The poetry of Jidi Majia 吉狄马加 is now available in Kiswahili! Quartz writes:
Jidi Majia, a writer from southwest China, once described himself as a Chinese poet with an “African complex.” He emulated writers like Senegal’s Leopold Sedar Senghor, Nigeria’s Chinua Achebe, or Kenya’s Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, cheered for the end of apartheid in South Africa, and cried when Nelson Mandela died … Now, the poetry of a man who has never set foot on the African continent can be read in Kiswahili, in a new collection called Maneno Ya Moto Kutoka China or Words of Fire from China … the first time a creative work of Chinese literature has been translated into the lingua franca
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Jidi Majia 吉狄马加, translated by Denis Mair:
Voice of the Bimo
—Dedicated to a Nuosu ritualist
When you hear it
It seems above all illusion
Like a faint wisp of bluish smoke
Why just now are the ranged mountains
Felt to be filled with a timeless stillness?
Whose voice drifts between men and ghosts?
It seems to have left the body
Yet between reality and nothingness
In tones both human and divine it utters
A praise song for life and death
When it invokes sun, stars, rivers, and ancient heroes
When it summons deities and surreal powers
Departed beings commence their resurrection!