Monday, October 10, 2005

Translation: Back To Africa

Original: Back to Africa
By: Louise Bennett

Back to Africa, Miss Mattie?
Yuh no know what yuh dah seh?
Yuh haffi come from somewhe fus
Before yuh go back deh!

Me know seh dat yuh great great great
Granma was African,
But Mattie, doan yuh great great great
Granpa was Englishman?

Den yuh great granmodder fader
By yuh fader side was jew?
An yuh granpa by yuh modder side
Was Frenchie parlez-vous?

But de balanca a yuh family,
Yuh whole generation,
Oonoo all bawn dung a Bung Grung -
Oonoo all is Jamaican!

Den is weh yuh gwine, Miss Mattie?
Oh, yuh veiw de countenance,
An between yuh an de Africans
Is great resemblance!

Ascorden to dat, all dem blue-yeye
White American
Who-for great granpa was Englishman
Mus go back to Englan!

What a debil of a dump-an-bore,
Rig-jig an palam-pam
Ef de whole worl start fi go back
Whe dem great granpa come from!

Ef a hard time yuh dah run from
Teck yuh chance! But Mattie, do,
Sure a weh yuh come from so yuh got
Somewhe fi come back to!

Go a foreign, seek yuh fortune,
But no tell nobody seh
Yuh dah go fi seek yuh homelan,
For a right deh so yuh deh!

Translation:

Back to Africa Ms. Mattie?
you know not what you speak!
you'd have to have been there first
before returning from whence you seek.

I know your great-great-great-grandmother was African,
but Mattie, wasn't your great-great-great-grandfather an Englishman,
your great-grandmother's father on your father's side Jew,
and the grandfather of your mother a Frenchman too?

The majority of your family,
that entire generation
was born in Jamaica...
they are all Jamaican.

So where are you going Ms. Mattie?
Why is your reasoning such?
Apart from the fact that
you and the Africans resemble much!

As a matter of fact,
a blue-eyed white American
whose great-grandfather was an Englishman,
should go back to England?

What chaos it would be,
utter chaos in this place,
if the entire world decided
to join their great-grandfathers' race.

If you are trying to escape hard times,
take your chance, go ahead.
But Mattie, be sure where you started
so you can return whence you fled.

Travel, seek your fortune,
but tell no one here
that you are going to seek your homeland,
because you are already there.

2 comments:

B said...

I actually had to perform/read this over the summer when I was in Trinidad, because an excerpt from this is included in Jamaca's cultural policy.

Anonymous said...

I like the creole better the standard English is so darn boring I am a Jamaican so you cant expect better from me. lol