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Iculo lesiGqoko

Emma Cheves Wilkins (1870 - 1956)

Hat Song Hoedlied


The poem Hoedlied (Hat Song) by the Afrikaans poet Jeanne Goosen from her book
Orrelpunte (1975) was translated into Zulu by my father, Jac Uys, and Professor Sibusiso
Nyembezi in 1982. My parents lived in Pietermaritzburg at that time whilst Prof
Nyembezi was employed by the citys famous publisher and book dealer Shuter &
Shooter. As far as I know, Professor Nyembezi did not request any remuneration.

In 2013 I discovered the translation of Hoedlied I and II amongst some old papers and
had it edited by the lyricist, poet, translator and musician Mr Nduduzo Makhanya. He
performed the task with admirable zeal and valuable insight. Nduduzo brought certain
literalisms to my attention and provided poetic alternatives. The style owes much to
Nduduzos linguistic acuity and gift for striking imagery.

I suspect this may be the only poem ever translated directly from Afrikaans to Zulu. As
such I consider it a tiny but valuable contribution to South African literature. An English
translation titled Hat Song has been added to this English edition.

Dedicated in loving memory to my late father Jacobus Johannes Uys and the late
Professor Sibusiso Nyembezi.

Hoedlied by Jeanne Goosen in the book Orrelpunte. Perskor, Johannesburg, 1975. ISBN 0 628
00846 5. Translated by Professor C. L. Sibusiso Nyembezi and J. J. Uys in 1982; edited and
finalised by Nduduzo Makhanya (2013). NB: Copyright belongs to Perskor Uitgewers and the
poet Jeanne Goosen. This document was compiled and posted on the Internet in 2014 for
educational and historical purposes. Links are provided for illustrative material downloaded
from the Internet.




My hat my ten foot hat
encircles my head
sweet weight sweet straw
do not think of me without my hat
ding dong I pour coffee
and I sing for my supper
I am my own madhouse
and my hat is a bell that tolls and tolls
do not think of me without my hat
my beloved picks berries
we laugh underneath my hat
my beloved plays summer music on a harp*
dont oh dont think of me without my hat
my beloved departs on the last train
walk says my hat
I put on my sandals a bundle of legs moves
hat hat my sorrow is more precious than yours
in the valley squats a monk*
beautiful and brown like a coffee bean
will he love me will he love me
with my hat my ten foot hat?

*Harp translated as Umtshingo, a type of flute.
**Monk translated as Inyanga (herbalist).



Someone has attached my hat to a pole outside
I went to enquire of the neighbours who it was
It was you, they say. We saw you
(Are they joking or is this some crazy conspiracy?)

I watch my hat from the window
as it flutters soullessly and frigidly in the grey air
Since my hat has abandoned me
I stay inside.
Ive locked the post-box and barred the door.
For what am I worth without my hat?

Ive had all the coffee in the house, the tea
and the tonics
And now that Ive eaten the last of the bread
I feel the emptiness growing inside
and filling me up.

Sometimes I forget what Im waiting for
but someone phones incessantly
Someone imitating my voice:
Bring back my hat, bring back my hat




My hoed my tien voet hoed
omsingel my kop
soet gewig soet strooi
moenie aan my dink sonder my hoed nie
dieng dong ek skink koffie
en ek sing vir my aandete
ek is my eie gestig
en my hoed is 'n klok wat lui en lui
moenie aan my dink sonder my hoed nie
my geliefde pluk bessies
ons lag onder my hoed
my geliefde speel somermusiek op 'n harp
moenie o moenie aan my dink sonder my hoed nie
my geliefde vertrek met die laaste trein
stap s my hoed
ek trek my sandale aan 'n bondel bene beweeg
hoed hoed my smart is kosbaarder as joune
in die vallei hurk 'n monnik*
mooi en bruin soos 'n koffieboon
sal hy my liefh sal hy my liefh
met my hoed my tien voet hoed?

*Monnik word as Inyanga vertaal.


Iemand het my hoed buite aan 'n paal opgehang
Ek het by die bure gaan verneem wie dit is
Dis jy self, s hulle. Ons het jou gesien
(Skeer hulle gek of is dit 'n komplot?)

Ek sien my hoed deur die venster
dit wapper koud en sonder siel in die grys lug
Sedert my hoed my verlaat het
bly ek binne.
Ek het my posbus gesluit en my deur gegrendel
Want wat is ek werd sonder my hoed?

Ek het reeds al die koffie in my huis uitgedrink, die tee
en die versterkdruppels
En noudat ek al die brood ook opgeet het
voel ek hoe die leegheid binne-in my groei
en ek vol word daarvan.

Soms vergeet ek waarvoor ek wag
maar aanhoudend bel iemand
Iemand wat my stem naboots en s:
Bring terug my hoed, bring terug my hoed



Isigqoko sami esikhulukazi
siyalizungeleza ikhanda lami
Isisindo simnandi utshani bumtoti
ungengicabangi ngaphandle kwesigqoko sami
ubukenqekenqe bungkhumbuza inkomishi ye khofi
ngibe sengihubela isidlo sami sakusihlwa
ubuzizizi bengqondo bungaphakathi kimi
isigqoko sami siyinsimbi ekenqeza ikenqezile
ungengicabangi ngaphandle kwesigqoko sami
isithandwa sami sikha izithelo
sigigitheka sobabili ngaphansi kwesigqoko sami
isithandwa sami sishaya ingoma yehlobo ngomtshingo
ungelokothi ungicabange ngaphandle kwesigqoko sami
isithandwa sami semuka ngesitimela sokugcina
isigqoko sithi: hamba!
ngifaka izingxabulela zami Kukhona imilenze enyakanyakazayo
sgqoko sgqoko usizi lwami lubiza ngaphezulu kolwakho
inyanga izinza emhosheni
sihle sinsundu njengenhlamvu yekhofi
uzongithanda uzongithanda na?
Ngesigqoko sami isigqoko sami esikhulukazi


Kukhona ophanyeke isigqoko sami ngaphandle esibondeni
Ngibuze omakhelwane ngathi: ngubani lomuntu?
Baphendula bathi: Nguwe. Sikubonile.
(Bayancokola noma yitulo?)

Isigqoko sami sibonakale efasiteleni
Siyabhakuza ezulwini elimbozile siyabanda asinamoya
Njengoba isigqoko singilahlile ngihlala pakhathi endlini.
Ngilikhiyile ibhokisi leposi ngisibophile isivalo
Nginga yini yani nje ngaphandle kwesigqoko sami?

Sengiliphuzile lonke ikhofi endlini, itiye nomuthi oqinisayo
Manje njengoba sengisidlile sonke isinkwa
Ngizwa isikhala siyakhula ngaphakhathi siyangisuthisa.

Ngesinye isikhati ngiyakhohlwa ukuthi ngilindeleni
kodwa kukhona olokhu ebelesele eshaya ucingo
olinganisa iphimbo lami, uthi:
Buyisa isigqoko sami, buyisa isigqoko sami...


Jeanette (Jeanne) Helena Goosen was born on 13 July 1940 in Parow, Cape
Town. She attended Parow High School and studied radiography at the University
of Cape Town. She has since followed a variety of careers, among others
radiographer, farmer, fisher, and also journalist at Afrikaans daily papers like
Oggendblad, Hoofstad and Transvaler and the Natal paper Tempo.
Jeanne is one of the most versatile writers in Afrikaans, with poetry (n Uil vlieg
weg), novels (Ons is nie almal so nie), novellas (Wie is Jan Hoender?), short
stories (n Kat in die sak), plays (Kombuis-blues) and cabaret. She published her
first volume of poetry n Uil vlieg weg in 1971, but it is above all for her award-
winning book Ons is nie almal so nie that she became known. This book was
awarded the CNA, Rapport and M-Net Prizes.



Goosen, Jeanne. Orrelpunte. Johannesburg, Perskor, 1975.
Nyembezi, C. L. S. ICULO LESIGQOKO. Typed manuscript with written notes
by J. J. Uys, including: Prof Nyembezi 82/08/17.

Uys, Jacobus Johannes. iCulo lesiGqoko(liCulo lukhudabuka kwomPhefumulo
ukusahlakunisa ukuthanda ukuhlalawodwa). Typed manuscript.



Nyembezi, Cyril Lincoln Sibusiso.


Inkinsela yase Mgungundlovu. 1961.
Mntanami! Mntanami! 1950. (Ushicilelo lwesithathu by derde oplaag, 1965)
Ubudoda abukhulelwa. 1953.



Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton, as Lafa elihle kakhulu. 1958.



Inqolobane yesizwe (with Otty Ezrom Nxumalo). 1966.
Izibongo zamakhosi. 1958.
Zulu Proverbs. 1954.



Compact Zulu Dictionary. 1977.
Learn Zulu. 1958.
Uhlelo lwesiZulu. 1956.



Kunene, Daniel P. The Zulu Novels of C.L.S. Nyembezi: A Critical Appraisal. Edwin Mellen
Press, 2007.

Losambe, Lokangaka. An Introduction to the African Prose Narrative. Africa World Press,


Ngcongwane, S. D. Verhaalkuns Van Sibusiso Nyembezi. University of South Africa, 1981.


Literary Pietermaritzburg
26 Nov 2009


Sibusiso Nyembezi (1919-2000). Born in Babanango. A Zulu novelist, poet, scholar, teacher and
editor. The second of four brothers, Cyril Nyembezi attended local primary schools, then went
to Mariannhill for high school. He received a B.A. from the University of South Africa in 1946,
and his B.A. Honours in 1947 from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. From 1948
to 1953, Nyembezi was a lecturer in the Department of Bantu Studies at the University of
Witwatersrand, teaching Zulu and Xhosa. He took an M.A. at Wits in 1954 and the next year was
appointed to the lecturing staff at the University College of Fort Hare, remaining there until
1959 when he resigned in protest against the restrictive new policies being enforced at Fort
Hare by the government. Others who resigned were Ambrose Phahle, Ethan Mayisele and
Selbourne Ngcobo. Out of work for a period, he took an editorial position with the publishers
Shuter and Shooter in Pietermaritzburg, where he stayed until he retired. He translated Alan
Paton's Cry, The Beloved Country into Zulu as Lafa elihle kakhulu. His 1961 novel Inkinsela yase
Mgungundlovu was translated as The Rich Man of Pietermaritzburg (2008).
Obituaries: Cyril Nyembezi (1919-2000)

Review: The Rich Man of Pietermaritzburg (Inkinsela YaseMgungundlovu)
20 Feb 2008
Margaret von Klemperer
The Rich Man of Pietermaritzburg (Inkinsela YaseMgungundlovu): Sibusiso Nyembezi : Aflame



Emma Cheves Wilkins (1870 - 1956)