee utabakia sawa: ao fondateur: alafu sasa tutacréer...
P: mm: tutacréer Académie des Beaux-Arts/ haipaswe bantu bengine bawe: bakamate ile: sawa baseme ni siye hapana/ inapaswa ni weye/
P: sasa: ni kweli: mi nilibakia: na wacommissaires distriki: badi: niconseiller: et puis: kiisha minabakia: et puis: yee anakufa: mbele tunaisha masomo:
P: tunaisha masomo: bengine balikimbia:
F: na ilikuwa hii masomo iko fasi gani?
P: masomo ilikuya...
F:... paka hii?
P: mu nani: mu: Avenue Moëro:
P: eh kiisha: mbele tulianza na Avenue [claps, pauses] Avenue Lomami:
P: ni pale alikuwa anaikala:
P: alafu fasi moya hivi: anaweka sawa atelier yake/
P: ile atelier ya mbele ilikuwa inaitwa: anaandika: asema: iko: Académie: des Beaux-Arts: Art Indigène/
P: et puis: sasa: pale tunaisha masomo: mbele kwa kutoka mule mu: Lomami: tunakwenda mu Moëro/
P: sasa kati yee anakufa: alors: shee bote mbulamatari anakamata: sasa anacréer sasa: eh: Académie des Beaux-Arts/ et puis: sasa ile Académie des Beaux-Arts: inaingia sasa: inakuwa officielle/
P: directement/ et puis: ni sasa shee tunaanza kufundisha kule ku: [pauses] ku Cinquantenaire/
F: cinquantenaire? mm/
P: ni kule tulianza kufundisia kule/ kiisha tunaanza kufundisha: kufundisha: et puis: ni kuwa sasa tunakuwa ku Lycée Kiwele/
F: Lycée Kiwele?
P: ah oui/ mpaka sasa....
F: ...ni fash: fashi ya sasa/
P: c’est ça/ mpaka sasa: Académie des Beaux-Arts inabakia kule/ [claps]
P: ni miye: niko sawa fondateur [claps] ya Académie des Beaux-Arts:
P: ku mu Congo muzima/ Zaïroise muzima sawa anaita kule [chuckles]/
P: mu Zaïre muzima: iko mi ...?... [claps]
P: maneno Romain-Desfossés alifanya: mikanda yake: eh: baBelges: bakubwa baBelges balikatala kabisa/ aseme Académie haiweze kuingia ku bantu hapana/
F: sasa yee alifanya nini?
P: sasa yee anaécrir encore: anatuma kwa Reine Elisabeth/
P: Reine Elisabeth alimucorder:
P: anatuma mukanda kwa: directeur: kwa nani: kwa [pauses] kwa Gouverneur Général:
P: ni kusema: inapashwa Académie des Beaux-Arts ikuwe: mule mu Congo/
P: eeeh: Gouverneur Général anatuma mukanda: kwa Gouverneur: Provincial/
P: Gouverneur Provincial: anamupa Romain- Desfossés anasema voilà maintenant: eeh: guerre yako: [claps] unamalisha/
P: sasa inapaswa Académie des Beaux-Arts ibakie ndani [claps] ya Congo/
P: ni shee tulianza hapa: minaanza A: Académie: eeh: encore Kinshasa: Kananga inakuya ku mukongo/
9. P: Then came a time when I wanted to leave (the school of) Romain-Desfossés. No, he said, you cannot leave. Because if you leave I leave, too. I may go to South Africa and live there. You have to stay with me.
P: Because you are my first student.
F: I see.
P: You are going to stay and be like the founder when we create...
F: ...the founder?
P: Mm, we are going to create a Fine Arts Academy. No one else should undertake this and take the credit. You must do it.
F: I see.
P: So, it did stay – people at the district officer’s gave me that advice and in the end I stayed. Then (Desfossés) died (but not) before we finished establishing the school.
P: When we established the school some (of the students of Desfossés) ran away.
F: And where was this school located?
P: The school was...
F: ...where this (Académie des Beaux-Arts) is now?
P: Where was it again? On Avenue Moëro.
F: I see.
P: In the end -- before that, we started on Avenue [pauses], Avenue Lomami.
P: That was where (Desfossés) lived.
P: In the same place where he put up his atelier.
P: Originally, that atelier was called – he wrote it – “Académie des Beaux-Arts/Indigenous Art.”
P: So when we established the school, it was first on (Avenue) Lomami. Then we left there and moved to (Avenue) Moëro.
P: After that, when (Desfossés) had died the State took on all of us and established the Académie des Beaux-Arts officially.
F: I see.
P: That was when we began to teach there in [pauses] in the Cinquantenaire (building).
F: The Cinquantenaire? Mm.
P: You know (where this is)?
P: That’s where we began teaching for a while until (we moved to) the Lycée Kiwele where we are now.
F: Lycée Kiwele?
P: Ah, yes. To this day...
F: ...the place where (the Academy) is now.
P: That’s it. That is where the Académie des Beaux-Arts is still now.
P: It was me – I was, as it were, the founder of the Académie des Beaux-Arts.
F: I see.
P: In the whole of the Congo, the whole of Zaire as (Mobutu) calls it down there.
P: In the whole of Zaire it was me...?...[claps]
P: What happened was that Romain-Desfossés did the paperwork but the Belgians, the Belgian authorities, absolutely refused to have an Academy open to Africans.
F: What did he do then?
P: Then he wrote again, this time to Queen Elisabeth.
P: Queen Elisabeth gave him (what he wanted).
F: She did?
P: She did.
F: I see.
P: She sent a letter to the director – who was it again? – or rather to the Governor General.
F: I see.
P: Saying that there should be an Académie des Beaux-Arts there in the Congo.
P: Let’s see – then the Governor General sent a letter to the Provincial Governor.
P: And the Provincial Governor gave it to Romain-Desfossés. Here you are, he said, your war [claps] is over now.
P: From now on there should be an Académie des Beaux-Art in the Congo.
P: It was us who made the beginning here, I started the Academy. Another one was in Kinshasa (Léopoldville) and the one in Kananga (Luluabourg) came afterwards.
10. F: ulitembea Kinshasa...?...?
P: nilitembea Kinshasa/ nilitembea Kinshasa: nilipata na: médaille ya or: eeh...
F: ...médaille ya or [to myself] Goldmedaille:
P: or: arts: lettres: sciences/
F: ah bon/
F: zamani? ku?
P: iko mu hiyi mwaka ya sasa/
F: mu hi mwa: mwaka ya sasa?
P: eeh/ na cinq....
F: [overlapping] bado: bado kupata hii ordre ya...
P: ...na ss: septante/
F: ahah: septante?
P: na septante [pauses] oui septante-et-un/
F: bado kupata ordre ya chui?
F: [laughs] bataleta/
P: [chuckles] siyue/
F: bataleta/ eh/
P: ile paka mina: kufanya tena: course ingine:
P: alafu yee mwenyewe kama anapenda: ataleta/ njo ile tulifanya byote: eeh: tulikwenda ku: Romain-Defossés: ya ...?...
P: oui/ ku...?...hii ku exposition ya nani ya: internationale/
P: ah Kinshasa: et puis: kiisha tunakwenda maBruxelles: wapi: wapi:
P: et puis kurudia kule: sasa minakuya huku inga moya: banapenda tena kuniita: nakwenda tena Kinshasa: ku: kuexposer tena/
P: kufika kuexposer: kiisha exposer: balipenda kabisa/ [claps]
P: et puis: eeeh: Président: Mobutu alisema: bon: muzuri sana: kumbe pahali ya miye kumupa médaile mina: minamu déléguer ministre/ akupe médaille yako: na:
F: médaille yako/
P: oui: na Générale Lundula/ na Générale Lundula/
P: Major humu/
F: aah yee alikuwa muku: mukubwa ya: ya: ya:
P: ya baSoldats oui/
P: alafu yee: eeh: Général alikuwa: réposer: alichoka/
P: sasa alibakia: sasa: njo waLundula na: ministre: wakakunipa medal:
P: balikuwa na wazungu ba université mbili:
P: eeeh: na miye: na Mwenze: tunakamata ile medaille ya: or/
F: kweli: kweli?
F: sasa uliisha kupata maprix mingi/
P: ah ndiyo/ ni sababu nilipata maprix mingi: tena natumika muzuri eh? [claps]
P: ...?.../ [chuckles]
10. Have you been to Kinshasa...?...?
P: I have been to Kinshasa. I went to Kinshasa (where) I got a gold medal in...
F: ...a gold medal.
P: A gold (medal) in Arts, Letters, and Sciences.
F: I see.
F: (Was that) some time ago? When (was it)?
P: It was just this year.
F: This year?
P: Yes, in fifty....
F: [overlapping]...You didn’t get that order ...?...?
P: in ’70.
F: I see, in ’70?
P: In ’70 [pauses], yes in ’71.
F: You did not get the Order of the Leopard yet?
P: Not yet.
F: [laughs] They are going to give it (to you).
P: [chuckles] I don’t know.
F: They’ll give it (to you), yes.
P: That (may happen) when I participate in another competition.
P: He himself will give it (to me) if it pleases him. We did all those things and then we went to Romain-Desfossés to...?...
F: (To do) an exposition?
P: Yes. (We showed out work) in...?...at this international exposition.
F: An international (exposition)?
P: Yes (the one) in Kinshasa. After that went to Brussels and other places.
F: When we returned from there I had been here for a week when it pleased them to call on me again. So I went back to Kinshasa for another exposition.
P: I got there and exhibited (my work) and afterwards (they told me) they really liked it. [claps]
P: President Mobutu said, fine, this is very beautiful. Rather than me giving you the medal I delegate a minister. He should give you your medal and...
F: Your medal.
P: Yes, (delegated this) to General Lundula. General Lundula.
P: He used to be a Major here.
F: Aah, he was the commander of...
P: ...the soldiers, yes.
P: What happened was the General was taking a rest, he was tired.
P: He was staying (in Lubumbashi). This is why it was Lundula and the minister who gave me the medal. 
P: There were also two Europeans from the University.
F: I see.
P: So. I and Mwenze got that gold medal.
F: Is that true?
F: By now you have won many prizes.
P: Ah, yes. It is because I got many prizes that I still do beautiful work, you understand? [claps]
11. F: bon: sawa: njo mara ya kwanza ya: ya: kujuana/
F: kama: hii siku ya kwanza kama uli: ulikutana yee kwanza ya Delafossés: uliisha ku...
P: bado tu/ bado kufanya hata kintu moya/
F: hata: kintu moya?
P: hata moya/ hata kudessiner hapana/ sikujua hata kudessiner/
F: hata mu masomo?
P: mu masomo ya huku habakuwa bana: banafundisha ku: ku dessiner kintu hapana/ ni mpaka mukanda: a be ce de/
F: ah bon/ haba: ba...?...
P: hapana kusema dessin: nini: hapana/
P: paka calcule: Français: [claps]
F: sasa: wee ulianza paka sawa?
P: paka siku ile Romain-Desfossés...
F: [overlapping] ...siku moya?
P: eeh/ alafu: minayua: minaangaria kamuzimu: kale kaa:
P: eeh/ kasanamu:
P: kale kasanamu mi nikaangaria mina: bon/ keko hivi keko hivi et puis: minakadessiner/
P: naangaria: na..?...
F: ...ah: yee aliweka sanamu?
P: oui/ yee aliweka sanamu:
P: ah: anaweka... [demonstrates]
F: ...oui: so:
P: anaweka comme ça:
F: eheh/ na wee ulikuwa...
P: ...anaweka sawa comme ça: anasema unapasa kucopie/
P: et puis minaangaria: nafanya: minaangaria hivi: minaangaria hivi: et puis: kiisha minatosha juste/
F: mm/ ...?...wee ulipita: wee ulijua Delafossée namna gani?
P: ah bon/ Romain-Desfossés minamujua kwa Mukunji Ferdinand/ njo: inyee Romain-Defossés alisema: mutakwenda kutafuta: bale babiyana benye kuwa na mayele/
P: alafu: kufika...?...nao: maneno yee alikuwa menijeur/ Mukunji Ferdinand alikuwa menijeur/
P: eeh/ sasa pale alikwenda kwake kufanya bumenusier: ni kule alimumambia asema: wee hapana kuyua: babiyana bengine: benye kubupenda kazi ya: bu...?... buartiste?
P: mi niko artiste: alafu minataka bakufundishe/ [claps]
P: et puis: ni kule yee: Mukunji Ferdinand alikuwa kuniambia mi/ [claps]
P: oui sasa mi: njo nilikwenda kule: [claps] tulionana naye saa ya mangaribi: na: deux heures: et puis kiisha njo [claps] ananipa examen na byote/ et puis mi niliisha examen: na sasa: asubui yake minaanza masomo/
F: paka hii ya siku?
P: eheh: asubui...
P: ...minaisha mangaribi: asubui...
F: [overlapping]... asubui yake...
P: minakuya ku masomo/ [break in the sound track] mi moya/
P: alors: nabakia: inga mbili: eh: hakukuwa muntu ingine/ eh: nabakia mwezi muzima: hakuna muntu ingine/ eh Kilima Oswar alikuya: anakimbia/ [claps]
P: Kilima Oswalde/
F: Kilima Oswald?
P: eeh/ iko muntu...
F: na yee alikimbia?
P: iko muntu wa ...?..../ anakuwa kufanya kufanya et puis anapata maladi [claps] ya fou:
P: anakuwa mazimu oui/ et puis: anakimbia/ [claps] et puis: sasa: tunabakia mwezi: inne/
njo tulipata: eh: i: Ilunga/
P: Ilunga Norbert/ et puis: ni muLuba/
F: ni muLuba?
P: eeh/ sasa kiisha: njo tunakuwa kupata: eh: Bela: ni yee mwenyewe Romain-Desfossés anamuambia asema: inapaswa sasa wee naye: ufunde hii/
P: eh/ huku uko unatumika kazi yangu ya boy: iko Bela mustik:
P: na hii assez: na wee uko nafunda tena hii/ [claps] uwe na wee artiste/
F: ni kusema we ulifunda: nani walifunda Bela? wee ulifunda Bela?
P: hapana/ Bela?
P: mais: Romain-Desfossés anamuambia asema inapaswa wee ukuye ufunde na weye sawa...
P: ...vile: Pilipili iko anafanya/
P: na wee uko kufanya na mikono/ [claps] na bilole yako/ acha sasa kazi ya boy: uko unatumika normalement mais: inafai kutumika hii/
P: njo vile na yee alianza/ sasa pale alianza: et puis: anakuya na yee: anaendelea: na sasa/
F: ni vile/
F: na mu: mu utoto yako/ zamani zamani/ ulipenda paka sawa ...?... un peu?
P: aah: pa butoto yangu: ya kwanza mi sikujua kabisa: eeh: kazi kabisa nili: taka kutumika/ maneno nilikuwa napima tu/ kazi yote: minasema: eh: iko napima/ eeh: niko napima: sawa kupenta/ eh: mil/
P: eh/ peintre: mil/
P: ya mil/ hii ya ....
F: ya: ya kupeintre nyumba?
F: unasema nini mu Swahili?
P: eeh: kupenta ya: kupenta mu kibambasi/
F: ku: ku kibambasi?
P: ya nyumba/
P: alafu minaacha/ minasema hapana/ et puis nakuwa kufanya sawa prombi: minasema....
P: eeh/ minasema hapana/
P: et puis napima kuwa infirmie/
P: eh/ aide-infirmie: manaangaria minasema aaah hapana/ [claps] et puis: pale minakuya huku: minasema hii kazi iko bien: inanipendesha/
P: sababu: na idées yangu: inaingia kabisa ndani ya akili yangu yote/ inaingia ile kazi/
F: na peinture/
P: ah na peinture/ njo Romain-Desfossés anasema voilà: kumbe: wee akili yako: iningia kabisa ndani ya peinture/
F: ni kweli?
P: inapaswa utumike ile kazi yako/
11. F: Alright. This is the first time (we meet) and get to know each other.
P: Know each other.
P: ...not yet...
F: ....been painting (before)?
P: Not at all, I hadn’t done a single thing.
F: Not even one?
P: Not even one. Nor had I done any drawing, I did not even know how to draw.
F: Not even in school?
P: In the schools here they didn’t use to teach any drawing. I was only letters, a,b, c, d.
F: Ah, alright. They didn’t...?...
P: There was no talk of drawing or something of that kind, no.
P: Just arithmetic (and) French. [claps]
F: So then you began just like that?
P: Right away on that day when Romain- Desfossés....
F: [overlapping]...on a single day?
P: Yes. I just knew (how to do it) when I looked at that little muzimu, that little...
F: A little statue?
P: Yes, a little statue.
P: So I examined this little statue (until I knew) what it looked like and then I did a drawing of it.
F: I see.
P: I kept looking at it and...?...
F: ...ah, (Desfossés) put the statue (in front of you)?
P: Yes, he did.
F: I see.
P: He put it [demonstrates]...
P: He put it like that.
F: Yes, and you did...
P: ... he put it like that and said, you copy it.
P: So I took a look and did (some drawing), I looked at it again and again and in the end I came up with an exact (drawing).
F: Mm. ...?...you went there, how did you get to know Desfossés?
P: Ah, alright. I knew Romain-Desfossés through Mukunji Ferdinand. What happened was that Romain-Desfossés got the word out to go and look for bright young people.
F: I see.
P: He came up with them because he was a furniture maker. Mukunji Ferdinand was a furniture maker.
F: A furniture maker?
P: Yes. He went to his (Desfossés’) place to work in his trade and it was there that he talked to him. Don’t you know, he said, some youngsters who would like to work as artists?
P: I am an artist and I would like to teach them.
P: So then Mukunji Ferdinand told me about that.
F: I see.
P: Yes. Then I went to his place and we saw each other at two in the afternoon he gave me the exam (I told you about). I finished it and the next morning I started school.
F: The same day?
P: Yes, in the morning....
F: ... next morning?
P: ...I finished (the exam) in the afternoon, in the morning...
F: [overlapping]...(the morning) after...
P: ...I came to the school. I was the only one.
P: I hung around for two weeks, no one else (showed up). I stayed for a whole month, there was no one else. (In the end) Kilima Oswald came and left in a hurry. [claps]
F: Who was that?
P: Kilima Oswald
F: Kilima Oswald?
P: Yes, he was a...
F: And he ran away?
P: He was someone who...?... He kept painting and painting until he got sick [claps] and went mad.
P: He was out of his mind, yes. And then he ran away. [claps] So then we went on for another four months until we got Ilunga.
P: Ilunga Norbert, he was a Luba.
F: A Luba?
P: Yes. After that we got Bela. Romain-Desfossés himself had said to him, you should learn this, too.
F: I see.
P: Yes. Here you work for me as my boy – that’s what Bela was, a servant. 
F: I see.
P: Enough of that (he said), you are going to learn this (craft), you should be an artist.
F: This means you taught – was it you who taught Bela?
P: No. (You mean) Bela?
P: But (I told you) it was Romain-Desfossés who said to him, you ought to learn (to paint) like...
F: Aah (now I understand).
P: And you are going to paint with your hands, (or rather) with your fingers. Now you give up your job as a servant. You can go on working as usual but you should (also) also do this kind of work.
F: I see.
P: That was how he began and continued (to paint) from then on.
F: That’s how it was.
F: And when you were still young (lit. during your childhood), long ago, did you already like to do a little (drawing)?
P: Well now, when I was young, I really didn’t know what kind of work I wanted to do. What happened was that I tried all kinds of work. I give it a try, I told myself. One thing I tried was to paint (on) walls.
P: Yes, painting (on) walls.
F: I see.
P: On walls. The kind where you...
F: [to myself in English] House.
P: ...(paint) [in Swahili] a wall.
F: Painting houses?
F: How do you call that in Swahili?
P: To paint on a wall.
F: On a wall?
P: Of a house.
P: But I gave it up. No, I told myself. And then I had a go at being a prombi. (But) I said...
F: A plombier, plumber?
P: Yes. I told myself, no.
F: I see.
P: After that I tried to become an infirmie.
F: Infirmier, a nurse?
P: Yes, a nurse’s helper. I took a look at it and told myself, oh no. (Finally) when I came to this place I said, this is good work, I like it.
P: Because it fitted (lit. entered) exactly the ideas I had, all my abilities went into this kind of work.
F: (You mean) painting?
F: Yes, painting. That’s when Romain-Desfossés said, there you are, your abilities are exactly (what you need) for painting.
F: Is that true?
P: That is what you must do, this is you work.
12. F: mm/ [pauses] na sasa kama una: unafanya matableaux sasa/ ni: namna gani? wee: unataka: [pauses] ni: ni ya nguvu ya: kusema mu Swahili alafu/ hii: peinture inatoka wapi? wee...?... paka unaanza...?...?
P: [overlapping] ah: bon/ bon/ kama minaanza kut: kufanya: [turning to a painting] sawa unakamata hii eh?
P: eh/ maneno: [pointing out] hapa niliisha kuanza/
P: et puis: kama minakamata minaangaria: déjà mina: naisha kuona kintu gani mitafanya/ minasema: mitafanya bifulani: mitafanya kintu kinye sujèt bifulani: alafu sujèt bifulani: itakuwa histoire ya hivi na hivi: hivi na hivi/
P: et puis minaanza paka pale kutracer:
P: eeh: na couleurs: na byote: et puis: ao na crayon: et puis kiisha: minaona minasema inanipendeza mi mwenyewe: njo kusema: mu monde entier banapenda/ kwa sababu: macho yangu inaweza kuona ku bantu yote/
P: vile mitapenda na bantu bote batapenda/ sababu artiste: eh: iko kazi yake: anakuwa: sawa mu monde entier/
F: monde entier?
P: eeh/ macho yake: anaona: iko visible/ na muntu yote ataweza kuona asema oui c’est vrais/ hiki kintu ni kizuri/
P: hiki kintu: eh: alifanya iko kizuri: iko hivi iko hivi/ sababu itapendeza kwa muntu yote/
P: sababu mbele ni kuwaza kile sujèt gani utafanya: na...
F: sasa mbele: mbele ya kuanza unawaza? ndani: ndani roho yake ao?
P: mbele ya kuanza: ni kweli/ inapaswa kuanza mbele ya roho yako/ ku: kwa kuanza asema nitafanya kifulani: unapaswa asema: minakamata papier: minakamata nini: unayua asema: nitafanya kintu kifulani leo/
P: ni sujèt fulani: iko: alisi hivi: njo kusema histoire/ itakuwa hivi: itakuwa hivi/ na sasa...
F: na hii: na hii arisi: wee uliona: ulikuwa kusikia ku utoto yako?
F: mu pori/ sawa: sawa minasema: maneno sasa wee unafanya hii...
F: ...manyama yote:
F: alafu: unaona wapi hii manyama? mu ville?
P: ile byote: minaona mbele kwetu/ eeh/
P: kwetu: iko mukini moya: Kabalo:
P: et puis kwenda mukini kiloko/
P: mu ...?.../ kutoka sasa Ngolo: Ngolo iko samaki mingi/
P: et puis kwa kufika mu Zanza: tena muko samaki mingi na nyama mingi/
F: eeh/ na uliisha kurudia kule ku...
P: na ndege mingi/ toka sawa quarante-sept mupaka sasa siyarudia/
P: ni ...?...karibu: alors: niko nakwenda tu mafasi ingine/
F: sasa wee muko yote mu: mu:
P: nabroquer yote mu kichwa huyu/ sababu kwa kuona zamani: et puis: sasa niko na eh se rappeler: tout ça là/
F: tout ça là/
P: mm minapaswa...
F: wee una...?...
P: non: il n’y a pas seulement: nibione biote/
P: ni: nikumbuke mi karibu yangu/ [claps]
P: nibifanye tena/
12. F: Mm. [pauses] And nowadays when you do paintings, how does it go? Do you want [pauses] – it is difficult to say this in Swahili but (I’ll try). Where does a painting like this come from? You ...?...just start (with it)?
P: [overlapping] Ah, alright. Alright. When I begin working [turning to a painting] – take this, for instance, right?
P: Well, (as you can see) [pointing out] this is where I started.
P: And then, when I pick it up and look at it I already see what I’m going to do. I’ll do this or that, I tell myself. I’ll do something with a certain theme. That theme will be a story (telling) how this or that (happened), whatever.
P: After that I just begin to draw the outlines.
F: Draw the outlines?
P: Yes, with colors or with whatever (is at hand), perhaps a pencil. Then, when I look at it and find that it pleases me, it means that people will like it anywhere in the world because my eye is able to see for everyone.
P: This is how what I will like everyone is going to like. Because that is what makes up the artist’s work. He is, as it were, everywhere in the world.
F: Everywhere in the world?
P: Yes. What his eye sees becomes visible and anyone will be able to see it and tell himself, yes, that is true. This thing is beautiful.
P: He did this thing beautifully, that’s what it is like.
F: I see.
P: Because (what you do) first, is to think about the theme you are going to paint and...
F: That means, before you start (working) you think? (You search) your inner mind (lit. soul), or?
P: Before starting – that’s true, it is your inner mind that must make the beginning. (Then) when I decide on the theme I am going to do I get some paper. That’s when you know this is what I am going to do today.
F: I see.
P: That is the theme, the story goes like this. This is what it will be about.
F: And this story, is it something you saw or heard when you were a child?
F: [When you lived] up-country. I bring this up because nowadays you paint...
F: ...all those animals.
F: But where did you see those animals? In town? In Lubumbashi?
P: Alright, (I’ll tell you).
P: All that I first saw back home.
F: Back home?
P: Back home – there is this town, Kabalo.
P: From there you go on to a small village.
P: ...?... Going on from Ngolo – there is a lot of fish in Ngolo.
F: I see.
P: And then you come to Zanza where there is again a lot of fish and also game....
F: I see. And have you gone back there, to....
P: ...and many birds. From about ’47 to this day I haven’t gone back.
P: It is ...?...nearby, so I go to other places.
F: Nowadays, all of you live in...
P: I picked up everything in this head of mine. Because, having seen it in the past I now recall everything there
F: Everything there.
P: Mm, I must....
F: Do you...?...
P: No, it’s not only that I should see everything (I paint).
P: When I remember it it is close to me.
P: So that I can reproduce it (lit. make it again).
13. F: unataka kurudia kule ku mugini yako?
P: oui nitarudia kwa kwenda kutembela: eh: sijue siku/
F: na nduku yako? ya...
P: niko na bandugu yangu wote beko kule/
F: baliisha kupita humu?
P: balipita huku kwa kuya kuniangaria:
P: eh: wakati iniasha vita/ baliona kama mi naisha kufwa ao hapana/
F: aah: ku soixante-trois?
P: oui oui/ alors: miye: nasema niko: muzima/ muloko yangu mwenye kunifwata anapita humu/ muloko yangu ungine anapita huku/ et huyu ingine muloko yangu njo tunaikalaka naye ku siku zote/ na yee alifwata mi kwa kuwa kutumika/
F: na yee alifanya nini? ...?...
P: yee iko: comptable/
P: iko comptable: njo vile kazi yake...
F: na baba yako ali: aliisha kufa?
P: baba aliisha kufa zamani:
P: mi nikingali: [pauses] na mwaka kumi/
P: et puis: mama: aliisha ku: kufwa/ eh mu soix: non:
[short interruption, woman knocks at the door]
Woman: ni sasa...?...
F: bon muzuri/ [returning to the conversation] bon/ sasa: na [pauses] nazani mu utoto yake: alors: ulikuwa na miaka ngapi sawa sawa kama uli: ulitoka? mugini/
P: aah pale pa kutoka ku mugini: njo kusema nilikuwa na: vers ya: [pauses] dix-huit ans/
F: dix-huit? kumbe kiisha dix-huit?
P: kiisha dix-huit:
F: uli: ulifwata masomo mu: mu mugini ao?
P: nafwata masomo ku mugini yangu:
P: kule minafwata masomo ku mission/
F: ku mission?
P: mu Kongolo/
F: na uliisha ku...
P: [overlapping] niliisha kwa masomo:
P: sasa: kufanya: cinq: eh: école première: alors: sixième: na terminons: minakuya huku/
F: sixième? uliterminer/
P: minakuya huku/ njo sixième ilikuwa tu kule ku materritoires: paka sixième/ [claps]
F: [overlapping] eyo/
P: alors: mm/ sasa minakuya huku: nilikuwa na mawazo yangu: paka ya kuendelea mu masomo/ [claps]
P: eh: sasa: kuko ku masomo ya: ya artiste-peintre: minafanya six ans/
F: six ans/
F: ...[overlapping] ...?...Delafossée?
P: oui/ Romain-Desfossés anasema: hii kazi ya baartistes inalalaka hata trente ans/
P: mais: kwa kuya kabisa: eh: kuya na elimu yako: na mayele mukubwa: inapaswa kufanya: six ans:
F: six ans/
P: alors: vile: mayele yako: unaongeza kabisa/ sasa: bile bintu byote itakuwa na wee: très simple: kwa wee kubifanya/
P: alafua kama unafanya: quatre ans: ao unfanya deux ans: wee hapana kuyua/ ukingali partie bule bule/ [claps]
P: unapaswa kuivya kabisa kabisa/
F: njo vile/
P: eeh/ na sawa kuivya njo kusema: ...?...tu...
P: kukomala na/ [claps]
P: ni kule: nilifwata ?jina yake/
P: eh/ nilifanya six ans: bon: [claps] minamaliza/
F: [overlapping] six ans: kumbe ulikuwa kukomea/
F: ni vile baba/
13. Do you want to go back there, to your village?
P: Yes, I’ll go, just to walk around. But I don’t know when (lit. the day).
F: And (what about) your relatives?
P: I have all those relatives living there.
F: Have the come to visit (you) here?
P: The came here to have a look at me.
P: At the time when the war was over. (They came) to see whether I died in or not.
F: I see, (was that) in ’63?
P: Yes, yes. So I told them I am alive and well.
It was a younger brother, the one who (was born) after me, who came. (And then) another younger brother came by. With the former we are together every day, he is the one who followed me (looking) for work.
F: And what does he do? ...?...
P: He is an accountant.
F: An accountant?
F: I see.
P: He is an accountant, that’s his job...
F: And your father already died?
P: Father died long ago.
F: (And your) mother?
P: I was [pauses] ten years old.
P: That’s when mother died, in ’60, no....
[short interruption, woman knocks at the door]
Who is it?
Woman: Now it is...?...
P: I see.
F: Fine. [Returning to the conversation] Alright, now then [pauses] I think during your childhood – by the way, how old were you when you left the village?
P: Aah, when I left the village I was about [pauses] eighteen years old.
F: Eighteen? And then, after you had turned eighteen?
P: (When) I had turned eighteen.
F: You went to school in the village, or?
P: I went to school in my village.
P: I went to the mission school there.
F: At the mission?
P: In Kongolo.
F: And you finished in...
P: [overlapping] I finished with school.
P: After five years primary school we ended with the sixth (grade) and then I came here (to Lubumbashi).
F: You finished sixth grade?
P: (And) I came here. Sixth grade was as far as it went there up-country. [claps]
F: [overlapping] I see.
P: Mm. So then I came to this place. My idea was to go on with school. [claps]
F: I see.
P: That’s when I for six years as a painter.
F: Six years.
P: (With) Romain...
F: ... [overlapping]... Desfossés?
P: Yes. Romain-Desfossés said, the work that artists do is lasts for as many as thirty years.
P: But to get your training and be really competent needs six years.
F: Six years.
P: That is how you are really going to build up your competence. For you, to do all this is going to be very easy.
F: I see.
P: Whereas, if you only give it four years, or two years, you won’t know (a thing). You’ll be neither here nor there.
P: You really have to mature.
F: That’s how it is.
P: Yes. To mature simply means...
F: ...to grow up.
P: Be full grown.
F: To grow up.
P: That was where I agreed with him.
P: Yes. I spent six years on it until (my training) was complete.
F: [overlapping] Six years, and then you had grown up.
F: Just so, baba.
14. [to IS] ah: did you: did you have another question? Did you want to ask a question?
IS: Oh, I have a question...
F: [to P, overlapping] minauliza yee kama yee iko na ulizo/
IS: [overlapping] want to turn it off?
P: ah bon/
F: [to IS] no/ we can go on/
IS: I don’t really see what you covered/
F: well you ask...
IS: oh, I have many...
F: yea/ more about his life/
IS: about his life: eh: I don’t know what he said/
F: well he: anything that comes to your mind/ if: if...
IS: how: when he decided to become an artist?
IS: does he this: being an artist: separate from ordinary life? it’s just life: just life for him?
F: [to P] anasema: anasema: kuwa: artiste: eh? kuwa artiste: iko na neno ya: ya: ya: mu Swahili: artiste? tunasema nini: mu Swahili?
P: oh: oh: mu kiSwahili njo kusema: [pauses]
F: hana/ hana na...?.../ artiste/
P: kuwa: ku fundi wa kufwatula/
P: kufwatula [pauses] masanamu/
P: kufwatula sanamu/
F: mm: bon/ yee anauli: yee ana: omba: anauliza: kama wee unawaza kama kazi ya artiste: eh? inaachana na kazi: ya bantu bengine/
F: ...paka kazi: sawa kazi ingine/
P: kazi ya baartistes: ni kazi iko natoka mu kizazi/
F: mu kizazi?
P: mu kizazi ya ba: baba na bamama/
P: maneno: kwiko baba yako: kama alikuwaka: sawa anayua kuchonga bintu: eh? eh: anyua kufula:
P: eheh/ alors: ku mwisho wee mutoto utakuwaka kuyua: na kufanya na wee kufwatula ao nini/
F: ahah/ na baba yako: yee aliyu: alikuwa?
P: baba yangu alikuwa anayua bile bintu kuchonga/
F: il était: forgeron?
P: ah: anachonga/
F: anachonga? kuchonga ni kusema?
P: anachonga nani: ile: eh: gros tamtam/
P: mm/ tena anayua tena na ku: frapper/ eh: kupika pamoja/
P: kupika yee pamoya ?bule/
P: sababu ni artiste/
F: yee alikuwa artiste? baba yako?
P: alikuwa artiste/ alikuwa napika: kufanya tamutamu:
P: et puis na kuitengenza pamoya/
F: na mamasques...?...?
P: na masques yee hapana ku: kufanya hapana/
F: paka: paka...
P: tamtam oui/ ile banapika kama: miti huku na mipila huku/
F: aah: sawa: cha kutuma:
P: c’est ça/
F: kutuma neno mu: mu mugini ingine?
P: c’est ça/ c’est...
F: ...kutuma neno mu: mu mugini ingine?
P: c’est ça/ c’est ça/ c’est ça/ ana: anapika hapa: anasema mugini fulani:
P: huku kwiko hivi: kwiko hivi: kwiko hivi/
F: na yee ali: aaaah/
P: ...?... yee: aliyua kufanya hivi/
P: iko baartistes bale/
F: na wee ulifunda hii/
P: mi sikufunda hii hapana/ nilikuwa mutoto/
F: sasa bantu banafanya paka sawa: balisahabu?
P: bantu balisahabu/
P: alafu: mi nilikuwa ku: kuingia sasa ndani yake: et puis: minaanza ku: kufwata sawa vile: yee alikuwa nafanya/ kazi ya artiste: eh: haina kazi sawa ya: [pauses] sawa ya klerki: eeh: sawa kazi ingine: hapana/ maneno: inapitana juu ya nini? kazi ya artiste ni juu ya kuwaza/
F: juu ya kuwaza/
P: eh: kazi ya artiste: iko sawa: unaona bale banasema basavants/ eh? maneno ya mawazo/
P: beko wanawaza kintu gani mitafanya? kintu gani mitafanya kya kupita hapa? kintu gani mitafanya kwa furahisha inchi yetu/
P: puisque: ni kazi ya baartistes/ artiste: saa yote ni kuwaza/ iko analala alafu ana [claps]: paka waza kintu/ et puis: kama iko anatembea: iko anatembea paka na mawazo/
P: paka na kuwaza kintu gani atafanya/
P: et puis: ni ile kazi ya buartiste: inapitana na ile kazi ingine/ maneno huweze kwenda: hivi tu: sasa tu nasema: bon mitafanya kintu bifulani/ hapana/ iko paka wee na mawazo mbele/
P: mm/ nitafanya sasa kintu kifulani: ku nikianza mbele kuwaza/ mbele: njo na kufanya/ njo pale inapitana na kazi ingine:
P: lakini ikuwe kwa kuo: kwa kuonyesha tu: haina: kazi moya: kama kichwa yako iko: kyepesi utaweza kulugula: kukuwa fou: sababu ya mawazo/
P: kuwa fou/
F: kuwa fou/ [to myself in German] verrückt werden/
P: juu ya mawazo: et puis inapaswa: eh: muntu ya [pauses] mayele mukubwa:
P: mayele mingi: juu ya kuwazawaza: namna gani utafanya/
14. [to IS] Ah, did you: did you have another question? Did you want to ask a question?
IS: Oh, I have a question...
F: [to P, overlapping] I am asking her whether she has a question.
IS: [overlapping]... want to turn it off?
P: Ah, alright.
F: [to IS] No, we can go on.
IS: I don’t really see what you covered.
F: Well, you ask...
IS: Oh, I have many...
F: Yea, more about his life.
IS: About his life, eh, I don’t know what he said.
F: Well he -- anything that comes to your mind. If, if...
IS: How, when he decided to become an artist?
IS: Does he this being an artist separate from ordinary life? It’s just life, just life for him?
F: [to P] What she says, about being an artist, right? Being an artist – (by the way) is there a word for artist in Swahili? What do we say in Swahili?
P: Oh, well, in Swahili it is [pauses]...
F: There is none. There is no (word for) artist.
P: (We would say) being (proficient) in the craft of drawing.
P: Drawing [pauses] images.
P: Drawing images.
F: Mm, alright. She asks whether you think that an artist’s work is unlike the work other people (do).
P: ...the work...
F: ...is it just work like any other.
P: Artists’ work is something that comes from their kinship
F: Their kinship.
P: Kinship (meaning) their fathers and mothers.
F: Is that so?
P: There may be your father who knows how to carve thing, right? Or he knows how to forge.
F: I see.
P: Yes. In the end, you, (his child), are going to have the ability to draw or whatever.
F: I see. And was your father someone like that?
P: My father knew how to kuchonga things.
F: He was a smith?
P: No, anachonga.
F: Anachonga. What does kuchonga mean?
P: He carved – what do you call them? – those big drums.
F: Aah, (now I understand).
P: Mm. He also knew how to beat them.
F: ...to play?
P: Just to beat (the drum).
P: Because he was an artist.
F: He was an artist? Your father?
P: He was an artist. He beat drums and made them.
F: I see.
P: And he also (knew how to) decorate (them).
F: And what about masks?
P: Mask he didn’t make.
F: Only, only...
P: Drums, yes. The ones that are beaten with sticks that have (rubber) balls at their end.
F: Aah, like to send...
P: That’s it.
F: To send a message to another village?
P: That’s it, that’s...
F: ...sending a message to another village.
P: That’s it, exactly. He would beat (the drum) here and talk to some village (there).
P: (Informing them), this or that is what is happening here.
F: So he would – aaah.
P: ...?...he knew how to do this.
P: Those people were artists.
F: And did you learn this?
F: I did not learn this, no. I was a child.
F: I see.
P: I didn’t...
F: Are people still doing this now, (or) did they forget it?
P: People forgot it.
F: They forgot it.
P: Still, I got into his line of work and followed him. The work of an artist is not like that [pauses] of a clerk, or some other job, no. It is superior. Why? Because an artist’s work is about thinking.
F: About thinking?
P: Yes. An artist’s work, you see, is like that of people who are called scholars. You understand? Because it is about thoughts.
P: They think, what is it that I am going to do?
What am I going to do and make it outstanding, something that brings joy to our country?
P: That is the work artists do. An artist keeps thinking all the time. He may be asleep but he still keeps thinking. Even when he is taking a walk he goes around with thoughts.
P: And that’s were artistic work is superior to those other kinds of work. Because you can’t just go about (your job) and tell yourself, alright, that’s what I am going to do. No. (It only works) if you had ideas to begin with.
P: Mm. Whatever I am going make now I (can do only) if I first think about it. (Thinking comes) first, then making. That’s the point where (the artist’s) work surpasses other kinds.
P: Which goes to show that it is not one kind of work (among others). If your head is not steady you may get sick and (your) thoughts may drive you crazy.
P: Go crazy.
F: Go crazy. [to myself in German] Verrückt werden.
P: Over (your) thoughts. Therefore, a person must have [pauses] great ability.
F: I see.
P: A lot of ability in order to keep thinking about how to be creative (lit. to make things).
15. F: na: kama wee unawaza: hii baartistes ya zamani: s: sawa baba yako/ mm? bo baliwaza sawa?
P: eh: bababa: hakuwa kuwaza kama: atafanya kintu: ya bantu banaona: alafu ni hivi: balifanya na mawazo ya kusema: mitafanya: eh: tamtam: eh?
P: hii tamtam: itafurahisha bantu pa muchezo/
P: sababu anapiga bantu banaanza kucheza/ anapika hapa: anasumbulia na bantu fulani/
inakuwa sawa trefon/
F: téléphone/ ndiyo/
P: eeh ao tes: trekes/
P: anafanya trekesi hapa...
P: ...bale ba ku mukini: banasikia/ kama humu mwiko vita: anasema: banaume mukuye huku:
P: paka kila moya anakamata fersi ao bintu gani/ unayua fersi? eh: mishale: nini: tout ça/ mubebe mbio mukuye huku/
P: ah oui/ sasa bale bana: eh? banasikia asema vita iko kule/ bale banaisha kutumia trekes/
P: et puis: [claps] kila muntu anabeba [claps] fusil yake: anatengenza:
P: banayua: fasi ile iko vita/ ni vile balikuwa nawaza: balikuwa na mawazo mukubwa: eh: balikuwa banafwata/ alafu ile mawazo: angaria baliyua ku: kufula kisu: ya kuchuna nake wanyama:
P: ao kuua nyama: na: fess/ eh? banao: bana: fanya:
F: [overlapping] flèche/
P: beko banaua nyama: oui/ alors: bana: banafanya hii yembe: mm?
F: ya kulima?
P: oui/ banafula:
P: et puis: tena soka/
P: bintu byote banafanya/ et puis na hii bunduki ya: ts: hii ya: [demonstrates] moya inatoka:
F: ndiyo/ ya: ya zamani/
P: ah oui/ ile ya zamani/
P: et puis: balifanya: juu yote ni mayele kuendelea: pamoya na muntu yote alikuwa tu na mayele: eh? ya polepole/
P: eh? sawa batoto beko banakuya banakomala: alafu banaanza kupandisha ile mayele/
P: sababu: mayele inatoka wapi? inatoka ku bababa mbele: na ku bankambo: et puis kiisha: njo mayele ?biki inakuya: inapanda inapanda/ na sasa: ?biki inakwenda/
F: bo: bale: banaita nani: baliitwa nani: ya: baforgerons?
P: forgeron est forgeron/
F: una: una: u: uliita [pauses] baliitwa nani mu: mu mugini?
P: baforgerons? bafundi/ bafundi/
P: bafundi benye kufula/
F: balikuwa bantu wa: [pauses] wa nguvu ah?
P: balikuwa bantu...
F: ...na mawazo: ba...
P: ...oui/ balikuwa bantu ba nguvu/ bengine banene: bengine...
F: na lawa mingi/
P: bengine ba kukomba:
P: alafu: beko na mawazo/ [claps]
P: paka ya bintu ya kufula/
F: na ba dawa mingi/
F: na wandawa/ na ndawa mingi/ balikuwa na ndawa?
P: ile dawa ya kusema: ile ya bandawa ni: ni bamandawa/ beko sawa bamandawa nabo beko sawa badocteurs/
P: eh? ba?fres: eko naguisha: eh: [claps] kufanya:
P: kuya pitia dis/
F: eh/ bon muzuri/
P: ...?...pas maintenant/ bon:
F: ...?... [chuckles] alafu: nazani: kama: kama bo balifanya kazi yabo: ah? sawa bafundi/ eh? ilifaa: kutayarisha/ kujitayarisha/
P: ah wale wafunzi:
P: wafunzi wale wa chasse/
F: [overlapping] beko: balikuwa na bwanga:
P: oui wa chasse/ eh? tuseme...
F: hata: hata baforgerons/
P: eh forgerons? ndiyo balikuwa na dawa/ njo kama kyuma kinatoka kule: kiishe kum: ukakamata ku maungo yake/
P: inapaswa kutambuka: ao kinamukamata [claps] paka hivi [claps] kinajima/
P: hapana kuyua kukata mukulu yake: ao kuyua kukata hivi/
P: maneno: iko kyuma uko anakamata hivi/ uko wa kupika: anakamata ile: diwe ingine likubwa hivi: iko anapika pale/
P: alors: saa ingine inaweza kutoka pale/
P: kyuma kinatoka na moto: ...?...pika nyuma: [claps] ...?... kumupika: alafu: hapa kunatoka bule/
P: hakuna gani: kilonda: hakuna nini/
F: juu ya dawa yake?
P: mm/ vile lawa inaachana...
F: [overlapping, to IS] I: I will ...?... check a little in translation/ because the text is very difficult here/ he speaks about protective magic of: of the smiths:
F: and: that they were fortified against: flying: you know: metal that would cut/
15. F: And when you think about it – those artists of the past, like you father, right? Did they think like that.
P: Well, (our) fathers did not think about making something for people to look at. It was like this: When they made something they thought, (for instance), I am going to make a drum, you understand?
P: This drum is going to bring joy to people when they dance.
P: Because when he beats (the drum) people start dancing. (Or he beats it here and talks to people (elsewhere). It’s like a telephone.
F: A telephone, yes.
P: Yes, or (like a) trekes.
P: He does a trekesi here...
F: (You mean he is sending) a telex.
P: ...and people over there in the village hear it. (For instance), if there is fighting in this place he may say, men, come here.
P: Then everyone of them picks up his fersi or whatever. You understand fersi? Arrows and that sort of things. Pick them up fast (the drummer tells them) and come here.
F: (Also) guns.
P: Ah, yes. So those people understand that there is fighting in that place, the others sent them a message.
P: Then everyone shoulders his gun and gets ready.
P: They know there is fighting in that place. That’s how (our predecessors) thought. They had important ideas and acted accordingly. About those ideas – look, they knew how to forge a knife (serving) to skin animals.
P: Or to kill an animal with a fess they made.
F: [overlapping] (With) an arrow.
P: They killed animals, yes. Furthermore, they made those hoes, right?
F: To farm with?
P: Yes, they forged (those).
P: And also soka.
P: They made all sorts of things, also those guns that – how shall I say? – [demonstrates] give off only one (shot).
F: Yes, the ones used long ago.
P: Ah yes, long ago.
P: Whatever they made, everything shows an ability to progress. Everyone makes progress with his ability, slowly, right?
P: Right? Take children, when they grow up they improve their abilities.
P: Because where do abilities come from? They come from the fathers, first, and from the ancestors. In the end, ability comes and keeps growing and then it is on its way.
F: What were forgerons (smiths) called?
P: A smith is a smith.
F: (But) what were they called in the village?
P: Smiths? Bafundi. Bafundi.
F: Bafundi (craftsmen).
F: I see.
P: Craftsmen who know how to forge.
F: The used to be [pauses] strong people, right?
P: They were people...
F: ...with ideas, they...
P: ...yes. They were strong people, some of the were big, ...
F: And (they used) many lawa (magic charms or medicines).
P: Some liked fighting.
P: Still, they had ideas.
P: About things to forge.
F: And they were people who used a lot of dawa.
F: (They were) people using dawa, a lot of them. Did they do that?
P: About those dawa, people who used them were medicine men, they were like doctors.
F: I see.
P: (Someone like that) would...?..., or practice divination and....
P: Come here.
F: Well, alright then.
P: ...?... not now. Fine.
F: ...?... [chuckles]. What I have in mind is, when they did their work, the smiths for instance. Right? They had to make preparations, prepare themselves.
P: Ah, those specialists.
P: Those who specialized on hunting.
F: [overlapping] They had magic charms...
P: Yes, hunting charms (if that’s what you mean). Let’s say...
F: But so did the smiths.
P: Well, the smiths? Yes, they had dawa, in case one got hit a piece of (hot) iron.
F: I see.
P: (A smith) had to pay attention or he might be hit (by a piece of meal) just like that unless it was cooled down.
P: Then it would not cut his foot or cut him elsewhere.
P: Because he holds the (piece of) metal like this and, to beat it, he picks up a big stone and when he beats it...
P: ... it sometimes can get away from him.
P: As he goes on beating the hot metal it may happen that it just slips away without causing damage.
P: Without wounding him.
F: (And that is because he is protected) by his charms?
P: Mm. There are different charms...
F: [overlapping, to IS] I, I will ...?...check a little in translation because the text is very difficult here. He speaks about protective magic of, of the smiths.
F: And, they were fortified against flying, you know, metal that would cut.
16. F: [to P] eyo/ sasa: bale bote: sawa baartistes bafundi na: baba yako ali: alijua kucheza/
P: eh: aliyua kupika/
F: kupika: kupika:
P: ile: tamtam/
F: sasa: nazani: zamani: bo: balikuwa kuwaza kama: sawa kazi yabo alikuwa kazi ya: ya bankambo: kazi ya: hata kazi ya mizimu:
F: hata kazi ya: kama tunasema kule mu luga: kule mu: ya vidye/
P: ah oui/
F: ni kusema: ni: ilikuwa kazi ya: hapana kazi ya kufanya franga/ ya kufanya: ya kupata/
P: ile: banakuwa nafanya: haina kazi ya kupata franga/ alafu: kama: wee uko wa napika ah?
P: kama wale wenye kucheza: kutakuwa bantu bengine: banakuwa kuleta franga/
P: [overlapping] ao kuleta byuma/
P: hata: ile: nini: ts:
F: kuku ao...
P: ah oui ao kuku: ao ile kuriyé/ ile kuriyé unayua: ile banatungaka hivi/
F: ...?... collier?
F: ah: kauri/
P: oui: s’est ça/ alors: banaleta/
P: sasa banaleta ile: na yee anakamata/
F: mm/ ni vile/ ni vile/
P: alafu: wee uko analumbata mu pori: ni juu: ya ku: profiter: kulya: tena na: kuuzisha/
F: eeh/ ndiyo/
P: na kama unavua samaki mingi: anakuya kuuzisha: bengine banakulya: bengine anakabula bandugu yake: eh: kama anaua nyama: ingine anakulya: ingine anakabula: ingine anauzisha/
F: ni vile baba/ okay wa sasa wee unachoka/
F: nazani bali: bali...
P: unapashwa kusema/
F: nilikuwa: tulikuwa ...
F: sumbulia sumbulia: about this and that
P: ah: c’est ça/
F: alafu hapana maneno/ tutaweza kurudia siku ingine/
F: ni paka kuanza/ sasa kama wee unajua sisi twiko na bintu mingi na...?... ah?
F: si namna: si namna ya kutosha mara moya/
F: inafaa kukutana: na: kupatana sawa sawa comme ça/
P: mm mm/
F: kupatana siku ingine tutaweza kurudia/
P: mm mm/
F: aksanti sasa baba: minafunga sasa...?...
P: ahah/ eh: inaweza kusema?
[end of tape]
16. F: [to P] I see. Now, all of them, artists and craftsmen – take your father who knew how to dance.
P: Well, he knew how to beat.
F: Beat, beat...
P: ...that drum.
F: Now, what I thought was that, in the past, such people thought that their work was guided by their ancestors, even by spirits.
F: It was work of vidye, as we say in that language there (in kiLuba).
P: Ah yes.
F: In other words, it was not the kind of work one did to make money, to be paid for.
P: What they did was not the kind of work (one does) to earn money. However, if you would beat (the drum), right?
P: I could happen that the dancers or other people who were there brought money.
P: [overlapping] Or they brought pieces of metal.
P: You understand?
F: Pieces of metal.
P: Or those -- what do you call them? -- ts.
F: Chicken or...
P: ...ah yes, either a chicken or those kuriyé. You know kurié, the ones they put on a string.
F: (To make) a necklace?
F: Ah, kauri (shells).
P: Yes, that’s it. So, they brought them.
P: They brought those and he accepted them.
F: Mm. Right, right.
P: (To give you another example) If you are someone who goes hunting in the bush you do this because you want to get something out of it, something to eat or to sell.
F: Eh, yes.
P: And when a person catches a lot of fish he goes on to sell it. Some eat it, others share it with their relatives. And when a person kills an animal, he eats some of it, some he hands out, some he sells.
F: That’s how it is, baba. Okay, you are tired now.
F: I think they....
P: You should go on talking.
F: I have been, we have been...
F: ...talking at length.
P: Ah, that’s right.
F: But it doesn’t matter (if we stop now), we can come back some other day.
F: It’s just a beginning. Now you know that we have lots of things (to talk about), right?
F: There is no way to bring it up all at once.
F: We have to meet (again) and get used to each other that way.
P: Mm mm.
F: Thanks for now, baba, I am going to stop (the recorder) now.
P: Ahah. Eh, can this be played back?
[end of tape]
 As in the second conversation with Mwenze, Ilona Szombati (IS) was present and intervened.
 Pilipili literally says: Does it speak now? But the context indicates that he wants to know whether speech is being recorded.
 I am repeating the term Pilipili used, matata, which is here a euphemism for what was a full-fledged military mutiny and revolt against Belgian rule (1944).
 Pilipili pronounces the term differently each time he uses it. Some time after completing this text I found that it refers to a company, Messageries Automobiles du Sankuru (a transportation company liking the Kasai with Kinshasa and Katanga, founded in 1930).
 Pililpili says baton, which must be his pronunciation of bateau, boat, but he meant the train. Kamina is a railway node. The term mashua can means both, a (steam) boat or a locomotive.
 TP, Travaux Publiques, the public works department of Elisabetville, now Lubumbashi.
 The colonial name of the capital of Burundi was Usumbura, changed to Bujumbura after Independence in 1962.
 The term sounds like kufia, to die, but it may be a sloppy pronunciation of kufika, to arrive.
 Probably Pointe-Noire, a port in the former French Congo.
 Literally, muzimu means spirit, ghost. Pilipili then paraphrases it as statue. In par. 11 below we settle on the Swahili term for statue, sanamu.
 At this point, the chronology gets confusing when Pilipili moves back to the forties to put a date on the first exhibition showing his work. About the royal visit see Tshibumba’s History of Zaire (http://www.lpca.socsci.uva.nl/aps/tshibumba1a.html), First Session, par. 40)
 I must have found it unlikely that Pilipili would have been exhibited in 1947 and made a (failed) attempt to get the date and place of that exhibition. The municipal theater, decorated by painters of the Desfossés school, opened in 1956 (see http://www.elisabethville-lubumbashi.be/english/atheatr.htm accessed July 2011).
 The reference is to the painter Chenge Baruti (formerly Barnabé Berquin).
 The words marked incomprehensible could “touring show” (in English).
 Here and especially in the following paragraph (“Rieze”) Pilipili pronounces foreign language terms, especially names and place names, such that they are difficult to recognize when transcribing. It is even more difficult to represent them (and our occasional exchanges about them) in the translation.
 This is one of the occasions when Pilipili wants to make sure that a term or expression is part of my repertoire.
 “Rieze” is his pronunciation, with several variants, of Liège, which I use in the following. I have been unable to figure out what exactly the percentages given here and later mean.
 I did not recognize a verb –sheria or –sharia at the time (despite the “I see”) nor can I find it now. I assume that Pilipili meant to say -heshimia, to honor.
 Société Générale d’Electricité, the power company.
 Moto is a polysemic term. It can mean fire, heat, but also electrical current.
 He says something like crerage, for éclairage.
 The Cinquantenaire, a park and complex of buildings, among them the municipal theater, was built to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the mining and railroad companies (UMHK and BCK) in 1956.
 Lycée Kiwele, the former Athneé Royal, still houses the Academy, now (2011) called Institut des Beaux Arts.
 In the recorded conversation I added a German gloss to make sure I understood this.
 Here I am jumping to my next question while Pilipili tries to get the date right.
 The highest decoration under the Mobutu regime. I was teasing Pilipili with my question.
 Pilipili says course, meaning concours.
 This passage is confusing. In 1960 Victor Lundula (1910-2001) was appointed commander-in-chief of the ANC, the National Army of the Congo. When Lumumba was removed from office Lundula was replaced by General Mobutu. In 1966 he became “premier chancelier des ordres nationaux congolais” and could as such have decorated Pilipili. For a survey of cultural policy under Mobutu’s regime see a UN sponsored study by Bokongo Ekanga Botombele: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0001/000190/019083eo.pdf (accessed July 2011). He mentions a special award for artists and men of letters, the Médaille du Mérite des Arts et des Lettres.
 For some reason I say here and again later “Delafossée.”
 For what we would call literacy Pilipili uses mukanda, lit. a letter, a term full of colonial connotations when it referred to identity papers, travel permits, and other documents.
 In view of what Mwenze and the Katanga genre painters recalled, this sounds odd, even taking into account that Pilipili was much older than most of them. Of course it adds drama to his story of being discovered.
 See par. 4, note 9.
 Could also be Mukundi.
 The phrase I hear could be sale villain, dirty bastard.
 Work as a house boy used to be called (kazi ya) mustik, pronounced (and sometimes written) like French moustique, mosquito, short for domestique, servant, a source of amusement for their employers.
 Here I made a mistake. Instead of –fundisha, to teach, I said, -funda, to learn.
 I took me a while to realize that mil was Pilipili’s pronunciation of mur, wall in French. Did he mean to say that he experimented with painting on walls (something that his fellow student, Mwenze, reported in our conversation)?
 Pilipili uses the Swahili term first (arisi, or alisi in his pronunciation) and then translates it for me as histoire, history or story. My translation echoes the customary introduction to a story when the speaker begins with arisi njo, the story us this, and the audience responds njo arisi, this is the story.
 When the Katanga Secession ended.
 I say utoto yake, it should have been utoto yako. Mistakes like this did not confuse Pilipili. See also the following where he interprets the “village” in my question as the country nearby.
 In the transcript the phrase is kule ku materritoires, referring to the so-called territorial administration in the rural regions of the Belgian Congo.
 Pilipili says nilifwata jina yake, I followed his name (or reputation).
 The term I use, kucheza, can mean “to play (an instrument).” Pilipili understood in its principal signification, “to dance.”
 Seeming repetitions in this passage are due to my problems with Pilipili’s ways with French term téléphone he pronounces trefon; fusil, a gun, is fers(i); flèche, arrow, becomes fess or fess and a trekes is a télex.
 The usual terms are jembe and shoka, often used interchangeably although the difference may be between a hoe and an adze.
 Like elsewhere in this text this translation is in part a conjecture based on the context. I have been unable to make out the mining of biki.
 As the following shows my question was aimed at the power smiths had. I should have said uwezo rather nguvu, physical strength.
In the Standard Dictionary the verb kukomba has a different meaning (“hollow out”). In Katanga Swahili a reciprocal form is the usual one, kukombana, fight (among) each other.
 A child briefly interrupted the conversation.
 Here I chose a Luba term current in Katanga Swahili, bwanga, to make sure Pilipili understood that I was not thinking of medicines used by healers.
 Pilipili corrected me because he understood the verb –cheza as “to dance” while I meant “to play” (an instrument).
 Pronounced like French courrier, mail.
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