Someone in Africa Loves You

‘Someone in Africa Loves You’ (English version)

Written by Alexander Nderitu

 

The tall blonde girl didn’t come to East Africa on safari,

She was an Oxford student majoring in History

And wanted to see the sites involved in slavery

And the relics of Arab-Portuguese rivalry.

I first spied her walking alone by the swaying sea

And something about her just jumped up and bit me.

I asked her her name and she said, ‘Suzanne…with an “e”.’

 

From thence, there was no distance between us;

I took her to see the Gedi Ruins and Fort Jesus

And at night we marveled at a sky as brilliant as a mirror

And cheered fire-eaters and limbo dancers

With ebony skins that glistened in the moonlight like razors.

Suzanne changed into tropical gear and I braided her hair

And then we danced to the music of Bob Marley & The Wailers.

Wherever he was, Cupid must have been very happy –

I danced all night with Miss ‘Suzanne with an “e”.’

 

Suzanne lay on the beach for hours and got a suntan;

I taught her Swahili, she taught me cockney slang.

Wise men say that time and tide wait for no man

And all too soon it was time for Suzanne to return.

Without her, life in the tropics just isn’t the same,

I’m so irritable my fellow beach boys say I’m going insane.

I sent Suzanne an e-mail saying, ‘Someone in Africa loves you.’

And she replied saying, ‘I miss Africa and I miss you.’

It was signed: ‘Suzanne with an “e”.’

 

‘Yupo Mtu Akupendaye, Hapa Afrika’ (Kiswahili version)

 Written by Alexander Nderitu (Kenya) and translated by Paul Nganga

Alikuwa binti mrefu wa Kizungu, wala hakuwa mtalii Afrika Mashariki;
Alikuwa mwanafunzi huko Oxford, alikosomea Historia.
Alikuwa ziarani, kujionea walikonadiwa Waafrika, hizo enzi za utumwa;
Na magofu ya vita vya Waarabu na Wareno, kale hiyo.
Mwanzo nilimwona, alipotembea ufuoni, peke yake.
Alinigutusha, machoni na moyoni kuniingia.
Nilipomwuliza jina alijibu, ‘Suzanne…iliyo na ‘e”.

Tangu hapo, hapakuwa na la kututenganisha.
Nilimtembeza kuyaona Magofu ya Gedi na Ngome ya Yesu;
Usiku tulifurahia mng’aro wa anga la pwani,
Na kuwashangilia wanasarakasi na wacheza densi,
Miili yao myeusi iking’ara kwenye mbalamwezi.
Suzanne alivaa kikwetu, nikawa nazisonga nywele zake.
Tulicheza densi, tukiimba nyimbo za Bob Marley na The Wailers.
Alipokuwa, lazima yule Mungu wa Mapenzi wa Wayunani alituonea fahari.
Tulicheza densi usiku kucha, mimi na ‘Suzanne…iliyo na ‘e”.

Suzanne alijilaza ufukweni, joto la pwani likampata vizuri,
Nilimfunza Kiswahili, naye akanifunza lugha ya mitaani kwao.
Wasemao husema, majira na mawimbi hayamsubiri msafiri;
Punde, uliwadia wakati wa Suzanne kurudi kwao.
Bila yeye, maisha si maisha tena kwangu.
Nachukizwa haraka, wenzangu ufukweni wanadhani nachizika.
Nilimtumia Suzanne barua-pepe nikisema: ‘Yupo mtu akupendaye, hapa Afrika’;
Naye akajibu: ‘Naikosa Afrika, na nakukosa wewe zaidi,’
Na kutia saini: ‘Suzanne…iliyo na ‘e”.

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Writing the East African Coast.

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