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ISSN: 1570-0178

Volume 17 (7 February 2018)

 

   

 

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Swahili is elephant meat:
A play by Mufwankolo and two members of his troupe

transcribed, translated, and commented by

Johannes Fabian

University of Amsterdam

e-mail: johfabian  [at]  t-online.de

 

 

Transcript and Translation

Summary and Brief Contents

Commentary

References

Notes

 

 

Transcript and Translation

On June 19, 1985 I recorded Swahili ni nyama ya tembo, Swahili is elephant meat, with Mufwankolo Kyembe Kaswili (M), Sakina Nshima Kitumbika.(S), and Kalwasha Mawej'a Kabwiz' (K) at the home of Joseph and Colette Dassas in Lubumbashi (the recording is available for download in mp3 file format, file size is 10MB). The play was followed by a demonstration of Swahili accents typical of speakers of Tshokwe, Bemba, and Tshiluba and by three brief sketches with Europeans (Belgian and Greek) speaking Swahili. [link to recording:

I am grateful to Dr. Ibio Nzunguba (see vol. 9 of this archive) for reviewing the transcript.

 

1. M: angaria/ mi ni safari ya ya kwenda mu kazi hapa sasa/
S: eheh/
M: kama uko na mambo ingine ya kuiambia: unaweza kuniambia/
S: ahah/ hakuna mambo/ nitakuelezea mambo gani? naanza paka kumuangaria paka Sondashi huyu hafanya kazi yote: na yo ataenda mu soko/
M: eheh/
S: eheh/
M: hauna na lazima kintu?
S: hapana: Makuta yote si niko naye itayale/
M: bon/ minazungake/
S: muzuri/
M: bon: tutaonana saa ingine/
S: tutaonana nje/ [claps] Sondashi? [pause] hayakuya bado/

1. M: Look, I am on my way to work right now.
S: Yes.
M: If you have something to tell you can tell me.
S: No, there is nothing. What is it I should explain to you? It's just that I begin to observe this Sondashi who did not do all the work (before) he was to go to the market.
M: I see.
S: Yes.
M: Is there nothing you need?
S: No, I have all the money (I need). It will be more than enough.
M: Alright, I should be on my way.
S: Fine.
M: Alright, we'll see each other later.
S: We'll see each other. [claps] Sondashi? [pause] He isn't not back yet.

 

2. K: eeeh/ …?...eeh/ Citoyen directeur/
M: ni nini tena?
K: mishee: mi iko nafutafuta: kaMakuta ya: ya dispensaire: eh/ mi niko nafutafuta kwenda kwa munganga wa:…
M: ni Makuta ngapi?
K: munganga iko anasema: wee iko: unaleta: dix Zaire/ mu siku moya/
M: dix Zaire siku moya?
K: ouii/
M: bon sasa utakuwa na siku ngapi?
K: mwiko nafwata siku kumi na tano/
M: aah njo hapa cent cinquante Zaire/
K: cent cinquante eh: cent cinquante Zaire na eeh/
M: bon/ [sounds of counting out bills]
K: ahah/
M: dix: vingt: trente:
K: [overlapping] trente:
M: quarante: cinquante: soixante: septante: quatre vingt: nonante: cent/ cent dix: cent vingt: cent trente: cent quarante: cent cinquante/
K: aaah/ melisi melisi:
M: inaenea?
K: oh inaenea c'est fini: aah ça ta y est/ [chuckles] eh eh/ kumbe vile niko nitapona na lawa kwa munganga: eh? ah: huyu diricteur wangu iko très bien: très bien kabisa kweli/ [chuckles] hee hee hee/ cent cinquante/ hee teeh/ [calling aloud] bwana/ citoyen/
M: nini tena?
K: wee iko unasababwa/ wee iko unasababwa/
M: minasahabu nini?
K: falanga ya transporter/
M: ni pale kuniamba mara moja pale: sasa minakwenda na miye: mitakwenda narudia/ hawezi nitachelewa mu kazi/ ni ngapi?
K: bwana: transporter/
M: ni ngapi?
K: wee iko nayua: hata wee iko unakupa kacinquante/ maneno ya kupanda motokari/
M: cinquante Zaire ya transport?
K: eeheeh: transporter/
M: [sounds of counting out bills] vingt/ trente/ quarante/ cinquante/ inenea?
K: aah iko inenea/ melisi melisi melisi/
M: kam…?... [pauses] kama munganga anakutunza eh?
K: ndiyo bwana/
M: unarudia pa nyumba: unapumuzika/
K: ndiyo/
M: juu ya wee kupata nguvu: pa wee kurudia kazi mangaribi/ unasikia eh?
K: ndiyo: ndiyo/
M: hapana kulofa mu kazi mangaribi eh?
K: hapana/ mi iko nakwenda kama iko namutwanga shindano:
M: mm/
K: ba iko banakupa tshimakinini: wiko: wiko nakwenda kulala tshiloko bwana/ eh? siku inakuya mingi [chuckles] hee hee/
M: hapana kutumia pombe/
K: hapana: hapana/ ooh pombe hapana: bwana/ [chuckles] hee hee/ [to himself] ah/ alafu kweli huyu: sefu yangu wa mu kazi: iko mutemi yee/ iko nafanya kazi paka muzuri kabisa/ iko nankupa tu malawa: wee iko navitunza muzuri kabisa/ aaah/ iko nguvo unafanya kazi mingi siku mingi yazaa/ [chuckles] hee hee/ iko muzuri kabisa kweli/ ça fwaa/ ahh/ kwende kwanza kalale ku dispensee/

 

2. K: Hey …?... Mr. Director.
M: What is it?
K: Monsieur, I am looking for a little money for the dispensary. I want to go to the doctor of…
M: How much money is it?
K: The doctor said yes, you bring ten Zaire, for one day.
M: Ten Zaire for one day?
K: Yes.
M: Alright. Now, how many days will you have.
K: I go for fifteen days.
M: So, here are one hundred and fifty Zaire.
K: One hundred and fifty, yes. Hundred and fifty Zaire, yes.
M: Alright. [sounds of counting out bills]
K: Ahah.
M: Ten, twenty, thirty:
K: [overlapping] Twenty.
M: forty, fifty, sicty, seventy, eighty, ninety, hundred and ten, hundred and twenty, hundred and thirty, hundred and forty, hundred and fifty.
K: Aah, thanks, thanks.
M: Is that enough?
K: Oh that's enough, definitely Aah, that's it. …?... [chuckles] eh eh. So, I'll get healthy with the doctor's medicine, right? Ah, this director or mine is very good, truly very good. [chuckles] Hee, hee, hehehee, hundred and fift. he, teh. [calling aloud] Bwana, citizen.
M: What else?
K: You forget. You forget (something).
M: I forget what?
K: Money for transportation.
M: (You should) have told me (when you asked for money). Now I am leaving, I am going to leave and will be back. I must not be late at work. How much is it?
K: Bwana, transportation.
M: How much is it?
K: You know (how much), just give (me) some fifty (Zaire) Because (I want) take a car.
M: Fifty Zaire for transportation?
K: Yes, for transportation.
M: [sounds of counting out bills) Twenty, thirty, forty, fifty. Is that enough?
K: Ah, that's enough. Thanks, thanks, thanks.
M: …?... [pauses] When the doctor has taken care of you, right?
K: Yes, bwana.
M: You go back home and take a rest.
K: Yes.
M: So that you get the strength to come back to work in the afternoon. You understand?
K: Yes, yes.
M: Don't hang around instead of working in the afternoon, right?
K: No, I go (and see whether) they give me an injection.
M: Mm.
K: They give me some quinine. Then I go and take just a nap, bwana. You understand? The day is long (lit. the day is a lot). [chuckles] Hee hee.
M: Don't take beer.
K: No, no. Ooh, no beer, bwana. [chuckles] Hee hee hee. [to himself] Ah, really, this boss of mine at work, he is a chief. He only does excellent work. He gives (you) excellent remedies so that you get healthy. Aah. They give you the strength to do a lot of work for many productive days. [chuckles] Hee hee. This is really good. Alright. Aah. Now you should be off to wait at the dispensary.

 

3. S: Sondashi/ Sondashi/
K: mandam/
S: kuya upeshi baba ya kufanya kazi minaenda mu soko/
K: pilisan?
S: eeh: kulopa mbele mu nyumba/ kulopa mu nyumba sawa she masahani/ ah? kufanya upeshi upeshi juu ya kwenda mu soko/ chamuka dare dare/
K: hm: bashi vile wenyewe iko nasema: madame …?...mi nakwenda mu soko/ mitafanya hivi: fikolopo finyefi fya kutumika navfye: ni fini kupasuka/
S: sasa nikupatie kikwembe ya humu?
M: sasa: mitakolopa: pasipo sabuni? masahani uta: utasafisha na fintu gain?
S: acha kunisafisha kazi upeshi upeshi/
K: madamu/ unaona hifi masahani iko naona [sound putting down plates] ?kinene ya kusema kama minabeba ile: paka niko na sabuni/ minasafisha na sabuni/ ule sabuni: kama unaacha hivi file/ fitakuwa na: na mafuta/
S: angarie pa étagère pale tu na sabuni: na wee ufanya upesi: na pime yo iko kati/
M: meresi: meresi madame/ ahh/ bon/ musuri/ vile minayua masahani/

 

3. S: Sondashi! Sondashi!
K: Madame.
S: Hurry, baba, …?... to do (your) work. I am off to the market.
K: Yes?
S: Eh, start with sweeping in the house. Sweep in the house, wash the plates for us. Right? Do it really quick because you go to the market. Do the cleaning up real quick.
K: Hm, since Madame said that she goes to the market, this is what I'll do, because the rags (I need) to work with are worn out.
S: Now, should I give you (a piece of) wrap I am wearing?
K: No, am I going to do the wiping without soap? What are you going to clean the plates with?
S: Just do the cleaning work for me, real fast.
K: Madame. You see the plates here [sound of putting down plates]. As I told you, I take the big one (to the table) only if I have soap. I clean (them) with soap. If you do it without soap, they'll be greasy.
S: Look for soap there on the shelf. Hurry up, try (to find it), it is there.
K: Thanks, thanks, Madame. Ah, alright, fine, now I know about the plates.

 

4. S: Sondashi/
K: pelesan/
S: kuya mbio: kuya mbele: kuya/
K: minakuya mama/
S: eeh: kamata nani: ah?
K: ah/
S: unaisha ku: kusafisha masahani?
K: ndiyo: minaisha kusafisha/
S: bon: kamata cinq cent Zaire: wende mu soko/ chamuka upeshi/
K: niende mu ile soko?
S: ahaah/
K: nikause kintu gani? file wee wenyewe unaniambia di: wende mu ile soko?
S: wende kuuza nani: deux kilo nyama ya mbuzi ah?
K: aah/
S: uza naa: na samaki mukavu: ya cent vingt/
K: ya cent fent?
S: eheh/ samaki mukavu: na: na mutete: ya dix Zaire: ngaingai: ha?
K: oui/
S: ya quinze Zaire/
K: ya quinsse Zaire?
S: mm/ uza na: tomate na mutungulu tout ça sawa vile unauzaka siku yote/
K: aah vyikuya kufanya sauce tena eh?
S: eheeh/
K: mm/
S: chamuka: wende upeshi/
K: bon/ sasa: kwanza nione kitunga kule ?mingi yake eh? ahh: ni kitunga inyewe …?...inakuwa musuri yake: eh/ nikapeleke kwanza ku litriss/
S: ungali minasema nini mule? si niko nabeba kitunga? pale ?uba shiliki: Swahili yako mi shiyashikia muzuri/ kiSwahili ka kiloko unasema vile …?... sawa ni kabila gani?
K: heehee/ mama/ unayua kiKiswahili ni nyama ya ntembo/ hakuna kulya yake unakiisha/ kama unakulya kiSwahili: unaacha kipande kipande kipande kingine unaachia yako wensyako/
S: kwende mupeshi/
K: aeeh/ njo file/ …?...tshi ni nyama ya ntembo: unaniambia kinkule cha kwetu? ah: [chuckles] heehee/ wee unaona asema kiSwahili ni ku kyesi/ kiko nguvu/ aahh/ acha kwanza miende mu ile soko/ haha/ huyu mama nayee kweli: kama minaanza kwenda mwisho kupaka wa akiri yetu: kya kwimbo takia kwimbo: aah: [sings] 06:6 nariyeye ku tshintu mpee …. 06.40 ahaah/ hii kweli/ kama minakumbuka: sinakumbuka kweetu kule ku mushii/ kule ku ?mwandala/ pale kama tunakuwa tunasansamuka muzuri sana: [chuckles] heeheehee/ uacha kwanza: niende mu marke kyunge kama minakutana vintu fisuri fya kuusa: niuse vile balisema kilo ya nyama: tomato: lengalenga: na hii mafuta vyote/ niuse/ nikuwe navyo/ nyo niende nimupelekee nyama quatre kilo/ ahah/ haa: musuri sana/ vyee/ ahah: niingie kwanza mu hii marketi humu eh? niuse fintu/

 

4. Sondashi.
K: Here.
S: Come, quick. Come first. Come.
K: I'm coming, mama.
S: Eh, take this – what's it called. Right?
K: Yes.
S: Have you finished cleaning the plates?
K: Yes, I finished cleaning.
S: Take five hundred Zaire, go to the market, hurry up.
K: I am to go to this market?
S: Yes.
K: What should I buy, since you are telling me go to this market?
S: Go and buy – what was it again? – two kilos of goat meat, you understand?
K: Yes.
S: Buy also dried fish for one hundred and twenty (Zaire).
K: For hundred and twenty?
S: Yes. Dried fish, and mutete for ten Zaire. (And) ngaingai, right?
K: Yes.
S: For fifteen Zaire.
K: For fifteen Zaire?
S: Mm. Buy tomatoes and onions, everything as you always buy.
K: Ah, stuff to make the sauce, right?
S: Yes.
K: Mm.
K: Alright. Now I should first find her basket among the many there. Ah, this basket of hers is nice. I should put it in the laundry room.
S: Wait, what did I say there? Won't I take the basket (when I go to the market)? …?... I don’t really understand your Swahili. Where does the little Swahili you speak come from (lit. what kind is it)?
K: Heehee. Mama. You know that kiSwahili is elephant meat. There is no way you can eat all of it. When you eat Swahili you leave piece after piece for another person like you.
S: Hurry up.
K: Hey, that's how it goes. …?... it is elephant meat. If you were telling me something in the language from where come from -- ah, [chuckles] hee hee. You consider Swahili easy. It is difficult. Aahh.
Enough (of that), I should go to that market. Haha, this mama, she is really someone. I should finally be off and rely on our understanding as it is says in a song, aah [sings]: ?nariyeye ku tshintu mpee… 06:6-06:40 Ahaah. That's really it. When I think back I remember home, there in the village. There in …?... when we were there we got a lot out of it (lit. squeezed it nicely). [chuckles] Heeheehee. But now I should go to the market …?... and see whether I find good things to buy. As I was told, I should buy kilos of meat, tomato, lengalenga, and that oil, all of that. I should buy it. I should have it and go to bring her four kilos of meat. Ahah. Haa, very well. …?... Aah, now I should go into this market here, right? Buy stuff.

 

5. M: eeeeh: Sumisi/
K: persan/
M: ulikuwa wapi?
K: bwana niliku: niko ni eeh: niko nilitengenesha ile mafata/ mafarde yote ilikuwa mule mu bureau: ilikuwa iko inakuye mubaya/ ni vumbi pamodya/ njo nilikuwa niko natengenesha: minasema kama: directeur iko anaikutana mu bureau mwiko ni buchafu: iko ananifokea/
M: bon: hii mafate ya mu bureau gani ile?
K: ile ya: bilo di: personnel/
M: ah lote unawaya unapata pamoya yote?
K: ndiyo/ nilikuwa natengenesha polepole: minaangaria: yakina argent/ he? iko niweka pamoja eh/ kule nipanga: pamoja pamoja: maneno iko nasema: kama iko napaaribika: iko nasema ooh planton iko nafanya: les dérangements/
M: yee chef du personnel: eko fasi gani?
K: chef du personnel iko nisema: iko nakwenda kunywa kamazhimba tshiloko ku: ni café/
M: iko saa ya kazi ou bien saa ya kwenda ku macafé?
K: aah: tshile mi hapana kuyua bwana/ bashi mi muntu moja mi niko planton wako/ mi hapana kuyua tshintu tshingini/
M: ah bon/ angarie/ kama unaisha kutengeneza eh?
K: ndiyo/
M: ukuya kumutume eh?
K: ndiyo/ eh: miliisha kufwankila: minaona sasa mu misère/ minafutafuta: ku: fanya sawa: kakashi ya ku: fwankila inje tu thiloko/ iko niliisha tu paka sasa bwana/
M: bon; kuya ku mbele huku/
K: ndiyo/
M: angaria/ [pauses] weye uko planton wa zamani/
K: ndiyo: chefu/
M: bon/ mukanda inatoka ku Kinshasa: inakuya sasa: weye: mara ingine utakuwa: mukubwa wa baplantons bote haba eko/
K: aaah/ iko ni fulaha/ eh eh mama wangu mema mi: mi nilikala bimpa be/
M: tiens/ unasema kiSwahili: unasema cha kule wenu?
K: directeur wangu iko nayua asema tshiSaudi: iko nyama ya ntembo/ hapana kutshikula kutshimana/ kama iko unasema tshiSaudi iko nyama na ntembo/ ntembo iko munene: wee ni muntu modya/ utaisha: nyama yake? shi unakulya tshiloko tshiloko: hapana kumumana eh?
M: unakuansia muzuri: kumumana njo kintu gani?
K: shi unakulya tshiloko? tshiloko: tshiloko: tshiloko/ lakini wee iko ni shinda/
M: aah: wee uko mu pa Kasai?
K: eeh/ mi iko njo ile: ni iko cha kwetu: niko nilisema pole pole [chuckles] heheheh/ tshiSaudi: mi hapana kuyua musuri/
M: ah bon/ minasikia/ bon: angaria: utakuwa chefu ya baplantons wote he?
K: ndiyo bwana/
M: mikanda inaisha kuya/ nawaza: kiisha mwezi: aah: Makuta yako itaongezeka/
K: aaah/ melisi/ melesi/ melisi/ milinke/
M: lakini mi siseme kama kama unakuwa mukubwa wa baplantons bote: njo kwanza kufansia yaudi hapana eh? hapana: bakutumisha tu kazi vile inapashwa/ unasikia?
K: ndiyo/
M: eeh?
K: ndiyo/
M: kazi ni kazi: inakuwa kutumikisha na vile inapashwa: wee angaria kazi yote muzuri: hii mabureaux yote inakuwa: propre: eh?
K: eeh sasa nili niko nifanya mi moja/ mi moja niko ni kutengenesha: niko nafanya tshintu yota/ sasa namuna gani nitakatala kufanya recommendation? mitafanya recommendation mimi planton benzangu/ bote minafanya pamodya sawa mi/
M: kiisha utawaambia wale wote eh? na wee pamoya: kesho mangaribi: mutakwenda kwa tailleur/
K: ndiyo/
M: kule mu avenue Babemba/
K: ndiyo/
M: numéro soixante/
K: ndiyo/
M: atakwenda kumipima: na mesure/
K: eeh/
M: ya kumishonesha maabacost/
K: aah/
M: ...?... kazi/
K: [rejoycing] aah: eeeeh: iko musuri/ musuri kabisa/ iko nivwala ni abakosa/ [laughs] hahah/
M: abakos/
K: abakos/
[pause, recording stopped]

 

5. M: Eeeh, (let's see). Sumisi.
K: I'm here.
M: Where were you?
K: Bwana, I was, eeh, I put all the folders in order that were there in an office. They were in a mess and they were collecting dust. That's what I was cleaning up. I told myself when the director finds that office dirty he is going to scold me.
M: Alright. Which was the office with those folders?
K: That was the office of personnel.
M: Ah, you took the time to get all of them (together)?
K: Yes, as I was cleaning up slowly I looked (and saw) there was money. I put (all this) together because I told myself, if I make a mess he'll say, oh, the planton caused disorder.
M: The chief of personnel, where is he?
K: The chief of personnel – I'd say he went out to for a while to a café to drink a few small Simba (beers).
M: Is it working hours or time to go out to cafes?
K: Aah, that I don't know, bwana. He is (his own) man, I am your planton. I don't know anything else.
M: Alright then. Look, when you are finished putting things in order, right?
K: Yes.
M: You come, I have something for you (to do), you understand?
K: Yes. Eh, when I was through with sweeping I felt miserable. I was looking for some little work to do, sweep a little outside, which I just finished, bwana.
M: Alright, come here then.
K: Yes.
M: Look. [pauses] You have been a planton for a long time.
K: Yes, boss.
M: Alright. There is a letter from Kinshasa that just came in. You may become the head of all the plantons here.
K: Aah, this is something to rejoyce in. Well, well, my dear mother. I remain speechless.
M: Look, do you speak Swahili, or the language from where you come from?
K: My director, you are someone who knows that Swahili is like elephant meat. There is no way you can eat it all. When you speak Swahili is elephant meat. An elephant is big, you are just one person. Are you going to finish its meat? Aren't you going to take small bites without kumumana?
M: You begin nicely, what is this kumumana?
K: Aren't you going to eat it just little by little, one small bit after the other, but you are not going to make it.
M: Aah, are you from Kasai?
K: Yes. That's it, (it shows) where I come from, I speak slowly [chuckles] heh heh heh. I don't know Swahili well.
M: Alright then, I understand. Alright. Look, you are going to be the chief of all the plantons, you understand?
K: Yes, bwana.
M: The papers have arrived. I think, after a month you'll get more money.
K: Aah, thanks, thanks, thanks, milinke.
M: However, I am not saying that, once you are the head of all the plantons, you should not begin to cause trouble, right? No, you make them work properly. You understand?
K: Yes.
M: Right?
K: Yes.
M: Work is work. It is to be carried out as required. You have a good look at all the work (and see to it that) all the offices are clean, right?
K: Well, as of now I have done this myself. I alone do the cleaning up, I do everything. How should I refuse to do this as recommended? I'll do as I, a planton, am ordered. I work with all the likes of me.
M: Then you tell all of them that the they, and you as well, should go to a tailor towmorrow afternoon.
K: Yes.
M: There on Babemba Avenue.
K: Yes.
M: Number sixty.
K: Yes.
M: He is going to take your measurements.
K: I see.
M: To have Abacosts [from à bas le costume] made for you…
K: …I see.
M: (To wear) at work.
K: [rejoycing] Ah, eeeh that's good, really good. I'll be wearing an Abacost. [laughs] Hahah.
M: An Abacost.
K: An Abacost.
[pause, recording stopped]

 

6. M: bon/ eeeh/ huyu mwengine iko hapa?
K: mi niko ni mupa mikande: iko nakwenda kupeleka: esen: eh: zeta/
M: SNCZ eh?
K: aah/ njo kule iko napeleka ni mu gare/
M: sasa waingine wapili?
K: ungine? iko na: fanya mule mu cave/ iko na kolopa/
M: ahah/ ni mzuri/ angarie/ hapa sasa eh? nitafuta kukutuma kwanza mbele: wende ku boucherie eh?
K: aah/
M: he?
K: ndiyo/
M: sababu sitake kutuma bale bengine hapana: weye uko muntu moya wa kweli: hata na bibi ku nyumba ah? anakusikiaka sana zaidi/
K: eeh mi iko muntu musuri: tshipimo yangu hii: bashi niko nifanye tena tshintu gani?
M: bon ongoye nifansiaka mukanda à crayon/
K: ndiyo/
M: [sound of writing on paper] eeh: Citoyen: [pauses] umupatieko: [pauses] planton wangu: [pauses] quatre kilo: [pauses] ya nyama ya filet/ [pauses, sounds of writing] aksanti/ bon/ mukanda yo ile/ na Makuta ndani: eh? [clears his throat, sounds of handling paper] bon/ angali/
K: ndiyo/
M: kama unatoka ku boucherie: upitepite directement:
K: ku nyumba eh?
M: ku nyumba eh/
K: iko nakwenda kumupa mama?
M: ndiyo/ bon/ uongoye kama sasa: eeh: nikupatie tena mukanda ingine/ kama unfika ku nyumba eh?
K: ndiyo/
M: [pauses] umuambie mama yako: [pauses] akate kipande ya mnofu/ apikepike: anatwanga hivi eh?
K: iko na: iko ni ipike?
M: ndiyo/
K: italiya/ shi iko mu tshiSaudi kama uko napige iko nalia maame maaame/
M: ah hapana vile/
K: ah/
M: ni hivi/
K: aaaah: iko nakosa tshiloko tshiloko/
M: apana kukata kiloko kiloko
K: eheh/
M: kufanya sawa anatwanga kiloko kiloko/ kuranya sawa anatwanga kiloko hivi sawa/ inalekee/
K: iko nawaza ni mu twangiyo/
M: hatake kiumia ata hata: ni nkopo tu/
K: aaah/
M: aipikapika kile/
K: aah/ tshiloko tshiloko: tshiloko tshiloko M: [overlapping] kalanga pa mafuta/
K: aaaaah/ iko nafanya: cuisine musudi?
M: ndiyo/
K: ahah/
M: njo tukuwe kulya pa midi: kiisha nitayezhie: pommes de terre nature/
K: ah/ pommes de terre?
M: nature/
K: na: nature? pommes: de terre nature/ pommes: de terre nature: eheh/ niko nayua sasa/
M: ni kama: …?... kama wee unafanya vile: yee atayua ni nini eh?
K: eheh/
M: okee/ bon/ [clears his throat] bon: ushimie directement ku nyumba eh?
K: ndiyo/
M: ukaleka paka ça y est/ okee: yote/
K: merci/ iko nikwende/ [to himself] ah: hee/ tiens tiens iko nasema yee/ tshiSaudi ya wee kama unasema: kama iko Swahili gai? kama iko tshiSwahili gai? kama tu: ah iko nikwende: iko niseme: eeh: hmm: wapi/ uache uache/ inye kilo quatre/ kilo ya nyama/ iko nikwenda naye kooo: iko nikwenda naye: uaah/ hapana/ niko namutelea [?namuletea] kwa directeur/ maneno kama iko nafika hivi: iko nafika musuri: watanipa mupete/ tena nitakuwa mu ?kugu kashu: nitakuwa musuri/ niko nakulya na batoto: aah/ hapana kukamata tu nakuwa katshichwe sawa: ka soso mayi: uko nakwenda kubeba bintu hii binyewe unakwenda ku amish/ eh/ ku nyumba: kunia kwa directeur/

 

6. Alright. Let's see, is this other guy here?
K: I gave him the letters and he went to bring them to esenzeta.
M: SNCZ (the railway company)?
K: Yes, that’s were he takes them, it inside the railway station.
M: Now, what about the other two?
K: Another? He is busy there in the basement, sweeping.
M: Ahah, that's good. Look, right now I want to send you first to the butcher's, you understand?
K: I see.
M: Right?
K: Yes.
M: Because I don't want to send those others. You are a truthful person. And the wife at home, she really understands you, right?
K: Eeh, I am a good person; that is what I try (to be). So, what else should I do?
M: Alright, wait, I' ll write a letter with a pencil.
K: Yes.
M: [sound of writing on paper] Well, Citoyen, [pauses] give [pauses] my planton [pauses] four kilos [pauses] of tenderloin. [pauses, more sounds of writing] Thank you. Alright, here is the letter, the money is inside, right? [clears his throat, sounds of handling paper] Alright. Wait.
K: Yes.
M: When you leave the butcher's go on right away…
K: …to the house?
M: To the house, yes.
K: Am I going to give mama (what I bought)?
M: Yes. Alright. Wait, let's see, now I should give you another letter. When you come to the house, right?
K: Yes.
M: [pauses] Tell your mama [pauses] she should cut a piece of meat and beat it thoroughly – she pounds it like this, right?
K: She should beat it?
M: Yes.
K: It will scream. In Swahili, when you "beat" someone he screams ouch, ouch.
M: Not like that.
K: Ah.
M: This is what it means.
K: Now I understand, I was off a little.
M: You don't cut it in small pieces.
K: Yes.
M: What she does is pound it a little. She pounds it a little, the way it should be done.
K: I think that is (done) in a mortar.
M: It does'nt need to hurt at all, it's just a cup.
K: I see.
M: She keeps pounding it.
K: Aaah, just a little, just a little, just a little, just a little.
M: (Then she adds) peanuts to the oil.
K: Now I understand, she does fine cuisine?
M: Yes.
K: I see.
M: That's what we are going to eat at noon. Then pommes de terre nature (boiled potatoes).
K: Ah, pommes de terre?
M: Nature.
K: Natu? Pommes, de terre, nature, pommes, de terre, nature, I see. Now I got it.
M: When you do as (I tell you) she'll know what (to do), right?
K: Yes.
M: OK, fine. [clears his throat] Alright, be off, directly to the house, you understand?
K: Yes.
M: (There ) you stop just (briefly). OK, that's all.
K: Thanks, I should be on my way. [to himself] Ah, hee. Well, well, the Swahili he speaks. When you (meaning: I) speak Swahili (he asks) what kind of Swahili is that? What kind of Swahili is that? Always, wherever I go and speak – no way. Just leave it. (Now about) the four kilos of meat. Should I go away with it? No, I bring it to the director. Because when it gets there (as ordered) they'll give me a promotion. And also I'll be in …?... I'll be fine. I and my children will eat. Aah. I won't just take …?... like a small gras hopper. You go and carry these things
…?...Eh, to he house for the director.

 

7. K: [falsetto] mama ni ikuwako? iko ah/ [clapps] eeh/ he/ [steps, knocking on door] podi/ [knocks again] podi/ [knocks]
S: ni nani kule?
K: mama iko miye/
S: ingiye/ [sound of door being closed] ka: karibu/
K: yambo yenu mama/
S: jambo sana/
K: mi iko nilikuya: [pauses] eh: chefu iko nituma ni: tshifulushi hitshi/
S: aah/
K: aah/
S: bon merci: ni nyama?
K: eeh/ anasema: niko nakwenda kuleta ni tshifulushi ya nyama: ni mama eh/
S: ah?
K: kuna kwenda kuleta tshifulushi ya nyama: ni mame/
S: alafu wee na wee unasemaka tu kiSwahili kya namna ingine/ ni kya kule uko unasema kifulushi ni mame: njo vile/
K: mama: shi unayua si niko ni tshiSaudi? tshiSaudi iko nyama ya ntembo/
kama minakulya mi sitatshimana hapana/ minasema paka vile wee uko unanisikia/
S: eeh/ tunacheka mbele/ alafu ni kuichimana: merci baba/
K: aah/ tena iko nilisema:
S: eh/
K: wee iko unakamata: tshishu: wee iko ni fanya polepole: polepole: polepole: tshiloko: tshiloko: tshiloko/
S: eheh/
K: eeh/
S: minajua/
K: sasa: kama iko ni nisha: wee iko unakamata: unakata: pom: pommes terre/
S: pommes de terre eh?
K: eeh/ pommes terre matir/
S: [laughs] hahahaha/
K: eeh/
S: unanichekesha sana weye/
K: he/
S: eheh/ donc miliisha kujua kazi yangu niko nafanya sawa.
K: ha eeh/ njo ile baba iko nasema iko nakulya ni midi/
S: eheh/
K: eheh/
S: …?...
K: [overlapping] njo vile ananiambia asema utaumuambia mama yako iko natengeneshe polepole: polepole pommes de terre nature/
S: muzuri/
K: aah/ mama: minarudia ku mu kashi/
S: eeh kamata vile cinq Zaire utalipa njia ah?
K: eyo/ mama eeeh/ [in tshiLuba?]…?... wa bunywa [chuckles] …
S: [overlapping] …?...
K: …?.../ eheheh [chuckles] eeh/ kama iko filisi: kama iko musuli/ wee iko natumika kazi ni lopo moya/ [chuckles] hehehe/ aa: eheh: huyu mama iko ?coeur/ Mungu iko ni muchunga/ ahah eheh: iko ananipa ni franga ya transport/ eh heh/ aaah: eyo/ uache …?... motokari pale: nikarudia kwanza mu kasi/ eyo/ ha/ [pause]

 

7. K: [falsetto] Is mama in? She is, ah. [clapps] Eeh, he. [steps, knocking on door] May I come in? [knocks again] May I come in? [knocks]
S: Who is this?
K: Mama, it's me.
S: Enter. [sound of door being closed] Come in.
K: Greetings to you, mama.
S: Greetings.
K: I have come [pauses] I have come, [pauses] the boss sends me with this bundle.
S: I see.
K: Yes.
S: Alright, thanks. Is it meat?
K: Yes. He told me to go and bring this bundle of meat, it is (for) mama, eh.
S: Ah?
K: I should go and deliver this bundle of meat, it is (for) mama.
S: But you talk a strange kind of Swahili. It shows where you say "the bundle is mama." That's how you put it.
K: Mama, don't you know that (what I speak) is Swahili? Swahili is elephant meat. When I eat it I won't finish it. I just speak so you understand me.
S: Yes, we laughed at first but it is …?... Thank you, baba.
K: Aah. And then I said…
M: Yes.
K: … you take a knife and you work slowly, (cutting) little bits.
M: I see.
K: Yes.
M: I know.
K: Then, when you have finished this you take potatoes and cut them (in pieces).
S: Potatoes?
K: Yes, pommes de terre nature.
S: [laughs] Hahahaha.
K: Yes.
S: You really make me laugh.
K: Well.
S: [laughing] Eheh. I know how to do my work, I do it like that.
K: Ha, yes. What this baba said was that he eats at noon.
S: Yes.
K: Yes.
S: …?...
K: overlapping] That's what he said to me, you tell your mama she should slowly prepare pommes de terre nature.
S: Fine.
K: Aah. Mama, I go back to (the place where I) work.
S: Well, take five Zaire, this will pay for transportation, right?
K: It will indeed, Mama. [in tshiLuba?] …?... [chuckles]
S: [overlapping] …?...
K: …?... Eheheh [chuckles] Eeh, this is …?..., this is good. The work you do is one …?... [chuckles] Heheheh. Ah, yes, this mama has a heart. God looks after her. [incredulous] Ahah, eheh, she gives me money for transportation. Well, well. Wait, I'll take the car over there to get back to work. Yes. Ha. [pause]

 

8: K: kai?fwetu alikuya na mu soko tunarudia musuri: tunasema: huyu mama: miye: anafoka kuli …?... namna gani? kah/ kuko wasi/ minawaza asema aliisha kufunga/ oh: mama/
S: abé/
K: minarudia/
S: unakuya?
K: eeeh: ah/ nalikwenda mu soko mule kukutana ahahah/ munakuya visamaki vya [with enphasis] mingi/
S: unauza?
K: ah minauza paka vile walisema: kinyama: mafuta:
S: eeh/
K: mutete: na vingine vingine vyote/
S: ndiyo/
K: lakini minakutana mule visamaki/
S: mm/
K: vinakuya vipumbuu: vintu gani: aki: kama ni visamaki gani: vile banasema to: toposolo/
S: [amused] nini?
K: toposolo/
S: haina toposolo: ni tompson/
K: ahaaaa: njo vile: hahah/ [chuckles] hehe ke: mi naliwasa ni toposolo/
S: aah: we unakwenda semaka tu kiSwahili kingine/
K: [chuckles] eheheheh: njo vile mi nalikutana vya mingi: minasema madame kama aliyua: kama nalimuambia mama: anatuuzia nakwee kitotoposoo/
S: eheh/
K: aah/ unaniita kitoposo: toposo: toposo/ beba kitoposo: njo kintu gani? lakini ni ile samaki/
S: [chuckles] ehehe/
K: [chuckles] heheh: njo minausaka tu paka vile balinituma: vyo hivi/
S: eheh/
K: eh: mama/
S: abé/
K: tena: kuko ki kavinyama vingine/
S: eheh: minataka njo anatuma ile Sondashi [correct herself] Sumishi anakuya/
K: anakuya na vinyama bingine?
S: eheh/
K: njo ba baba banatuma?
S: eheh/
K: aah/
S: weka ile kama mule ndani mu frigo mule/
K: ah ni yake mu ule frigo?
S: eheh: utolee paka ngaingai/
K: musuri aaah/ tungaingai tule tuko musuri sana/
S: mm/
K: vya sasa ?misha: ah: na ku: kunaweka mule batakunya/ ah ah: unasikia na mu kinywa munakuya musuri sana kingaingai/ wake nianze kuvitosha mayani musuri musuri: ah/
S: musuri tule tu tunachunga hapana/
K: kunakulaka na kingine kya kwake?
S:iko sawa tumbego kile hapana kuweka/
K: ahah/
S: tuondola paka mayani/
K: musuri mama: washi/ vile vya kuyuaka mwee mwenyewe munatuelezea musuri musuri/ kama fwee: tutaona kaya tu/ kwetu hapana kuyua hii vingaingai viko mukinywa hivi/ vinakyakye eh/ aaah: [chuckles] haaa [claps]/ iko musuri sana hivi/ alafu yee utetemita bwana namuna gani?
S: utaitemake ya mbele mu frigo mule/
K: niweke…
S: ku …?...
K: mu ile frigo?
S: eheh/
K: ooh/ [claps] musuri/ oh oui/ hivi ni hivi mayani yao hivi/ fwee tunayua: unakuya hivi …?...minakulya: hii njo mayani fulani: kunakuya kivimutete/ vingine atu vingaingai/ ooh: vinamwakwa namna gani/ [claps] wake (?uache) kwanza vile vintu ya hivi/ mita: niweke ki?mbetu na humu mu hii frigo/ hii njo vya kulya midi/ aah: musuri sana/ ahah: he [claps]/ kama kyo vile wanafanya: instruction/

 

8. K: …?...We made it back from the market alright. Which is to say that there is no way this mama will reproach me. Ah, (the door is) open. I thought she had closed it. Oh, mama.
S: I'm here.
K: I'm back.
S: You are?
K: Yes I am. I went to the market over there and what I found were loads of fish.
S: Did you buy (some)?
K: I only bought as I was told, a piece of meat, oil…
S: Yes.
K: Mutete (greens) and all the other stuff.
S: Yes.
K: But above all I saw fish there.
S: Mm.
K: There was pumbuu and what not? The kind that is called toposolo.
S: [amused] What?
K: Toposolo.
S: It isn't toposolo, it's tompson (Thompson).
K: I see, that's what it is, haha. [chuckles] Hehe, I thought it was toposolo.
S: Ah, you keep speaking another kind of Swahili.
K: [chuckles] Eheheheh. So when I saw the many kinds I told myself, if Madame knew about this, if I told Mama about it, she woud have bought us …?... some toposoo.
S: Yes.
K: Aah, you call it.
K: You would have told me (buy) lots of kitoposo, toposo, toposo, bring toposo. What is this? It's this fish.
S: [chuckles] Ehehe.
K: [chuckles] Heheh. So I kept buying only what I had been sent for.
S: Yes.
K: Eh, mama.
S: Yes.
K: There were also some kinds of meat there.
S: Yes. if I wanted (that), he sends this Sondashi, [corrects herself], or rather Sumisi who comes (with it).
K: He comes with some other kinds of meat?
S: Yes.
K: It is baba who sends him?
S: Yes.
K: I see.
S: Put (the one you brought) in the refrigerator there.
K: Ah, is this his in the refrigerator?
S: Yes. Just take out the ngaingai.
K: Fine, aaah, the bit of ngaingai we have is very good.
S: Mm.
K: (It is) fresh. …?... When you taste it in your mouth ngaingai very good. Wait, I'll start taking off the leaves, carefully.
S: Fine (but) those small ones we don't keep.
K: Is there something that goes with it?
S: There are those small seeds, don't put those (with the greens).
K: I see.
S: We only remove the leaves.
K: Fine, mama, that's it. Since you are the one who knows those things you explain them to us properly. …?... Back home those ngaingai, as they are called, are not known…?... Aaah [chuckles] haa [claps]. Very well. But how are you going to get this ready for the boss?
S: First you keep it ready there in the refrigerator.
K: I should put it…
S: …?...
K: … in this refrigerator?
S: Yes.
K: Ooh [claps] fine. Oh yes, this is how they treat their greens. We know -- when you come to eat them – what kind of green this is, (for instance) some mutete. Another one (may be) ngaingai. Ooh, how is it …?... [claps] Never mind, I am just going to put that …?... here into this refrigerator. This is (what will be) eaten at noon. Aah, excellent. Aha, he [claps], just as ordered.

 

9. M: [clears his throat] mmh mmh/
S: eh: dis: unakuya?
M: eheh: ni …?.../
S: muzuri/
M: aaah [sounds of settling down]/ dis: chakula iko tayari?
S: oh njo ile mangai/
M: ahh/ [clears his throat, sounds of moving]
S: karibu/
M: ule planton: alificha (alifika)?
S: alileta eheh/ njo iko naisha kufahamu/
M: alikuambia?
S: eheh/ …?.../
M: mm/
S: eh/ [pause]
M: Sondashi iko fasi gani?
S: Sondashi?
M: mm/
S: iko inje/
M: umuite/
S: Sondashi/ Sondashi/
K: pelesan/
M: beko banakuita huku/
K: [closer] presan/
M: eeh: [pauses] wende pale pa kaboutique/
K: ndiyo/
M: kule bebeko Simba mbili/
K: [pauses] si?
M: Simba mbili/ chupa mbili ya pombe/ aah/
K: minasika musuri/ aah: minaitaka kukimbia …?... Simba mbili/ minawaza asema ni vile kinyama … ?...wana/ kumbe vi: Simba ya pombe/ ahah/
M: Sondashi unatafuta kucheza na directeur eh?
K: hapana si mi: minasikia tu ni simba/ simba minasikia banasema ki ni ule u: wa: wa: mu nkanga: ule ali: alifwata wantu/
M: ule unasikiaka asema simba ni: ya kunywa hapana: paka simba mpori?
K: mama anasemaka kiwenda muuzie pombe mi: njo vile waliisha pombe/
M: pombe: ni pombe ya namna gani?
K: anasema tu wende uniishie pombe mbili yako na chef/
M: ya munkoyo: ya nini?
K: hapana tu: anasema ananipa makipwa asema wende uniushie pombe mbili/
M: ya brasserie?
K: eheh/
M: bon/
S: [overlapping]…sasa ule muntu anawaka na ile Swahili yake iko tu namna ingine/
M: [to Sondashi] kwende mbio/
K: merci/
M: [to Sakina] est-ce que munasikilisaka na yee namna gani?
S: hmm/ nakuelezea Mufwankolo ni hatari/ pa kusema tu nimusumbulie: bien que ile wanasema paka cha kwabo ?nakunizee/
M: Aah.
S: ni kushikia paka vile bashi na ile mamots ingine banachangachangamo: njo anasikia asema ni kintu fulani anasema/
M: hmm/
S: pale nilikuwa mi bado muzobelea: nilianza kuitika bingine hatuna kuitika: eeh eeh: mi sikusikie/
M: sasa muzobelea?
S: minamuzobelea/
M: …?...
S: [overlapping] …?... asema ni Swahili yabo: minasema ni nyama inyewe ya tembo/
M: ah ni kweli/
S: …?...kuichakula mu chi …?... kuichimana/ [coughs, laughs]
S and M: [laugh]
M: njo pamoya na ule planton mule yee/ ni namna moya: ni kika…?...
S: [overlapping] ule ali?okata nyama huyu/
M: kama c'est ça/
S: eeh/ [chuckles] hm hm/ beko na ingine nguvu sana/ ...
M: mi sisikie/ na minayua lwango munaisha kuzobelea sana/
S: [chuckles] hmhm/
M: [high pitch] ah/ he/
S: hm/ ungaria pale ataleta maSimba yote: sikie vile atasema/ [pauses] hm/
M: muangaria kama: kama eko anaweka inje/
S: yee ule anakuya/

 

9. M: [clears his throat]Mmh, mmh.
S: So you've come (home).
M: Yes, …?...
S: Good.
M: Aaah [sounds of settling down]. Say, is the food ready?
S: Oh, here is this (dish of) ngaingai.
M: Aah. [clears his throat, sounds of moving]
S: Come to the table.
M: This planton, did he come?
S: Yes, he brought (what he was told to buy). He knows (what to do).
M: Did he tell you (about it)?
S: Yes, he did.
M: Mm.
S: Yes. [pause]
M: Where is Sondashi?
S: Sondashi?
M: Mm.
S: He is outside.
M: Call him.
S: Sondashi, Sondashi.
K: Here I am.
M: You are called to come here.
K: [closer] Here I am.
M: Eeh [pauses], go to this little shop there.
K: Yes.
M: Bring two Simba from there.
K: [pauses] Si?
M: Two Simba, two bottles of beer, aah.
K: (Now) I understand. Aah, I was about to run away…?... from two lions. I thought what he is talking about sounds like that that animal. So (what you mean is) Simba beer, I see.
M: Sondashi, do you want to play with (your) director?
K: No. It's just that I heared simba which I took to be what they call this animal (one sees) on women's wraps, the one that chases people.
M: When you heard simba (you didn't understand it as a drink but as a the lion in the bush?
K: When mama told me to go out to buy pombe (beer),( it turned out) that they were out of beer.
M: Pombe, what kind of pombe?
K: What she said was go buy me two (bottles of) beer for you, the boss.
M: (Brewed) from maize, or from what?
K: No, she said he should give me fresh (beer), she told me go buy me two beers.
M: From the brewery?
K: Yes.
M: Alright.
S: [overlapping] This guy sticks to his Swahili of a different kind.
M: [to Sondashi] Go, hurry up.
K: Thanks.
M: [to Sakina] How do you manage to understand each other?
S: Hmm. I tell you, Mufwankolo, its risky. (It is not enough to say) I'll talk to him while what is spoken is the way they talk.
M: Aah.
S: It just means listening to how they come up with different words which they confuse. In the end, one understands what he is talking about.
M: Hmm.
S: Before I was used to this I agreed (with him) about matters we did not agree on – saying yes, yes, instead of I don't understand you.
M: Now you are used to him?
S: I'm used to him.
M: …?...
S: [overlapping]…?... it's their kind of Swahili, I call it elelphant meat.
M: Ah, that's true.
S: …?... [coughs, laughs]
S and M: [laugh]
M: It's like with this planton, it's the same with that one, it's. …?...
S: [overlapping] He is one who cut the meat.
M: That's it.
S: Yes. [chuckles] Hm, hm. They really are hard (to understand). have a way…
M: Ah, I don't understand (them). I know that you are quite used to this.
S: [chuckles] Hmhm.
M: [high pitch] Ah. He.
S: Hm. Wait till he brings the Simba (then) listen how he is going to talk. [pauses] Hm.
M: Have a look, he may have put it outside.
S: He is coming.
 

10. K: [knocks on door] hodi/
S: ingiye/
K: [enters] njo hiki/
M: bon muzuri/ unifungula moya/ [sound of opening a bottle, pause]
M: ah: iko ridi/
S: iko baridi sana/
M: [drinks avidly]
S: utavunja mundibu/
M: ahhh/ [pauses] nani tena ule minaona inje iko anakuya? [pauses] anza pale wasione/
S: njo iko yee/
M: anafwata tena ni nani huyu?
K: miye? Sondashi/ pataron/ ikuwako: he?
iko ku mese/ aah: mi iko natoka ku dispensaire ile …?... nachoka: nikonafutafuta kurudia ku nyumba yangu ii/ hi iko ku meza saa ya midi: alors Monsieur hapana kuleta kamukanda/ ts: uache …?... kunakokolo/ [knocks on door] hodi/
S: ni nani?
K: iko mi mama/
S: eh: Kalwasha?
K: eheh/
S: ingiye/
K: aah/ bonjour sefe/
M: ah: jambo/
K: mi iko naleta ka: mukanda ya docteur/
M: ha?
K: kamukanda ya mm: ya dispensaire ya docteur/
M: ah/ [takes the letter] inatoka kwa docteur?
K: ndiyo sefe/
M: [pauses, reads aloud] Citoyen directeur/ nakujusha ya kama: huyu muntu wako: unaweza kumupatia pension malade/ kama unamuachika mu kazi: atakufwa sasa hivi/ magonjwa yake: ni ya kuacha kazi: na kurudi kwao mugini yake asiri: kupumuzika/ [pauses] eh? Kalwasha/
K: present/
M: tuseme bwana munganga anasema:
K: ndiyo/
M: tukupe pension maladi/
K: pensona maladi?
M: haukupashwa tena unatumika na uendelea na kazi ya kutumika/ muko maladi/
K: ah/ iko nafanya namna gani sef? kama mi iko nayua asema uliisha kuwa muntu mukubwa/ wee iko unakuwa maladi: wee iko anakupa pensona/ [pauses] lakini iko docteur iko nadonner kolondonanshi/
M: bon: nitakupa pension hapa sasa/ tena
hapana kuikala humu eh?
K: wee iko unamubarudia/ ni sawa sawa franga yangu/ [pause]
M: [sighs] Makuta yako ya pension?
K: ya pension: iko/ basi mapensionat kuko iko namubarudia ka lufranga yangu/
M: eh/
K: bon mi iko nakwenda kurudia kuikala mu mukini yangu/ muzuri/
M: bon muzuri: utarudia mbele: kiisha utakuya huku: kiisha siku mbili eh?
K: wende mbele ku nyumba?
M: minasema rudia mbele ku nyumba/ huku unakuya ni ku nyumba yangu miye/ hakuna ku bureau/ eh? mambo yako ni ya kuwa ?akanzia ku bureau/ unasikia? minakuambia njo vile asema rudia mbele kwako ku nyumba: [takes a breath] hh: utakuya: kiisha siku mbili/ njo tutaangaria mambo yako: ya malipo: ya pension yako/
K: aaaaah: hee/ [claps] alafu: bwana: mi niko malari yangu/ iko nachoka kabisa/ sawa…
M: [interrupts] …na maladie ya uko maladi/
K: [pauses] eh: si iko njo maladi?
M: hm/
K: sasa: njo ile iko nasema/ sawa vile ile docteur iko nasema: wee iko nakwenda: mbakia kwenu mu mugini: wee iko nakwenda kufunga tshi bifulushi yangu: polepole polepole: alors wee iko nangupa: kaji…?... mi iko natembelesa kwenda kwetu/ ku mujini katunijike (?kapumuzike)/
M: katuchini njo nini?
K: shi nye Makuta kama Makuta ile?
M: ah bon/ [pauses] muzuri/ tunasikilizana?
K: wee kunakuya: après: siku mbili/
M: siku mbili tutakuya hapa/
K: ah: bon/ iko muzuri sefu/ iko nakwenda kupumuzika/
M: muzuri/ [pauses] eh: dis Sakina/
S: abé/
M: ni kusema namupatia pension maladi/
S: eheeh/
M: mm/ minaongea kuye: kiisha siku mbili kwa mulipa Makuta yake/
S: utalipa ngapi?
M: ah/ hmm/ angaria muzuri hakuwa na voiture: hatapata …?... kuwa na voiture/ ikienda paka vile?
S: eh/
M: paka kile kuwa na vile?
S: eyo/ paka kile mashiku yee anatumika/
M: [clears his throat] angali: miye:
S: mm/
M: narudia mu kazi eh?
S: ndiyo/
M: sawa tena atakwenda ku: ku munganga ?ashiweze ku: safari: muda ya siku mbili/
S: ndiyo/
M: eh? okay/

 

10. K: [knocks on door] May I come in?
S: Come inside.
K: [enters] Here it is.
M: Alright, fine. Open one for me. [sound of oppening a bottle, pause]
M: Ah, it is cold.
S: It is very cold.
M: [drinks avidly]
S: You are going to break your …?...
M: Aaah. [pauses] Who is this I see arriving outside? [pauses] …?...
S: It's him.
M: And who is this behind him?
K: Me? Sondashi (should be Kalwasha?), boss. Is he here? He is at the table. Aah, I am coming from this dispensary …?... I am tired. I really want to go back to my home. He is having his lunch (lit. he is at the noon time table). I did not give Monsieur the chit (from the doctor). Ts, wait …?... [knocks on door] May I come in?
S: Who is it?
K: It's me, mama.
S: Eh, Kalwasha?
K: Yes.
S: Come in.
K: Aah, good day, boss.
M: Ah, greeting.
K: Yes, I am bringing a short letter from the doctor.
M: What?
K: A short letter coming from the dispensary, from the doctor.
M: Ah, [takes the letter] it comes from the doctor?
K: Yes, boss.
M: [pauses, reads aloud] Citizen director. I inform you, this man of yours, you can retire him for reasons of ill health. If you keep him working, he'll die very soon. His health problems are such that he should stop working and go back to rest in his village of origin. [pauses] Eh? Kalwasha.
K: Yes.
M: Let me tell you what the doctor says.
K: Yes.
M: We should give you retirement for health reasons.
K: Retirement for health reasons?
M: You no longer have to do the work you have been doing. You are sick.
K: Ah, how am I going to do this, boss? That (much) I know, when you are old and sick you get a pensioned. [pauses] But is it for the doctor to give the medical order.
M: Alright, I'll give you your pension right now. Also, you are not go on living here, you understand?
K: You give them back …?...It's my money. [pause]
M: [sighs] Your pension money?
K: The pension (money) wich is there. Well, …?... this little money of mine.
M: Eh.
K: Alright, I am going the go back and live in my village. Fine.
M: Alright, fine, (but first) you come back here after two days, right?
K: I should first go to (my) house?
M: What I am saying is first go back to your house. Here you are in my house, not in the office. You understand? Your problem is something that started at the office. You understand? What I am telling you is first go back to your home [takes a breath] hh. [Then] you come (to see me) after two days. Then we look into the matter of your pension payment.
K: Aaaah, hee [claps]. But, bwana, I have my illness, I am very tired. Like…
M: [interrupts]…an illness that makes you sick.
K: [pauses] Eh, is that not (what it means to be) sick?
M: Hm.
K: Now, that is what I am saying. As this doctor said, you go and stay back home in the village. I should tie my bundled, taking my time. Then you give me …?... and I make my way home, to the village, to rest].
M: Katuchini, what is this?
K: Isn't it this money (we talked about)?
M: Ah, alright. [pauses] Fine. Do we understand each other?
K: (You told me) to come back after two days.
M: In two days we'll be here.
K: Ah, alright. That's fine, boss. I go and take a rest.
M: Fine. [pauses] Listen, Sakina.
S: Yes.
M: What this is about – I give him retirement for reasons of health.
S: I see.
M: Mm. To pay him his money, I wait until he comes back after two days.
S: How much are you going to pay?
M: Ah, hmm. Take a good look, he doesn't have car (nor) is he going …?... (to find a way of) catching a car. Should he just walk?
S: Yes.
M: ? Just like that?
S: I see. You just (pay for) the time he worked.
M: [clears his throat] Look, I…
S: Mm.
M: ….go back to work, right?
S: Yes.
M: He should he go back to the doctor, he cannot travel before two days.
S: Yes.
M: Right? OK.

 

11. M: eeeh: uniitia bwana Sumisi huyu/
S: [calling]Sumishi/ Sumishi/
K: persent/
S: kuya/ [sound of steps]
M: Sumisi/
K: persent/
M: ku bureau kulikuwa muntu?
K: eeeh: au bureau?
M: eheh/
K: iko ni kuya: muntu modya; iko ni kuya anasema: directeur iko waa? minasema wee uko nafutafuta tshintu gani?
M: muntu hakusema jina yake?
K: hapana kusema ji: jina yake hapana: iko ?nkuye [falsetto] ni makali/ sawa yee nafutafuta kufwoka? si iko nafutafuta kuyanfa tshintu gani? minasema: alafu wee unakuya hivi/ uko unafuta: unasema: toka/ mi hapana kufutafuta kusema ni weye/
M: eko anasema kiSwahili ya bukubwa: ao anasema kiSwahili gani?
K: eh: eheheh/ tshiSaudi yake mi hapana kusikia kama iko tshintu gani/ kama iko anasema tshintu gani: mi hapana kusikia hapana/
M: [pauses] mara ingine Kalwasha/ hm/
S: yee ni njo hivi/
M: mm/
K: njo tshile minasema: uache niende ku nyumba ya directeur/
S: eeh/
K: nikomuambie uuuh: tunakuya iko kunakuwa namna makali: nimuambie vigilance/
S: utasema hapa ya Makuta tena anaanza kuwa makelele namna gani?
M: ah nakuwa mu vigilance?
K: mm/
M: [laughs] heheheh/ Simusi/ heheheh/
S: anakuwa kukuambia vigilance/
M: mmm/
K: eee ya kuyua kukolamuka/ nikala kamusi directeur/
M: eheeh?
K: eheh/
M: wee uko vigilance kabisa/
K: eeeh/ maneno kuko muntu iko nakuya ku: kufanya mubaya: ni directeur: banasema iko plato/
M: [chuckles] eheh eheh/ ah bon/ nakupikia sana aksanti eh? uko vigilance eh? unachunga kabisa maisha yangu weye/
K: ndiyo/
M: eheh/ bon: wanatangulia kuniona: haina makima eh?
K: ndiyo/
M: ni nakwenda sasa eh? bon/ kama unakutaka ni muntu mwenyewe kwako eh? utamuambia asema: directeur yee kwake hanako/ na uko…?... kuwe upesi/ eh?
K: ndiyo/
M: bon/ madocuments yo hii: utangulia naye/
K: merci/
 

11. M: Let's see – get me this Bwana Sumisi.
S: [calling] Sumishi. Sumishi.
K: Yes.
S: Come here. [sound of steps]
M: Sumisi.
K: Yes.
M: At the office, was there someone?
K: Let me see, at the office?
M: Yes.
K: There was one person, he came and said where is the director? I said what is it you are you looking for?
M: The person didn't give his name?
K: No, he did not give his name. He just came and [falsetto] he was enraged. He was out to make complaints. What was it he wanted? Then I said you come like that and want to talk, get out. I don't want to talk to you.
M: Did he speak Swahili like an older person, or what kind of Swahili did he speak?
K: Eh, eheheh. I couln't make heads or tails of his Swahili. I did not understand what he was talking about.
M: [pauses] Perhaps it was Kalwasha. Hm.
S: It sounds like him.
M: Mm.
K: What I said was that I should go to the director's house.
S: Yes.
K: I should tell him oh, we have to do with a someone who is violent. I should tell him to be on his guard.
S: He was going to talk here about money again, how come he began to make a racket?
M: Ah, I should be on my guard?
K: Mm.
M: [laughs] Heheheh. Simusi. Heheheh.
S: He was telling you to be on your guard.
M: Mmm.
K: Well, I knew (I should) alert you. I keep…?..., director.
M: Is that it?
K: Yes.
M: You are very vigilant.
K: Yes. Because there is is this man who comes to harm you, the director. They say he is a planton.
M: [chuckles] I see, I see. Alright. I really thank you. You are vigilant, right? You really watch over my life.
K: Yes.
M: Yes. Alright, they will take their time to see me, whenever, right?
K: Yes.
M: I'm off now now, right? Fine. If you meet this person again at your house, you should tell him the director is not at home.
And you …?... right away, you understand?
K: Yes.
M: Alright. These are the documents, (if he turns up again) you wait with him.
K: Thanks.

 

12. M: eeeh: Sondas/ Sondas/ mukwayi/
K: present/ [pause]
M: bon/ angarie/ eeh: mama yako watakupa kazi moya fulani: utanifansia upesi upesi eh?
K: ndiyo/
M: c'est à dire que: abakosi yangu ya café/ utanikomea sawa mangaribi: nitakwenda ku feti/
K: eheh/
M: ndiyo/
K: ohoh/ tutafanya tu musuri: kama unaleta…
M: [interrupts] … hapana kulungusha/
K: kurungusha? hapana/ ooh ni kasi: tuliyua tu ka samani: allaaaah/ [chuckles] hehehe/ sitafanya tu musuri?
M: bon: Sakina/
S: abé/
M: bon: tutaonana/
S: oke/ [sounds of M leaving] eh: Sondashi/
K: present/
S: kuya mbele unamuongoya baba yako yo hii baba/ kamata/
K: eheh/
M: ha? uanenda na bilatu yote/ unaona byote ni kafeekafee/ kubrosser muzuri:
K: mm/
S: kukomba muzuri kwashiyo kulungusha/
K: hapana/ nitafanya musuri ni kafe/
M: kama unalungusha pengine ingisha mi mu mambo/
K: naisha kusobelea ila kasi/ naisha kusobelea sana/ [pauses] he/

 

12. M: Let's see. Sondashi. Sondashi. Come here.
K: Here I am. [pause]
M: Alright, look here. Mama will give you some work. You are going to do it for me promptly, right?
K: Yes.
M: What I'm saying is, my brown (lit. coffee-colored) suit – you should have it ready for me in the afternoon. I'll be going to a fête.
K: I see.
M: Yes.
K: Ohoh. We'll do it well, if you give….
M: [interrupts] … don't leave marks on it.
K: Leave marks on it? No way. This is work we have known forever. [chuckles] Hehehe. I'll do it well, won't I?
M: Fine. Sakina.
S: Yes.
M: Alright, we'll see each other.
S: Ok. [sounds of M leaving] Let's see, Sondashi.
K: Yes.
S: Come here,you wait for your baba (boss) take this, baba.
K: Yes.
S: Ha? You go on with all the shoes. You see that they are all brown, (they need) a good brushing.
K: Mm.
S: Rubbing them thoroughly without (too much) force.
K: No, I'll do it properly till they are brown (again).
S: If you do it wrong you may get me into trouble.
K: I am used to this work, I am really used to it. [pauses] He.

 

13. K: hodi/
S: ni nani?
K: iko miye/
S: ah?
K: iko miye/ wiko nakuya/
S: ingiye/
K: alors/ directeur ikoako?
S: directeur hanamo/
K: iko nakwenda wapi? mi iko nafutafuta directement/ que c'est qu'il y a?
S: alienda mu voyage/
K: iko nakwenda mu voyager namna gani? he?
S: shi alienda ku mission ya kazi/
K: Madame: angaria/ miye mwiko muntu kulisha kuwa muzee/ kama iko nafutafuta mi: najua …?... na bwana yako: iko nafanya matata: iko ananisha kuisha eh/
S: kufanya matata?
K: alors/ franga: docteur iko nasema: yee iko namubarudia franga yangu ya pensionat/ sasa iko nakamata franga ya pensionat: iko nambloquer/
S: yee hapana kubloquer: alienda mu kazi: atakuya/
K: hapana/
S: utaenda ku bureau sasa uko…?...
K: [interrupts her] hapana/ mi iko nafoka/ mi iko nafanya mubaya?
S: isha tu nako kunifokea miye/ eh? uko ni kwako ao ni kwangu?
K: mama: angaria/ bwana yako kama mi
kwiko namupata: hata mu mbalambala…
S: utamufanya nini?
K: ah bon/ iko muzuri/ vile iko namuteswa mi muzee vile/ maneno kuifanya kazi ya zamu mu nyumba yake/
S: kwenda ku bureau/
K: ku buleau: ku buleau: huku ku nyumba iko yake: ni nyumba ya société?
M: eeeh: Kalwasha/
K: present/
M: iko [noise] kuko kwako?iko kwa directeur ou bien pa ku nyumba huku?
K: aah iko ku nyumba ya directeur: mi iko nakuya kufwata franga yangu/ franga yangu: toute de suite/ njo mi kutafutafuta/ mi iko muntu wa pensionat/
M: angarie/ baba/ minakuambia asema Makuta yako: hautaipata hata kupata/ sababu: wee unatufokea bibi yangu? muntu wa gani?
K: aah: iko droit ya docteur/
M: toka kuna/
K: mi hapana kwenda/
M: Makuta yote utapata/
K: wee iko nankupa hapana/
M: utakutia pension ya sasa hivi/
K: kama wiko naita masoldats: kama wiko muntu kweli/ iko unalisafisha na mi na wee kunalisafishafisha baba/ que c'est qu'il y a? wee kunaona mbele mi iko muzee?
M: toka kwangu/
K: mi hapana kwenda hata kiloko/
S: toka inje/
M: sasa toka/
K: wende inje maneno ya nini? mukupe franga yangu ya pension/
M: hautaipata/
S: hainamo/
K: mi kunakulya franga ya batu …?...? mi nilikule tumika bule?
M: …?.../ munganga alisema asema ni muntu wa maladi: umupe pension maladie/
utakwenda/ wende ku mugini/
K: eeh: kama hapana niko narudia ku nyumba ya munganga kumuambia: iko anakatala Makuta ya pension maladi/
M: aah minakuwekea pension/ ni wee kama unapenda mu nganga: wende kwa munganga …?...
K: [interrupts] …?... nalipe/
M: atakulipa ou bien atakupata pension/
K: eh hehee/ na wee bibi yake iko nasema wee wende kakulipe/
M: kuku…
S: [interrupts] si wende/ sasa uko njo kwa …?...
M: …?...pata pension: ni munganga atapatia pension/
K: pale tu…
M: [interrupts] toka nyumba ya mupesi/
K: pale nalikuwa maladi wa baridi: ulikuwa unasema asema aah: wende kulala ku moto/ wende ukalale ku moto/ hapana ulikuwa na munalisha ku zamu …?...?
M: kila mwezi nilikuwa kulipa Makuta/
K: aah: na sasa munganga eko nasema iko nakupa franga yangu/
M: toka …?...wende/ toka/
K: bon/ mi iko nakwenda kushtaki/
M: toka toka …?...: hata unakwenda kushtaki fasi gani? wee mwenyewe ulishtaki bongo/
K: ah:: wee iko nakwenda …?...na foyer/
M: wende utapata kushtaki/ tutaona mwenyewe ya sheria ni nani/
K: ndiyo/ iko nayua inspection travailler: iko nini/ hee/
M: …?.../
K: bon: niko nakwenda/
M: tiens?
S: wende kule/
[recording stopped]

 

13. K: May I come in?
S: Who is it?
K: It's me.
S: Ah?
K: It's me. I arrived.
S: Come in.
K: So, is the director here?
S: The director is not here.
K: Where did he go? I keep looking for him, in person. What is the matter?
S: He went on a trip.
K: How come he went away, travelling?
S: He went on a mission connected with his work, what else?
K: Madame, look. I am an old man. If he is looking for me (and doesn't find me) your husband is going make trouble for me. He terminated me (my job).
S: Make trouble?
K: It's about money. The doctor said that he (your husband) would pay me my retirement money. Now he took the retirement money and stopped the payment.
S: He did not stop (anything), he went to work and will be back.
K: No way.
S: You should go to the office now, you…?...
K: [interrupts her] No way. I have a grievance. Did I do something wrong?
S: Stop scolding me. What is this? Are you in your place or is this my home?
K: Mama, look here. If I meet your husband, even on the street …
S: What are you going to do to him?
K: Ah, alright. This is just fine. You make me suffer, an old man like me, because I work as a guard at his house.
S: Go to the office.
K: To the office, to the office. Is this house here his or does it belong to the company?
M: Let's see, Kalwasha.
K: Here I am.
M …?... [noise] Are we here at your house? Is this the director's (office) or at this house?
K: Aah, we are at the director's house, I come to where my money is (lit. to follow my money). My money, (I want it) right away. That is what I have been looking for. I am a pensioner.
M: Look here, baba. I am telling you that you are not going to get your money. Because, did you scold my wife? Who are you (to do this)?
K: Aah, it's the doctor's right.
M: Get out of here.
K: I am not leaving.
M: You are going to get the money, all of it.
K: You don't give it (to me).
M: You'll have your pension right away.
K: If you are a man call the soldiers. You and I clear this up. What is this? Don't you realize that am I an old man?
M: Get out of my house.
K: I' am not leaving, not at all.
S: Get out.
M: Get out right now.
K: Why should I go outside? Give me my retirement money.
M: You are not going to get.
S: (The money) is not here.
K: Am I taking (lit. eating) money that belongs to (other) people? …?... did I work for nothing?
M: …?... What the doctor said was this is a sick person, give him a pension for reasons of health. You should go, go to your village.
K: No, I go back to the doctor's house to tell him that he (the director) refuses to pay the money of my pension for reasons of health.
M: Aah, I give you the pension. It is up to you, if you prefer the doctor go to the doctor…
K: [interrupts] (He) should pay me.
M: He'll pay you or gives you your pension.
K: Eh, hehee. Your wife says, go away he should pay you.
M: To…
S: [interrupts] Just go. Now you are the one who…?...
M: …?... to get your pension, it is the doctor who will give you the pension.
K: When we…
M: [interrupts] Get out of the house, right away.
K: When I was sick with a cold you said, aah, go sleep near the fire. Go sleep near the fire. Didn't you you give food to the guard…?...?
M: I gave you money every month.
K: Aah, and now the doctor says he (the director) is the one who pays me.
M: Get out, go away. Get out.
K: Alright, I am going to take legal action.
M: Get out …?... .Where are you going to take legal action? You are the one who goes to court.
K: Ah, you …?... in court.
M; Go, you'll get (your chance) to file a complaint. We'll see who gets his right.
K: Yes, I know what the labor inspection is for. Hee.
M: …?...
K: Alright, I leave.
M: You do?
S: Go there.
[recording stopped]

 

14. F: …ulizo juu ya: bon/ ile mapersonnages tatu uli: ulicheza wee Kalwasha: accent yake ni nini?
K: ile: Kalwasha: c'est:
M: Tshokwe/
K: Tshokwe/
F: c'est Tshokwe?
K: mm/
F: [pauses] Tshokwe/ fanya tu mara ingine: Tshokwe/ eh unionyesha kama tu: zaidi zaidi: kaTshokwe ni nini mu accent yake?
K: kaTshokwe: eeh: ni kusema: parce-que bintu yote ile anasema: inakwenda paka mu langue yao ya kikaTshokwe/
F: eheh/
K: eh? anaarticuler mara mingi paka: conversation:
F: oui mais …?... u: uniletee mufano: mufano sasa ya…
K: [interrupts] mufana? kama anasema: muntu: yee anasema mutu/
F: mutu?
K: mm/
F: ao: ingine?
K: ao anasema: [pauses] mbokayi/
F: mm/
K: au lieu ya kusema bukari/
F: ahah/
K: yee anasema mbokayi/
F: mbokayi/
K: mm/
F: eheh/ bon: Kalwasha ni: Katshokwe/
K: eheh/
F: Sondashi/
K: Sondashi: tshiBemba/
F: tshiBemba/
K: eheh/ anasema tu fififi inofinee: musuri:
F: [chuckles] musuri:
K: eheh/ kama ni français: anasema tshee/
F: tshee?
K: eheh/ au lieu âgé: yee anasema shee/
F: shee/
K: mm/ vi: bintu yee anasema fintu/
F: mm/
K: muzuri anasema fisuri/
F: fisuri:
K: nataka anasema minafutafuta/
F: minafutafuta/
K: eheh/
F: mm/ eeh: na: ile: ule nani: eeh Sumisi ni Kasai?
K: ni Kasai eh/
F: mm/
K: mm/
F: sema tu: tshintu:
K: eheh/ anasema tshintu/ ouais/ mina: pende: minataka muzudi: minafutafuta nikuseme: eh/
F: kuseme?
K: kuseme/ eheh/
F: pa fasi ya kusema?
K: kusema/ anasema minafutafuta ni kuseme/
F: eheh/
K: eheh/ minafutafuta wee uko nasifanya musuri: ah: minafutafuta wee unakudya: unaikala ni tshintu: ni luvu musuri:
F: eheh/
K: eh/ bintu yote wanapenda kwa kuweka mu: su: su: wote na kibulia na:
F: eh/
K: es pa mwisho/
F: su/ ahah/
K: mm/
F: mm/ [pauses] bon/ mais: nazani tulikuwa na: fashi moya ingine: eh ingine ya: ya nguvu ya ku: kuandika/ maneno uli: uliweka tena: [pauses] tshiKasai kiloko ndani: non? tena: mu: wimbo/ ile wimbo uli: uliimba/
K: mm/ na tshiBemba/
F: ili: ikuwa mu tshiBemba?
M: mm/
F: ahah/
K: Bemba/
F: na maa: maana yake?
K: anasema: nilikwenda: ku mugini/ ile mugini yao vile anasema [sings in Bemba] narile ku Chipembi/
F: mm/
K: Chipembi: ni jina ya mugini/
F: ahah/
K: anasema narile [sings] ku Chipembi/ nili: nilikwenda kule: sawa vile nilikwenda ku Likasi:
F: mm/
K: nilikutana wamama: weko natwanga muhindi/ kiisha: balipika bukari: ile bukari ilikuwa mu: mubaya/
F: mm/
K: nilikatala kula: ni kusema unipe paka franga/
F: eheh/ njo: njo wimbo/
K: mm/
F: mm/
K: njo mi niliimba/ narile [sings] kichimpempi: na sagile bamayo: bapipela pamali/
F: mm/
K: [continues singing] wafu na ile huwari: wana ile huwari: na huwari wafikishe nake nengo kulya/
F: ahah/
K: [continues singing] na kile kanundala mu: na kile kalundala mu [chuckles]/
F: …?... tusikie na: sasa kiloko/
K: mm/
F: mm? kama niko na ulizo nitakwenda kuuliza kule/
K: eh: mmh/
[recording stopped]

 

14. F: … a question about – alright. These three characters you play, Kalwasha, what is their accent?
K: This Kalwasha, that's…
M: Tshokwe.
K: Tshokwe.
F: It's Tshokwe?
K: Mm.
F: [pauses] Tshokwe. Do it once more, Tshokwe. Show me what is most typical of a Tshokwe speaker's accent.
K: A Tshokwe, well, (you can recognize him) be cause everything he says follows their Tshokwe language.
F: I see.
K: You understand? Often he articulates…?...(in) a conversation…
F: Yes but …?... Give me an example. An example now of…
K: [interrupts] An example? When he says muntu, he pronounces mutu.
F: Mutu?
K: Mm.
F: Or, another one?
K: Or he says [pauses] mbokayi.
F: Mm.
K: Instead of saying bukari (manioc porridge).
F: Ahah.
K: He says mbokayi.
F: Mbokayi.
K: Mm.
F: I see. Alright, Kalwasha is a Tshokwe.
K: Yes.
F: Sondashi.
K: Sondashi, (his accent is) Bemba.
F: Bemba.
K: Yes. He says fififi inofinee. It is musuri F: [chuckles] Musuri [instead of muzuri, good].
K: Yes. In French he says tshee.
F: Tshee?
K; Yes, instead of âgé he says shee.
F: Shee.
K: Mm. Instead of bintu he says fintu.
F: Mm.
K: For muzuri he says fisuri.
F: Fisuri.
K: For nataka (I want to) he says minafutafuta (I keep searching).
F: Minafutafuta.
K: Yes.
F: Mm. Let's see, and this – what is he called? – Sumisi, he is Kasaian?
K: He is Kasaian, yes.
F: Mm.
K: Mm.
F: He says tshintu.
K: Yes. He says thintu. Yes. Minapende, minataka muzudi, minafutafuta, nikuseme,
yes.
F: Kuseme?
K: Kuseme, yes.
F: Instead of kusema?
K: Kusema. He says minafutafuta ni kuseme.
F: I see.
K: Yes. Minafutafuta wee uko nasifanya musuni: ah: minafutafuta wee unakudya: unaikala ni tshintu: ni luvu musuri …  
F: I see.
K: Yes. They like to put su su in everything and to put an ess at the end.
F: Yes:
K: … (the letter) es at the end.
F: Su. Ahah.
K: Mm.
F: Mm. [pauses] Alright. But I think we had another passage that was difficult to transcribe. Because you also put [pauses] a little tshiLuba in it, no? Also, in a song, that song you sang.
K: Mm. In Bemba.
F: Was it in Bemba?
M: Mm.
F: Ahah.
K: Bemba.
F: And how does that sound?
K: He says, I went to the village. This village of their, as he said [sings in Bemba] narile ku Chipembi.
F: Mm.
K: Chipembi is the name of the village.
F: I see.
K: He says narile [sings] ku Chipembi. I went there, as (one would say) I went to Likasi…
F: Mm.
K: I met women who were pounding maize. Then the cooked porridge. That porridge was bad.
F: Mm.
K: I refused to eat it. Just give me money.
F: I see. So, that's the song.
K: Mm.
F: Mm/
K: That's what I sang. And this one [sings] kichimpempi: nasangile bamayo: bapipela pamali.
F: Mm.
K: [continues singing] wafu na ile huwari: wana ile huwari: na huwari wafikishe nake nengo kulya.
F: I see.
K: [continues singing] na kile kanundala mu: na kile kalundala mu [chuckles]
F: …?... Now, let's understand this a little.
K: Mm.
F: Mm? When I have a question I'll ask it.
K: Eh: Mmh.
[recording stopped]

 

15. K: eeh ouis: Mufwankolo/ [shouts] Mufwankolo/
M: bwana/
K: kuya aki/ [steps] Mufwankolo/
M: bwana/
K: maneno ya nini? siku yote/ kama minaleta kiloko: kitu ya kazi: wee siku yote anauzisha/
M: sawa nini bwana?
K: ah?
M: sawa nini?
K: eeh: kule mi hapana leta na wee combinaison?
M: unaleta na miye/
K: minaleta na wee bilatu ya kazi/ minaleta na wee casque/ maneno ya sécurité ya kazi/ eeh: wapi? yee/
M: baliniibaka bwana/
K: oh/ siku yote wee unalongofya/ …?... /
M: hapana: hii: baliiba bale bwana: balipomona na nyumba: bananiiba na bintu yangu yote pamoya banaiba bwana/
K: maneno ya nini? wake mwizi anaiba ni nini?
M: wapopo inaingia busiku ku nyumba bwana/
K: hapana bamba?
M: tiens/ nitabamba namna gani mi hivi / utamubamba wee?
K: alafu/ wee unafanya nini vyee [vieux]? maneno minasikia siku yote wee kama minaleta bintu ya kazi: wee unauzisha kila mara/
M: mm? mi siuzishake hapana bwana/
K: angaria vyee Mufwankolo: kama minaleta ingine bintu ya kazi: wee hapana leta kuya na kazi: eh? wee utakwenda na kulokole/ hapana cheza sawa sawa/ [pauses] god verdomme/ wee unacheza vyee/ hapana cheza na bintu ya kazi/ kazi iko kazi/ hapana angaria sawa sawa mwee muntu/ eh? muntu mweusi: mayele hapana/ eh?
M: minasikia bwana/
K: bon/ wee utakuya mabureau yangu kule/
eh? wee utakamata ingine/
M: ndiyo bwana/
K: wee unasikia?
M: minasikia bwana/
K: fungula masikio yako wee: na macho pole pole/ eh? [pauses] kamata: safisha muzuri ya sabuni/ maneno watasikia muzuri: eh?
M: muzuri bwana/
K: bon/ kesho busubui: fika na bureau ya changachanga/ atakamata ingine/
M: ku saa gani bwana?
K: iko saa gani unaanza kazi?
M: na sept heures?
K: aah/ fika bien/
M: utanifansia kabarua bwana?
K: wee atakamate kamukanda kiloko?
M: ndiyo/
K: aah: iko muzuri/ mitaleta na wee: [pauses, sound of writing] bon/ kamata/
M: nitakwenda na changachanga?
K: ndiyo eh? hapana uzisha/ kama wee unauzisha mitasikia/ sowa sowa: wee utapata mayele/
M: aksanti bwana/
K: bon/ kwenda muzuri/
M: okey/
K: he?
M: ndiyo bwana/
K: [shouts] unasikia bien?
M: minasikia/
K: bon: muzuri/
[recording stopped]

 

15. K: Eeh yes, Mufwankolo. [shouts] Mufankolo.
M: Bwana/
K: Come here. [steps] Mufwankolo.
M: Bwana.
K: Why is it, whenever I give something for your work, you always sell it?
M: Like what, Bwana?
K: Ah?
M: Like what?
K: Let's see, did I not give you overalls?
M: You did.
K: I gave you work shoes, I gave you a helmet, for security at work. Now, where is it?
M: They stole (those things) from me, Bwana.
K: Oh, you always lie …?...
M: No.They stole those things from me, Bwana. They broke into the house and stole all my things. They stole them, Bwana.
K: Why is that? What is a thief going to steal in you place?
M: Buglars came into the house at night, Bwana.
K: You didn't catch them?
M: Well, how am I going to catch them, some one like me. Would you catch (a thief)?
K: But. What are you doing, old man? Because this is what I hear all the time. Whenever I give you things to do your work with you sell them.
M: Mm? I don't sell them, Bwana.
K: Look, Mufwankolo, old man, when I get you other things for work and you don't bring them when you come to work. You are going to …?... Don't play around like that. [pauses] God verdomme [goddamn, in Flemish]. You are playing around, old man. Don't play with work things. Work is work. Don't look at it like a (black) man. You understand? A black man (with) no intelligence. You understand?
M: I understand, Bwana.
K: Alright. You'll go to my office there, right? You'll get a replacement.
M: Yes, Bwana.
K: Do you understand?
M: I understand, Bwana. Open your ears and take your time to (open) your eyes. Right? [pauses] Take some soap and clean them throroughly, you understand?
M: Fine, Bwana.
K: Alrigh. Tomorrow morning, go to the office of the changachanga (the supervisor of the worker's camp). He'll get you the replacement.
M: At what time, Bwana?
K: When do you begin work?
M: At seven o'clock?
K: I see, arrive on time.
M: Are you going to write a note for me, Bwana?
K: Are you going to take a short letter?
M: Yes.
K: Aah, that's fine. I'll give you one, [pauses, sound of writing] Alright, take it.
M: So I should go to the supervisor?
K: Yes. Don't sell things. If you sell things, I'll hear of it. Eventually, you'll get wise.
M: Thanks, Bwana.
K: Alright. Good bye.
M: Ok.
K: You understand?
M: Yes, Bwana.
K: [shouts] You really understand?
M: I understand.
K: Alright. Fine.
[recording stopped]

 

16. K: mutoto: wee nayua: ma: minasema siku yote/ sawa wee unayua sima: Myungu: iko: Mungu/ muzuri/ kama wee nalomba: Mungu: siku yote: Mufwankolo wee itakuya muntu: ya Munga/ hapana: kutafuta: kubakia sawa: mupagano/ fanya nguvu/ ya kulomba/ angaria siku yote Mama Maria: anafanya kazi: ya kubangaria: siku yote watoto wake duniani/ hapana kufutafuta: kwenda: njia ingini/ wee ni zamani wee unafanya ndoa/ wee unafanya ndoa na mama Elisabeth/
M: ndiyo baba/
K: wee unayua muzuri: katekisimu/
M: ndiyo baba/
K: hapana: kupevuka/ kuya muntu ya Mungu/
M: muzuri/
K: fwata njia ya Mungu/ wee nayua/ hapana kukimbia: kazi ya Mungu/ tumika: muzuri/ sawa vile wee nafanya ndoa: utakuya mutoto muzuri/
M: minasikia/
K: [overlapping] hapana mutu ya shetani
M: ni kweli/
K: unasikia Mufwankolo?
M: minasikia/
K: kuya siku yote: siku ya Mungu/ kusali pamoja na mimi/
M: minasikia baba/
K: ahah/ muzuri Mufwankolo eh? kwenda muzuri/
M: aksanti baba/
[recording stopped]

 

16. K: Child, you know what I always say. You know (what they) say, God is God. Fine. When you pray to God every day you, Mufwankolo, will be a man of God. Don’t try to remain a pagan. Make an effort to pray. Look, Mama Maria works every day to watch over His children on earth. Don't look to take another way. Long ago you got married. You got married to Mama Elisabeth.
M: Yes, Baba.
K: You know the catechism well.
M: Yes, Baba.
K: Don't …?... to become a man of God.
M: Fine.
K: Follow God's way. You know this. Don't run away from doing God's work, do it well. (As you did) when you got married. You are going to be a good child.
M: I understand.
K: [overlapping] Not a man of Satan.
M: That's true.
K: Do you understand, Mufwankolo?
M: I understand.
K: Come every Sunday to pray with me.
M: I understand, Baba.
K: Aha, fine, Mufwankolo. Good bye.
M: Thank you, Baba.
[recording stopped]

17. F: sasa ni muGriki/ [pauses] wende/
K: Mfankoo/ Mufankolo/
M: bwana/
K: kuya mbele/ [sound of steps] angaria: iko nini sasa?
M: sawa nini bwana?
K: minasema nini? busubui? unafanya nini? hapana kafee?
M: njo nilikuwa piga kule sasa/
K: oh mais/ wee nalala?
M: mi hapana lala/
K: leta mbele/ [sound of putting cups on a table]
M: yee huyu/
K: yee hapana kapuchino/ inaivya?
M: inaivya bwana/
K: kapuchino iko sawa sawa/ leta na mayi ya baridi/ [sound of bringing water]
M: yo hii/
K: ah/ muzuri/ ah iko kapuchino muzuri/ aaah Mufwankolo: wee utakuya: boy muzuri/ wee uko pret/ he/ [drinks] ahhh/ wenda sema na Madame/ eh?
M: ndiyo/
K: atakwenda na magazini/ eh?
M: muzuri/
K: atakwenda na magazini: anafanya tablier na muzuri/ ya?
M: ah: atakuya/
K: eh? muzuri/
M: akanishonee?
K: aah anashona na muzuri yako tablier/ utaona: Madame inashona/
M: eheh/
K: eh? tablier yako ya muzuri/ ya mpishi/
M: aah: bon/ [chuckles]
K: eeh vrais/
M: [chuckles] eheh: minaenda bwana/
K: ah? kwenda/ kama unakwenda narudia asema: mi nasema muzuri/ eh?
M: atakuambia asema: habari njo anasema/
K: aah: wee sema Madame/ minakamata kapuchino kiloko/
M: …?....
K: eh/
M: bon: mi nitarudia eh?
K: aah muzuri/ [claps twice]
[end of recording]

 

17. F: Now (the accent of) a Greek. Go on.
K: Mufwankolo. Mufwankolo.
M: Bwana.
K: Come here. [sound of steps].Look here, what is this now?
M: Like what, Bwana?
K: What did I tell you in the morning? What were you doing? No coffee?
M: That's what I was boiling there right now.
K: Oh, but are you asleep?
M: I'm not asleep.
K: Bring it now. [sound of putting cups on a table]
M: Here it is.
K: This isn't a cappuccino. Is it ready?
M: It's ready, Bwana.
K: This cappuccino is so-so. Bring some cold water. [sound of bringing water]
M: There it is.
K: Ah, fine. Ah, that's a good cappuccino.
Aah, Mufwankolo, you are going to be a good (house) boy, you are all set. He. [drinks] Ahhh. Go speak to Madame, you understand?
M: Yes.
K: She'll go to the shop, right?
M: Fine.
K: She'll go to the shop and make a nice apron, you understand?
M: Ah, she'll come.
K: What? Fine.
M: She should sew one for me?
K: Aah, she makes a nice apron for you. You'll see, Madame (knows how to) sew.
M: Yes.
K: Right? A nice apron for you, for the cook.
M: Ah, alright. [chuckles]
K: Yes, true.
M: [chuckles] Eheh, I go, Bwana.
K: Right? Go. When you come back you'll say that I was right. You understand?
M: She'll tell you the news.
K: Aah, you speak to Madame. (Meanwhile) I take a litle cappuccino
M: …?...
K: Yes.
M: Fine, I'll be back, right?
K: Aah, fine. [claps twice]
[end of recording]

 

 

Summary and Brief Comments

Part One (1-13): The Play

1. Mufwankolo and Sakina
A domestic scene between husband and wife. He is about to leave for work and asks if there is anything she needs or has to tell him. The only thing that bothers her is that Sondashi, their servant, went to the market before finishing his work at home. – What made Mufwankolo begin this sketch with a domestic exchange? Notice the first hint at conversations/conflicts between employers and employees as exemplary situations in which to show (perform) nyama ya tembo: work and relations at work (power and submission).

2. Mufwankolo (director) and Kalwasha (an employee, not named).
An exchange about money to visit and pay a doctor, pay for medicines and transportation.

3. Sakina (Madame) and Kalwasha (as Sondashi. domestic servant).
A brief exchange about housework to be done and how to do it (cleaning plates before setting the table). Here Sakina is sometimes difficult to understand and her Swahili difficult to translate. Was this on purpose, her contribution to the theme?

4. Sakina and Kalwasha (as Sondashi).
Sakina sends Sondashi to the market to buy meat, dried fish, and vegetables. After rehearsing the shopping list it comes to a conflict when Sondashi wants to use the basket which Sakina had planned to take. A misunderstanding she blames on Sondashi's peculiar Swahili. He responds at length, citing the saying that served as the title of the play.

5. Mufwankolo (director) and Kalwasha (as Sumisi, planton, messenger).
A conversation at the office. Mufwankolo informs Sumisi of his promotion to head of the plantons (most often translated as messenger but with a wider meaning in the African context, something like "office boy." When his boss remarks of the way he speaks Swahili, Sumisi responds at length, citing and commenting on Swahili ni nyama ya tembo. Mufwankolo recognizes his Swahili as Kasaian. The scene continues with the director giving the planton a sort of homily on work ethics and ends with sending Sumisi and his fellow plantons to a tailor who will take measurements to make Abacosts (suits under the Mobutu regime) for them.

6. Mufwankolo (director) and Sumisi (planton, messenger):
The preceding "official" exchange is followed by a private one. The director sends his planton to the butcher's to buy meat, deliver it at his home to his wife, with instructions on how to prepare it. Kalwasha is confused by the polysemy of –piga/pika in Katanga Swahili (to beat or pound and to cook). Mufwankolo continues with culinary instructions. The scene ends with a soliloquy by Kalwasha which, except for fragments, I am unable to translate.

7. Kalwasha (as Sumisi) and Sakina:
Sumisi meets Sakina at her home and delivers the things Mufwankolo had told him to buy. When she remarks on the strange Swahili he speaks he answers with the theme-saying, Swahili ni nyama ya tembo. They agree that, nevertheless, they understand each other. This is followed by an exchange on how to prepare the potatoes he brought which amuses Sakina. When he announces that he has to get back to his work place and Sakina gives him money for transportation Sumisi expresses his delight in a passage full of exclamations that are impossible to translate literally.

8. Kalwasha (as Sondashi) and Sakina.
Sondashi returns from the market and reports to Sakina. He tells her first about the many kinds of fish he saw (but wasn't ordered to buy) and then about the greens he brought. In both cases the focus is on names and terminology. They discuss at length how to prepare and cook ngaingai which will be kept in the refrigerator until the boss comes back at meal time. Transcribing and translating his final soliloquy becomes hazardous, pushing me to the limits of what I can take responsibility for.

9. Mufwankolo, Sakina, and Kalwashi (as Sondashi).
Mufwankolo comes home from work, sits down at the table for a meal. He sends Sondashi for two bottles of Simba beer. A long exchange around the double meaning of simba (a lion and a common brand of beer) and of pombe (beer from the brewery or homemade maize beer). Equivocation is attributed Sondashi's Swahili. Asked by Mufwankolo how she manages to understand Sondashi, Sakina says that it is a learning process, a matter of listening to his Swahili which is nyama ya tembo. Mufwankolo tells her of similar problems he has with his planton at work. Then they wait for Sondashi to return.

10. (continued) Mufwankolo, Sakina, Kalwasha (as Sondashi), and Kalwasha (as Kalwasha).
Sondashi comes back with the beer, and is told to open a bottle. From here on, the sequence of exchanges becomes confusing. Someone else is outside right behind Sondashi. Kalwasha (still in the role of Sondashi) says that it is "Sondashi" instead of Kalwasha (the guard) who is returning from the dispensary with a note from the doctor. He is told to wait because the director is at table but he knocks at the door and asks to enter. Sakina responds and asks him to come in. Kalwasha tells Mufwankolo that he has the note from the doctor. Mufwankolo takes it and reads it aloud. Then he explains to him what the note says. Kalwasha gets his pension "for reasons of health." Kalwasha does not quite understand how the payment will be made. Mufwankolo tells him that he is going to give him the money on the condition that he returns to his home village.

This is followed by an exchange which is incomprehensible in my translation of Kalwasha's part (possibly he wants to know how Mufwankolo will be reimbursed). Mufwankolo wants him to go home and come back to his office after two days. After some back and forth they agree; then Mufwankolo and Sakina talk about the pension and about travel expenses.

11. Mufwankolo, Kalwasha (as Sumisi), Sakina.
At his home, Mufwankolo interrogates Sumisi about a visitor who came to him at the office: Did he give his name? Did he speak competent Swahili? The visitor, a planton, was angry and told Sumisi that his director should be on guard. Mufwankolo and Sakina think that the visitor was Kalwasha. Gaps in the transcript and Kalwasha's deliberately idiolectal Swahili result in a translation that sounds confusing.

12. Mufwankolo, Kalwasha (as Sondashi), Sakina.
At his home, Mufwankolo calls for Sondashi and tells him to press a suit for him, instructing him how to do it properly. Sondashi responds with protestations that he knows how to do this. Mufwankolo then takes his leave from Sakina. Now it is her turn to call Sondashi and give him a task. He is to clean and polish Mufwankolo's shoes and do it properly. Again Sondashi says that this is work he is used to.

13. Kalwasha (as Kalwasha), Sakina, Mufwankolo.
Kalwasha looks for the director at his home and is met by Sakina who tells him that Mufwankolo is away on a business trip. Kalwasha complains to her about the trouble he has getting his retirement money. Sakina resents being scolded and tries to get rid of Kalwasha by sending him to Mufwankolo's office. Then Mufwankolo appears on the scene and Kalwasha repeats his complaints and demands for money. Mufwankolo, insisting that his home is not the place to settle this and telling him off for having pestered his wife, wants him to leave. Kalwasha refuses to leave and is adamant about his rights as an "old man." The exchange continues with Kalwasha announcing that he'll go back to the doctor (who had endorsed his retirement) threatening Mufankolo with legal action. The recording ends at this point.

Part Two (14-17): Examples of Accents

14. Fabian, Kalwasha, and Mufwankolo.
Fabian asks Kalwasha to demonstrate and give examples of, the accents of the three speakers he impersonates in the play: Kalwasha, the guard at Mufwankolo's house, is Tshokwe; Sondashi, the servant, is Bemba; Sumisi, a messenger at Mufwankolo's office, is from the Kasai, a speaker of Tshiluba. After that, the recording was stopped.

15. Kalwasha and Mufwankolo.
After a break, Kalwasha, now in the role of a Flemish boss at the mining company and Mufwankolo, as his employee, return to the play. Kalwasha accuses Mufwankolo of selling his working gear. Mufwankolo claims that thieves broke into his house and stole his work shoes, an overall, and his security helmet. Kalwasha asks him what he did to fend off the thieves and goes on to accuse him of not being serious about this work – typical of a black man with no brains. He ends the scene with elaborate instructions for Mufwankolo to get his equipment replaced. Once again, the recording was stopped at his point.

16. Kalwasha and Mufwankolo.
A brief scene in which Kalwasha, speaking in the unctuous style of a francophone missionary, instructs and admonishes Mufwankolo, an African Christian, to be a "man of God", avoid relapsing into paganism, and resist Satan. The recording was stopped again.

17. Fabian, Kalwasha, Mufwankolo.
I ask for a "Greek" accent, Kalwasha, as a Greek employer, and Mufwankolo, as his African cook, respond with a brief scene. Kalwasha, speaking in a commanding tone, orders a "cappuccino" and instructs Mufwankolo how to make it right. Then he sends him to his wife who is going to sew an apron for him. Mufwankolo leaves and Kalwasha enjoys his cappuccino. 

 

Commentary

Swahili ni nyama ya tembo was recorded five days before Hesabu ya makanisa itafika wapi? which was presented in volume 16 of Archives of Popular Swahili. Most of what was said there in "An ethnographic commentary" [give link] on the research context (popular theater in Lubumbashi) and the play as a communicative and performative event  also applies to "Swahili is elephant meat." Setting (the home of Joseph and Colette Dassas) and participants (Mufwankolo, Sakina, Kalwasha, and the ethnographer) were the same.

Mufwankolo and his fellow actors came up with the play in response to a request of mine to "do something on language." They knew that, ever since I began with research in Katanga in the mid-sixties and certainly after our extensive work together in the seventies, local Swahili had been both the medium and object of my research projects. Above all, they made me realize that the language-centered approach I took entailed an epistemological "move" from, as I put it (see Fabian 1990), "ethnography of" to "ethnography with."

Notice that the play stopped without a conclusion or ending (paragraph 13). After a pause, the recording continued with an exchange between myself and Kalwasha in which I ask him to demonstrate once again different accents of  African speakers of Swahili he had performed during the play (paragraph 14). The recording was stopped again before the actors continued with three short sketches intended to demonstrate expatriate ways of speaking Swahili, typical of a Belgian (Flemish) boss (paragraph 15), a (francophone) Belgian missionary (paragraph 16), and a Greek employer (paragraph 17).

Before I try to state what we found out together when we met for this recording I should list the components of the speech event(s) documented in this text.[1]

To begin with the topic, the title of the play was given to me before we started to record. At the time, I was not aware that Swahili ni nyama ya tembo was a current saying.[2] Several versions, together with paraphrases or interpretations, were cited during the performance (two in paragraph 4, one each in paragraphs 5 and 7). The dialogs of the play take place in two imagined settings: At the office of a (mining) company's director (paragraphs 1, 3, 5, 6, 11, 13) and at his home (paragraphs 2, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12). During the three sketches the settings are the boss's office (paragraph 15), the missionary's residence (paragraph 16), and the employer's home (paragraph 17).

The participants in the exchanges are Mufwankolo, his wife, Sakina, and Kalwasha who impersonates three employees: Sumisi, a low-level office worker (planton), Sondashi, a domestic servant (boy), and Kalwasha, a night watchman (zamu). In the three sketches, Kalwasha plays the Belgian boss and Mufwankolo his employee, Kalwasha is the missionary and Mufwankolo his parishioner. Kalwasha acts as a Greek shop owner, Mufwankolo is his servant.

The genre of the recorded event is (the demonstration) of theatrical performance, interrupted by consultations among the actors (not recorded) and an exchange (conversation/ interrogation) between the ethnographer and one of the actors. Notice that the play, apart from dialogue, also has passages of soliloquy and song.

This leaves us with us with two more components on Dell Hymes' list: code/language and end/purpose. The former – Katanga Swahili -- seems obvious until one realizes that in this case performing the code is in itself the end or purpose of the event: the medium becomes the message expressed in the play's title. A phrase like Swahili yake iko tu namna ingine, his Swahili is of a different kind (paragraph 9), may refer to a way of speaking the language (form) but also to what is said (content). I also came across expressions like Swahili ya Baba Placide, the teachings of Father Placide Tempels.[3]

That and how Swahili is like elephant meat is expressed on several levels. Most conspicuous (or, rather, audible) are Kalwasha's performances of the accents of ethnic speakers, of their limited lexicon, and their faulty morphology and syntax. He is also the one who opens the play for reflection when he quotes Swahili ni nyama ya tembo five times (twice in par. 4 and again in par. 5, twice, and 7), always with a statement of its meaning:

K (as Sondashi): heehee/ mama/ unayua kiKiswahili ni nyama ya tembo/ hakuna ku ule yake unakiisha/ kama unakulya kiSwahili: unaacha kipande kipande kipande kingine unaachia yako wensyako/

K: Heehee. Mama. You know that kiSwahili is elephant meat. There is no way you can eat all of it. When you eat Swahili you leave piece after piece for another person like you (4)

K: ni nyama ya tembo: unaniambia kinkule cha kwetu? ah: [chuckles] heehee/ wee unaona asema kiSwahili ni ku kyesi/ kiko nguvu/

K: It is elephant meat. If you were telling me something in the language from where come from -- ah, [chuckles] hee hee. You consider Swahili easy. It is difficult. (4)

 

K (as Sumisi): directeur wangu iko nayua asema tshiSaudi: iko nyama ya tembo/ hapana kutshikula kutshimana/ kama iko unasema tshiSaudi iko nyama na tembo/ tembo iko munene: wee ni muntu modya/ utaisha: nyama yake? shi unakulya tshiloko tshiloko: hapana kumumana eh?

M: unakuansia muzuri: kumumana njo kintu gani?

K: shi unakulya tshiloko? tshiloko: tshiloko: tshiloko/ lakini wee iko ni shinda/

K (as Sumisi): My director, you are someone who knows that Swahili is like elephant meat. There is no way you can eat it all. When you speak, Swahili is elephant meat. An elephant is big, you are just one person. Are you going to finish its meat? Aren't you going to take small bites without kumumana?

M: You begin nicely, what is this kumumana?

K: Aren't you going to eat it just little by little, one small bit after the other, but you are not going to make it. (5)

 

K (as Sondashi): mama: shi unayua si niko ni tshiSaudi? tshiSaudi iko nyama ya tembo/ kama minakulya mi sitatshimana hapana/ minasema paka vile wee uko unanisikia/

K (as Sondashi): Mama, don't you know that (what I speak) is Swahili? Swahili is elephant meat. When I eat it I won't finish it. I just speak so you understand me. (7)

It is safe to assume that most of us who never ate elephant meat think of it as being tough, diffiult to chew. Even though in one of the quotes Kalwasha qualifies Swahili as difficult (nguvu) this is not the tenor of his paraphrases for "elephant meat." Not competence in a language is the key concept of the saying but eating it (kulya). This opens a semantic space in Swahili (and other Bantu languages) in which the literal meaning of "ingesting" is extended to assuming and exercising power and to contracting a relationship (such as friendship or marriage).[4] Both aspects, inclusion and exclusion, are enacted in the play. Mufwankolo and his wife Sakina have no problems understanding each other, difficulties arise when they communicate with their subordinates, company employees and domestic servants. At one point (in par. 9) Sakina qualifies the difference and deficiency of their Swahili, as hatari, dangerous or hazardous.

While quality is briefly touched upon, it is the quantity of elephant meat that is in the foreground when Kalwasha paraphrases the saying. When it becomes available no one can eat it all, it must be shared with others. And when it is shared, eating a piece becomes eating it all.[5] One could say: In the practice of communication, part and whole relate to each other dialectically in a philosophical sense. In the play this is enacted when most of the exchanges are made to occur in Hegelian master-slave relations, as a struggle for recognition. In the text, struggle for mutual understanding is expressed stylistically by the frequency of what linguists call tag questions. For instance, eh? which I translate as "right?" or "you understand?" occurs more fifty times (added to this should be phrases beginning with si, translatable as "isn't?" or "don't you?").

Demonstrating ethnic varieties of speech in Swahili  is Kalwasha's specialty and his main contribution to the play. On all levels, from phonetics to syntax, he performs the peculiarities of native speakers of  Bemba (as Sondashi, the domestic servant), Tshokwe (as Kalwasha, the guard at Mufwankolo's house), and tshiLuba (as Sumisi,  the company employee), as well as the Swahili typical of  Flemish and francophone Belgians and Greek expatriates.

Kalwasha's performance is brilliant and often entertaining. Within the play Sakina reacts with laughter to his Swahili in par. 7: both she and Mufwankolo express amusement in par. 9, 11. Of course these exchanges were aimed at amusing the audience. Like most of their sketches, Swahili ni nyama ya tembo was a comedy, keeping in mind that popular theater created "moments of freedom" for critique and resistance (Fabian 1998).

Speaking of resistance, when in par. 4 it comes to an altercation between Sakina and Kalwasha (as Sondashi, her servant) over the latter's ways with Swahili his first reaction is to quote the elephant meat saying. Thus he moves their conflict to a higher, impersonal plane of popular wisdom. But then he changes direction and affirms his right to his personal identity by calling up memories of his home with a song from the village.

 

References

Fabian, Johannes. 1990. Power and Performance. Ethnographic Explorations through Proverbial Wisdom and Theater in Shaba (Zaire). Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press.

--  1998. Moments of Freedom: Anthropology and Popular Culture. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.

Lenselaer, Alphonse. 1983. Dictionnaire Swahili-Français. Paris: Karthala.

 

Notes

[1] For a convenient summary of components following Hymes' mnemonic SPEAKING see: http://www1.appstate.edu/~mcgowant/hymes.htm

[2] It is quoted in the Swahili dictionary by Alphonse Lenselaer (Dictionnaire Swahili-Français. Paris: Karthala. 1983, p. 11): "Kiswahili ni nyama ya tembo:kila mtu anachumia pake, c.-à-d. 'le swahili est ou ressemble à de la viande d'éléphant: chacun se taille son morceau'. En autres termes, on en prend et on en laisse: tous les mots swahili ne sont pas connues partout, ni par tous." An internet blog has this entry: "Thursday, March 5, 2009 swahili is elephant meat or nyama ya tembo ni kiswahili. this is a local saying we heard yesterday, and i'd say it gives an accurate description of the language. The saying essentially means that the swahili language is huge, or too big to even know what to do with it all. apparently this is the problem one is faced with when butchering an elephant." https://www.blogger.com/feeds/7740107361214531467/posts/default

[3] For ten examples of Swahili ya see the conversation with Kisimba Adolphe, vol. 11 of this archive: http://lpca.socsci.uva.nl/aps/vol11/swahiliremembered2.html
Besides ethnic background, age may account for a speaker's Swahili (see kiSwahili ya bukubwa, the Swahili of an older person, par. 11).

[4] We explored this with the Mufwankolo troupe in Fabian (1990), see also  vol. 3 in this archive http://lpca.socsci.uva.nl/aps/lepouvoirsemangeentierintro.html

[5] This is expressed in a version I found on the internet
Another example I found was: "Kiswahili ni nyama ya tembo; ukikula nusu, utasema nilikula tembo" which means "Kiswahili is an elephant; whoever eats a piece of it claims s/he has eaten an elephant (not a bit of an elephant)". See https://books.google.de/books?id=yxgqAQAAIAAJ&q=%22nyama+ya+tembo%22&dq=%22nyama+ya+tembo%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj585iz55DWAhVG6xQKHUDLDfk4ChDoAQgsMAE


[Transcript and Translation]

[Summary and Brief Contents]

[Commentary]

[References]

[Notes]


© Johannes Fabian
The URL of this page is: http://www.lpca.socsci.uva.nl/aps/vol17/
Deposited at APS: 7 February 2018