Swahili Poem Reading: Johari ya Upendo

La azizi wangu nakupenda
na heshima nakupatia,
kwa johari uliyonivisha
ya kunienzi na kunitukuza.

Niliposhindwa kukuzalia,
ulinipa mahaba tele
kunionyesha uwazi wako
penzi lako halina mwisho.

Ndugu walipokushawish,
na kukulaghai wazi wazi,
kugawa penzi lako nje
ulinitegemeza na huba tele.

Dhahabu na almasi,
yakuti na vito tele,
yote hayo hayana maana
kama johari ya upendo wako.

Naomba baraka za mola
tuendelee kupendana,
atuneemeshe heshima pia
kwetu sote na wakosaji.

Translation:
Darling I love you
and grant you respect,
for bestowing me jewellery
of honouring and glorifying me.

When failed to bear you children,
you still loved me
and openly showed me
your love has no end.

Relatives swindled you
with endless temptations
to let go of your loyalty,
yet you shielded me with more love.

Gold and diamond,
ruby and other jewellery,
all have no meaning
as jewellery of your love.

I pray to God
for our love to persist
and shower us respect
to each other and those at fault.

Copyright © 2013, Gloria D. Gonsalves. All rights reserved.

*Believe it or not my Swahili language school teacher was a German. Sister Monica from St. Mary’s Kifungilo Girls School taught me and others who might read this poem. Today I recalled her lessons when writing this poem, as if I expected her to appear anytime and correct my chosen vocabularies. The poem itself is inspired by men who continue to love and respect their female partners regardless of having failed to bear a child.

Recent Comments

  • Pagama
    January 28, 2013 - 5:09 am · Reply

    Beautiful poem
    Beautiful lyrics
    Beautiful voice…!

    Kupata mapenzi kama hayo cku hizi n jambo la kumshukuru Mola sana…Johari Ya Upendo

  • Herbert Kingodi
    January 28, 2013 - 7:12 am · Reply

    Gloria amelitendea haki jina la shairi ” Johari ya Upendo” kwani katika kila ubeti ameelezea kwa hisia kali mapenzi, shukrani na imani kubwa ya mwenzi wake kulilnda na kuliheshimu pendo lao
    Pia shairi laweza kutumika kwa mwenzi wake kumwimbia mkewe kwa maneno yaleyale kama mume ni mgumba, kazi nzuri sana na nakupongeza sana dada, hongera
    In short its a lovely work in Kiswahili, to get the really feelings a translation would not work here because it depict a traditional way of Swahili thinking about a childlessness union, the title befits the stanzas and the depth of the feeling of the love is amazingly portrayed, As a Swahili I salute you my sister, very good work, congratulation!

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