Batuku

BATUKU

Nha fla-m, Nha Dunda, kus'e k'e batuku?
Nha nxina mininu kusa k'e ka sabe.

Nha fidju, batuku N ka se kusa.
Nu nase nu atxa-l.
Nu ta more nu ta dexa-l.
E lonji sima seu,
fundu sima mar,
rixu sima rotxa.
E usu-l tera, sabi nos genti.

Mosias na terreru
tornu finkadu, txabeta rapikadu,
Korpu ali N ta bai.
N ka bai. Aima ki txoma-m.
Nteradu duzia na labada,
mortadjadu sen na pedra-l sistensia,
bendedu mil na Sul-a-Baxu,
kemadu na laba di burkan,
korpu ta matadu, aima ta fika.
Aima e forsa di batuku.
Na batuperiu-l fomi,
na sabi-l teremoti,
na sodadi-l fidju lonji,
batuku e nos aima.
Xinti-l, nha fidju.
Kenha ki kre-nu, kre batuku.
Batuku e nos aima!

Kaoberdiano Dambara
(1964-Felisberto Vieira Lopes)

 

BATUKU (transl.)

Tell me, Nha Dunda, what is Batuku?
Teach the children what they don't know.

My children, I don't know what butuku is.
We were born and we found it here.
We will die and we will leave it here.
It's off in the distance like the sky.
It's deep as the ocean,
hard as rock.
It is the ways of the land,
And it feels so fine, let me tell you.

Young girls on the dancing floor
with their hips ready to dance
under the clapping of tchabeta
the body ready to die,
but I won't die.
The soul is calling me
to dance batuku.

There were dozens and dozens of people
buried in a common grave.
Hundreds and hundreds of people buried in a shroud of stone in the disaster
of the Assistencia.*
Thousands and thousands of Cape Verdeans
forced to labor in Sao Tome ,
some were burned in the lava of the volcano.
The body dies but the spirit stays.
The soul is the strength of the batuku,
in the time famine,
in the sharing of excitement,
in the longing for the son gone away,
batuku is our soul.
Feel it, my children,
Those who love us, love batuku.
Batuku is our soul!

Kaoberdiano Dambara
(1964- Felisberto Vieira Lopes)

(translation Manuel da Luz Gonçalves)

*Notes:
"Assistencia" was the popular name of the colonial government's soup kitchen and welfare building in Praia . The walls of the building were made of round boulders gathered on the beach and held together with very little cement. One day in the 1940s the building collapsed, crushing hundreds of people. The incident is a metaphor for colonial neglect in Cape Verde.

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