ART CHECK

Elegy to Benjamin Mkapa, 1938–2020

He who walks where suns set, touching hearts with words

In Summary

• Perhaps the path is ready ahead / For you now bear along it

Former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa
Former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa
Image: COURTESY

The voice that took you to echelons

Of African affairs spoke in English

 

 
 

The voice that took you to summits

Of Tanzanian affairs used Swahili

 

Today you rest near Ndanda hills

Your voice is mute, listen William.

 

Perhaps the path is ready ahead

 
 

For you now bear along it…..

 

Perhaps it is the shadow ahead

That like the sun you follow it!

 

When the birds here and bards

Sit still and listen to silence….

 

The sun will shed blue tears

And in the skies echoes arise

 

Now to speak to us as you did

Mkapa the skywalker, you are:

 

He who walks where suns set

Touching hearts with words…..

 

Risala ya Rambi Rambi yake Mzee Mkapa

 

Iendapo mwanga, basi hapo giza hukaa

Panapo matanga, kote chozi hutapakaa

 

Imepulizwa mbiu, ya mgambo wa anga

Naona mie kiu, ya Mkapa leo tunaganga

 

Kaamka jabali, bondeni kwa waMakonde

Mtwara mbali, walia wapiga nyoyo konde

 

Likatamba mbali, kisomi, kisiasa, kidiplomasia

Likamwaga asali, ya hekima, kheri kama masia

 

Ikaja tetemeko, kifo mbona hauna huruma?

Kanda msisimko, walia wote hadi Wasukuma

 

Leo nalilia wino, ya alotuachwa mwanga wetu

Nasaga mie jino, naam Mkapa katoeka kati yetu

 

Njiwa pepeperuka, kwenye mawimbi ya Afrika

Zifikishe Tanganyika, rambi rambi za East Africa!