Jalada Translation Issue 01.

Jalada is “a pan-African writers’ collective,” and they have produced a fantastic online magazine consisting of translations of a single story by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (Gikuyu pronunciation [ᵑɡoɣe wa ðiɔŋɔ]), “The Upright Revolution: Or Why Humans Walk Upright,” into English, Amharic, Dholuo, Kikamba, Lwisukha-Lwidakho, French, Arabic, Luganda, Kiswahili, Afrikaans, Hausa, Ikinyarwanda, Meru, Lingala, IsiZulu, Igbo, Ibibio, Somali, Sayyidka, XiTsonga, Nandi, Rukiga, Bamanankan, Shona, Lugbarati, Lubukusu, Kimaragoli, Giriama, Sheng, Naija Languej, Marakwet, and Ewe. As if that weren’t enough, you can hear audio files of readings of the story in the original Kikuyu and in English and Sheng translation. If you’re wondering about Naija Languej, it’s also known as Nigerian Pidgin; this page says a 2009 conference adopted Naijá as the new name for the language, “because what hitherto was referred to as Nigerian Pidgin is no longer a pidgin because it has creolised in some parts of the country; its functions have surpassed the functions of a pidgin; and the term ‘pidgin’ has helped to encourage derogatory connotations about the language.” Both idea and execution are excellent, and I hope they do more of this sort of thing.


  1. I want to check that out. A few months ago I read Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagos-set novel Lagoon, where some of the dialogue is in Naijá. (Great, lively novel, by the way; the audio version, narrated by Adjoa Andoh and Ben Onwukwe, is perhaps even better.) Lagoon has a glossary to help with understanding the Naijá, but it’s not as complete as it should be, so I spent several happy days looking through web resources like the introductory guide on the Language Varieties page, and Babawilly’s Dictionary of Pidgin English Words and Phrases.

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